news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, radio, television

GMA to Revive Dobol B sa News TV Block This April

A new (or old) program block is set to return to GMA News TV.

It was announced that the ‘Dobol B sa News TV’ block will be revived on the network this coming April. The teaser below shows hosts Mike Enriquez (of ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’), Arnold Clavio and Ali Sotto (of ‘Dobol A sa Dobol B’) talking about their impending return to the small screen via GMA News TV.

Initially launched on February 28, 2011, ‘Dobol B sa News TV’ is essentially a simulcast of early morning programs from Super Radyo DZBB 594. The first iteration of the block consists of the following programs:

  • Saksi sa Dobol B (hosted by Mike Enriquez)
  • Super Balita sa Umaga Nationwide (anchored by Mike Enriquez and Joel Reyes Zobel)
  • One on One with Igan (hosted by Arnold Clavio and Lala Roque)

The block ran from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on weekdays and it competed against DZMM TeleRadyo shows ‘Kabayan’, ‘Radyo Patrol Balita Alas-Siyete’ and ‘Failon Ngayon sa DZMM’. However, the block had its flaws, the most notable of which are the ill-timed placing of taped news reports during commercial breaks and product advisories.

GMA News TV’s Teleradyo-like experiment lasted until September 7, 2012, when it was cancelled due to low ratings. After that, with the exception of a short-lived revival of ‘Kape at Balita’, News TV’s 6:00-9:00 a.m. slot was given to reruns of GMA Public Affairs shows, classic action movies, Koreanovelas, TV shopping blocks, and even the teleserye ‘Amaya’.

The revival of ‘Dobol B sa News TV’ should give viewers another reason to believe in News TV. While the network’s quality of programming is still questionable, their recent live coverage of high-profile Senate and House hearings is a sign that the channel is improving and that a return to form is imminent.

Still, even with the return of DZBB programs to News TV, how long can this latest experiment last? One can only hope that the simulcast will be the first step towards News TV’s true transformation into a legitimate news channel without any of the extracurricular activities present in them.


MGB Halloween Specials

‘Magandang Gabi, Bayan”s Halloween specials were a cherished tradition for viewers during Halloween week. Sadly it’s been nearly a decade since the last MGB Halloween episode.

Before Saturday night television viewing was taken over by tearjerkers such as ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya‘ and ‘Magpakailanman‘, news and public affairs programs such as ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho‘, ‘Imbestigador‘ and ‘XXX: Eksklusibong, Explosibong Expose’ were keeping viewers informed during the weekend. But let’s go back to the 90s, and one classic program came to mind.

ABS-CBN‘s ‘Magandang Gabi, Bayan‘ became a standard of excellence for investigative journalism. The program’s title was a trademark of host Noli de Castro, who frequently begins and ends ‘TV Patrol‘ with this phrase, and likewise uses a variation of the phrase whenever he host his DZMM morning program ‘Kabayan, Kapangyarihan ng Mamamayan, Balita at Talakayan’. The program became closely identifiable with de Castro, and was famous for ‘Kabayan”s hard-hitting interviews with various guests, as well as a detailed study at current events and issues that shaped the nation at the time.

However, its most famous tradition was its Halloween specials. In each special, ‘Kabayan’ would discuss urban myths, encounters with the supernatural, horror stories, and even places that were deemed haunted by bad spirits. The MGB Halloween specials became a chilling affair for the viewer, especially when de Castro narrates in his normally baritone voice how each horror tale took place. The specials would continue even after de Castro ran for the Senate in 2001, but its final special aired in 2005, months before MGB was pulled off the air.

When de Castro returned to ABS-CBN after a nine-year run as both a senator and a vice president, he did not convince management to revive MGB. Instead he focused on both ‘TV Patrol’ and his radio program ‘Kabayan’, but in 2011, the traditional MGB Halloween specials returned as a one-off documentary. The special ‘Kababalaghan’ reminded viewers of how the MGB Halloween specials scared the life out of them, especially when de Castro’s baritone turns spookier with every word. The documentary trended on social media when it aired.

It is unknown when another one-off MGB Halloween special will be produced, but one thing is certain: Halloween won’t be the same without Magandang Gabi, Bayan’s Halloween specials.

news, Philippines, public affairs, talk show, television

Cancellation of Kape at Balita on GMA News TV

GMA News TV’s ‘Kape at Balita’ aired its final episode on August 16, 2013, finishing its 10-month run.

