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Fixing Radyo5 (and AksyonTV) Under Miguel Belmonte

New man in charge: Miguel Belmonte will now run Radyo5 and AksyonTV, hoping to restore the credibility of both stations (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

New man in charge: Miguel Belmonte will now run Radyo5 and AksyonTV, hoping to restore the credibility of both stations. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

TV5’s renovation goes beyond Channel 5.

A few weeks ago, From the Tube discussed the plans that Chot Reyes envisioned for TV5, which included the return of AniMEGA and the entry of director Brillante Mendoza to the fold. Now let’s focus on the renovation project of TV5’s sister stations AksyonTV and Radyo5 92.3 News FM, both of which are now under the leadership of The Philippine Star CEO Miguel Belmonte.

Last year was a poor one for both stations, not only in coverage but also in programming. The plight of Radyo5 and AksyonTV was well-documented, from the departures of Martin Andanar and Cherie Mercado, to their inability to cover significant news-worthy events that other stations were deeply committed to.

Replacing erstwhile head Gladys Lana-Lucas with Miguel Belmonte serves as a first step to restore the news-gathering capabilities of both Radyo5 and AksyonTV. That said, here’s a look at both stations’ needs that Belmonte must address.

New Shows and New Hosts

Radyo5 really needs new hosts and new shows, period. The departures of Andanar, Mercado, Anthony Pangilinan and Benjie Felipe were deeply felt within the station, and Gladys Lana-Lucas’ inability to process replacements led to her dismissal.

This is one area that Belmonte must look at immediately, because from the looks of it, Radyo5 will never be equal to more established AM stations like DZMM, DZBB and DZRH. Heck, he can even sign a blocktime deal with another media outfit, similar to DZRJ 810 AM’s agreement with 8TriMedia.

Greater Commitment to Live Events

Radyo5 was essentially absent during important live events such as the hearings on extra-judicial killings and President Rodrigo Duterte’s public addresses. To do so, Belmonte must convince the hosts of Radyo5 to give way to events such as this in order to give its listeners an idea on what is going on (take note, Raffy Tulfo and Niña Taduran).

Although the PBA’s priority on the network could put an end to ongoing news coverage once it goes overtime, the least that Radyo5 can do is to prove that they are a worthy news-covering machine on FM radio. There may be some constraints, but covering the news on the spot is better than nothing at all.

Embrace TeleRadyo Format on AksyonTV

AksyonTV wastes a lot of time by airing TV shopping blocks and reruns of now-defunct shows during vacant time periods. So why not allot the time for a TeleRadyo-esque format instead, except during live sporting events.

Since 2011, AksyonTV has been simulcasting select Radyo5 programs. The time is perhaps now to fully integrate the TeleRadyo in AksyonTV, given that the network no longer intends to produce original programs like they did in the past.

Improve AksyonTV’s Power and Revenue

This is indeed the most important need of the station. AksyonTV has long been criticized for its poor signal and power, which was the primary reason why the NCAA returned to ABS-CBN Sports and the PBA forced TV5 to air all of their games on VHF Channel 5 only.

Now under Belmonte, the time is now for AksyonTV to improve its facilities, power and reach to serve more viewers. But to do so, the station needs the backing of advertisers in order to provide much-needed revenue.

Miguel Belmonte’s role in restoring Radyo5 and AksyonTV will not be easy, given the extensive damage that both stations endured last year. That said, patience is a virtue, and if all the right buttons are pushed, then Radyo5 92.3 News FM and AksyonTV could return to prominence as soon as possible.

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GMA News TV on a Rebound with Increased Live Coverage

Yesterday's final House hearing on the Bilibid drug trade was just one of several recent events that GMA News TV was able to air live, a surprise show of commitment to the oft-criticized network. (Screenshot courtesy of Dailymotion and GMA News TV)

Yesterday’s final House hearing on the Bilibid drug trade was just one of several recent events that GMA News TV was able to air live, a surprise show of commitment to the oft-criticized network. (Screenshot courtesy of Dailymotion and GMA News TV)

The most highly criticized news network in the country is gaining some relevance of late.

GMA News TV saw its stock rise in recent months, as it covered the Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings and the House hearings on the New Bilibid Prisons drug trade. Although their coverage is not as extensive as that of, for example PTV-4 or ABS-CBN News Channel, it was good to see the network finally step up the right way.

In addition to the events at the House of Representatives and the Senate, GMA News TV also committed themselves to air every live address of President Rodrigo Duterte wherever he goes. Of course, as the president is always a priority for live coverage, there have been times that the Senate and House hearings were forced to give way for Duterte.

Such renewed commitment to live coverage was in sharp contrast to the News TV shown during the tenure of President Benigno Aquino III. During his presidency, GMA News TV seemed to be ignorant of his live appearances on a majority of occasions, and this earned the ire of many viewers who wanted a lot more from the said network.

Most House and Senate hearings during Aquino’s tenure were also ignored by News TV. And to make matters worse, the recent visit of Pope Francis and President Aquino’s State of the Nation Addresses were also shunned by News TV as if they were not important events.

That said, it was a surprise to see GMA News TV become all the more committed to show live coverage during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte. With recent events becoming more important than ever, News TV has no choice but to follow every movement as it happens, and this should regain the trust that they lost in the past few years.

Despite this increased devotion to live coverage, GMA News TV still has a lot of holes to address. What will they do with the Koreanovelas, movies, reruns of old news programs and home shopping blocks that have infiltrated their network?

These problems should be the responsibility of Nessa Valdellon, the channel’s head honcho. Let’s just hope that she will follow the footsteps of ABS-CBN News’ Ging Reyes and CNN Philippines’ Armie Jarin-Bennett, and not of News5’s Luchi Cruz-Valdes, in restoring some sense to GMA News TV.

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