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FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part II)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2018, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at some of the Hot or Not moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part II of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

HOT: Ben and Erwin Tulfo

The two Tulfo brothers began the year as hosts of their respective programs (Ben for ‘Bitag Live’, Erwin for ‘Punto Asintado’) on Radyo5 92.3 News FM. But after a highly-publicized feud with journalist Ed Lingao last June, Ben and Erwin elected to quit their jobs with Radyo5 and move over to PTV-4 (where they host ‘Kilos Pronto’ with Alex Santos) and Radyo Pilipinas full-time.

While Ben moved ‘Bitag Live’ to join its sister programs over to PTV-4, Erwin returned to newscasting with ‘Radyo Pilipinas Nationwide’ and ‘PTV News’ where he is joined by Weng dela Peña and Diane Querrer respectively. Erwin also brought his ‘Erwin Tulfo Live’ over to Radyo Pilipinas and started a talk show with President Rodrigo Duterte called ‘Sa Totoo Lang’.

NOT: Raffy Tulfo

Meanwhile, the lone remaining Tulfo on TV5 continued to butcher the already damaged reputation of its news division by changing the format anew of ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’. As a result, the erstwhile newscast became a full-on television counterpart to Raffy’s radio program ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ by emphasizing more on citizen complaints than actual news reports.

Notwithstanding the recent addition of Marga Vargas as co-anchor, it was clear that having Raffy on ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ is doing more harm than good to News5’s morale. Perhaps the departure of his brothers plus News5’s decline in quality may have taken its toll on Raffy, and giving him the walking papers may be inevitable.

HOT: DZMM TeleRadyo and Dobol B sa News TV

In April, a new-look DZMM TeleRadyo was unveiled to a nationwide audience, featuring an improved visual presentation and a new set for ‘Sakto’, ‘Good Vibes’, ‘On the Spot’ and ‘Todo-Todo Walang Preno’. They also added a selection of ABS-CBN News programs and two newscasts to the lineup in ‘Headline Pilipinas’ and an ‘early edition’ of ‘Bandila’.

Not to be outdone, rival Super Radyo DZBB 594 returned to television via ‘Dobol B sa News TV’ after a four-year hiatus. The station also started to cross over to social media by airing select programs live on Facebook, much like DZMM does on occasion.

NOT: News5 in General

The self-destruction of News5 continued throughout the year. Not only did the network lose Ben and Erwin Tulfo among other talents, they also cancelled ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’ and shortened ‘Aksyon Tonite’ in favor of sports programming from ESPN5.

It also didn’t help that its leader Luchi Cruz-Valdes disappeared from radio and television altogether due to health concerns. Overall, the future does not look bright for News5 and the inevitability of dissolution draws even closer as each day passes.

HOT: 97.9 Home Radio

Call it a rebirth as the ‘old’ 97.9 Home Radio returned to the airwaves last July. Gone is the Top 40 style of previous years, and to the delight of its loyal listeners, Home Radio resurrected its familiar ‘easy listening’ format.

The reformat of Home Radio back to its roots should give 96.3 Easy Rock a run for its money. After all, with Easy Rock offering a bland Love Radio-like approach, a more diverse playlist is more than enough for listeners to switch to Home Radio instead.

NOT: 90.7 Love Radio

They may continue to boast that they were the No. 1 radio station in Metro Manila for nearly (self-proclaimed) two decades now, but the grip is slipping for 90.7 Love Radio. The loss of Papa Jack (now 106.7 Energy FM’s Papa Jackson) became too large of a hole to fill, and despite having the talented duo of Chris Tsuper and Nicole Hyala, this year overall is not a good one for Love Radio.

Getting surpassed by MOR 101.9 in the ratings is insult to injury to Love Radio’s psyche. And if that is not enough, Lloyd Cafe Cadena is no Papa Jackson, which is hard to accept for any listener of the said station.

HOT: FM1 and FM2

The two FM stations under the PCOO umbrella officially signed on this year: 104.3 FM2 in February and 87.5 FM1 in November. Within months, FM2 became the top-rated FM radio station among the upscale listening public thanks in large part to their diverse format featuring classic songs from the 70s up to the 90s.

As for FM1, the station is currently in test broadcast and is expected to launch early next year. Unlike FM2, FM1 will focus on the younger demographic with a format consisting of music from the 2000s onwards, which should give established stations like Magic 89.9 and Monster RX 93.1 a run for their money.

NOT: Retro 105.9

The original ‘retro’ FM radio station in Metro Manila faced new competition in the form of FM2 this year. Initially, Retro 105.9 was the top FM radio station among Metro Manila’s upscale listeners, but a surge from FM2 ended their reign.