From August 19 onwards, many viewers of GMA News TV noticed a change in the early morning timeslot. Instead of the early morning newscast ‘Kape at Balita‘, the said network have been airing repeats of documentaries such as ‘Hamon ng Kalikasan’ and ‘Misteryo‘. No explanation was given regarding the cancellation.

The second incarnation of ‘Kape at Balita’ started to air on October 22, 2012 as an alternative program to the big networks’ morning shows such as ‘Umagang Kay Ganda‘, ‘Good Morning Club‘, and ‘Unang Hirit‘. The program’s basic fare featured mostly current news events, spiced up with commentaries and interviews from various sources. In short, ‘Kape at Balita’ was more akin to the morning news and commentary shows on radio such as ‘Kabayan: Kapangyarihan ng Mamamayan, Balita at Talakayan’ and ‘Saksi sa Dobol B‘.

This was GMA News TV’s second attempt at a morning show. Previous to that they aired a simulcast of DZBB‘s ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’, before giving way to ‘Kape at Balita’. Morning shows on television were usually the most difficult and expensive to produce, and with the domination of the morning shows on the big networks, the others struggled to keep pace. One example is Studio 23‘s defunct morning show ‘Breakfast’, which struggled with viewership because the format is more akin to middle and upper class viewers.

These days both ABS-CBN and TV5 simulcast their morning shows on their sister news networks. ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ is also seen on the all-English cable network ABS-CBN News Channel, while ‘Good Morning Club’ is simulcast on the UHF AksyonTV. GMA would have loved to do the same thing with ‘Unang Hirit’, but since their sister network GMA News TV is also a VHF channel, it is very unlikely.

At the moment it is unclear whether or not GMA News TV will produce another morning show. For now, they revert back to airing past documentaries, something the network will never want to do after all my criticisms against the network.

news, Philippines, public affairs, radio, television

The Return of ‘Kabayan’, Three Years After

In 2010, ‘Kabayan’ Noli de Castro marked his return to broadcasting by hosting his weekday morning radio program ‘Kabayan’ and anchoring ‘TV Patrol’ on a nightly basis. Three years after, he still didn’t miss a beat. (Photo credit:

After leaving the political arena in 2010, ‘Kabayan’ Noli de Castro returned to the network he called home for 15 years. Just a month following his departure from the Vice Presidency, he resumed his normal broadcast duties by hosting the popular and well-acclaimed DZMM program ‘Kabayan: Kapangyarihan ng Mamamayan, Balita at Talakayan’ in the early morning. Then at night, he co-anchors the long-running ‘TV Patrol‘ on ABS-CBN with Ted Failon and Korina Sanchez. Even after a nine-year sabbatical from television and radio, he’s still the same old ‘Kabayan’, full of intensity and respect.

It was with ‘TV Patrol’ where ‘Kabayan’ became a celebrity in his own right, one that eventually propelled him to pursue politics. Consistently ranked as the top-rated news program in Philippine television, ‘TV Patrol’ changed the way news was told, using Filipino as the main tongue and focusing more on tabloid-related stories in addition to national news. TV Patrol, even after 25 years and several anchor changes, is still preferred by a majority of the Philippine population over its closest competitors. And de Castro’s return to ‘TV Patrol’ helped them solidify their position as the top-rated news program today.

In addition to ‘TV Patrol’, de Castro also hosts the DZMM morning program ‘Kabayan’, which he also started in 1987. His return to the early morning slot forced Neil Ocampo, who ran and lost in the 2010 election, to move his ‘Todo Balita‘ program to Radyo5 92.3. De Castro’s typical routine on the program consist of interviews with various personalities, commentary on current national issues, a 7:00 a.m. newscast with Ted Failon, and Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ after bidding his listeners farewell.  The on-air return of ‘Kabayan’ was perfect timing; ‘Saksi sa Dobol B‘ on DZBB had been lording over the early morning slot for the past few years, and de Castro’s return helped DZMM reclaim the lead or even the gap in the early mornings thereafter.

However, what was missing from his return was his public affairs program ‘Magandang Gabi, Bayan‘. Originally aired on Saturday nights, ‘MGB’ was pulled off the air after de Castro ran for the Senate in 2001, ending a 12-year run. ‘MGB”s slot would later be occupied by other public affairs programs before ‘Maalala Mo Kaya’ was moved to Saturdays in 2008. Even with ‘Kabayan”s return, ‘MGB’ wasn’t able to make it back on-air. Nevertheless, de Castro continues to host special programs on occasion.

Three years since returning to television and radio, ‘Kabayan’ remains as strong as ever. No one in the world of Philippine mass media today can top his influence, integrity and power. For many, Noli de Castro is the benchmark of which other anchors will be measured on.