Making matters worse is Retro 105.9’s latest rebrand that took place in November, dismissing almost all of its on-air staff in favor of a mostly automated approach. With FM2 imposing its will on the upscale market, it seems like the days of Retro 105.9 as the source of anything ‘retro’ music is being numbered by the day.

Part III of this four-part series is coming up this Thursday. Stay tuned.

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In 100 Words: Delamar Returns to Radio

Delamar Arias has come out of retirement.

Nearly a year after her departure from Monster RX 93.1 and ‘The Morning Rush’, Delamar shocked the world when she decided to return to the radio booth. But instead of rejoining her mates at RX, Delamar announced that she will instead move to Magic 89.9 on a part-time basis.

Delamar will join fellow DJ/mothers Riki Flores and Andi Manzano for a new program called ‘The Mother Show’. As its title suggests, the show will focus on issues concerning motherhood.

The premiere date of ‘The Mother Show’ is yet to be determined, but Magic 89.9 said it will air on Fridays during Friday Madness. As mentioned earlier, this is only a part-time role for Delamar, but at least listeners are more than happy to have her voice back on the radio.

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Home of the Millennials No More: 97.9 Home Radio Returns to Old Easy Listening Format

The final logo of 97.9 Home Radio during the ‘Home of the Millennials’ era. (Logo courtesy of Aliw Broadcasting Corporation)

It is back to basics for 97.9 Home Radio and its affiliates.

After over three years playing both hot adult contemporary and top 40 songs, Aliw Broadcasting Corporation decided to convert Home Radio back to the more popular easy listening format. The unveiling was quiet and unexpected; there was no announcement nor press release to accompany this change.

It can be recalled that in March 2014, Aliw turned Home Radio into a ‘masa’ station akin to more popular standouts such as 90.7 Love Radio. Initially keeping the Home Radio name, Aliw rebranded the station to Natural 97.9, a move that did not sit well with listeners.

In July, the ‘Home Radio’ name was brought back, while any reference to the ‘Natural’ brand was gradually dropped. Along the way, Aliw realized that the ‘masa’ format was not working out, and they decided to convert Home Radio into a contemporary hit radio station similar to those used by Magic 89.9.

Despite some aggressive social media promotion, the use of student DJs, and catchphrases such as ‘Home of the Millennials’ and ‘The Music of Now’, 97.9 Home Radio failed to catch on with the millennial market. Thus another revamp is needed, one that will bring them back to their roots.

Thus on Friday, June 30, the original format of 97.9 Home Radio was brought back, much to the delight of loyal listeners who were disenchanted by the network’s foray into the ‘masa’ and top 40 market. Despite that, the website and social media accounts of the station were not updated as of today, thus putting the station on ‘test broadcast’ mode until further notice.

Still, the prospect of a return to form gave listeners some glimmer of hope. With the emergence of classic hits stations in 104.3 FM2 and Retro 105.9 DCG-FM, Aliw found out that tapping back to the listener market of 30 and older is the best path for Home Radio moving forward.

Listeners can only hope that the return of Home Radio into its familiar adult contemporary format will be one of the most successful comeback stories on Philippine radio. It may be long overdue, but it should be all worth it.

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In 100 Words: Yes the Best? More Like Yes the Worst!

Looks like nothing has changed on 101.1 Yes the Best.

Despite a massive and heavily hyped rebrand that took several months to materialize (even going as far as labeling the station as the ‘Home of the Millennials’), the sound of Yes the Best remains virtually the same as its previous incarnation. They are still a ‘masa’ station with ridiculously named DJs, playing some OPM, dance and hip-hop tracks, and even classic rock ballads from years past.

If Yes wants to truly live up to their billing as the ‘Home of the Millennials’, the station should have morphed into a Top 40 CHR station ala Magic 89.9 and 99.5 Play FM. This is poor advertising on MBC’s part, one that will definitely fool the more educated listener.

Sorry, but the rebrand of 101.1 Yes the Best is a thumbs down. Get your priorities straight, MBC.

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In 100 Words: The Morning Rush’s New Recruit

Monster RX 93.1 found a permanent replacement for Delamar, and they didn’t need to go outside.

RX recently announced that Rica Garcia will be the new third host of ‘The Morning Rush’ alongside Chico Garcia (no relation) and Gino Quillamor. The announcement came amid clamor from TMR’s long-time listeners who wanted a female voice following the departures of Delamar Arias and now-Magic 89.9 DJ Bea Fabregas.

Prior to earning the gig with ‘The Morning Rush’, Rica joined RX in 2016 as part of the Radio 1 student DJ program. Rica, according to her social media pages, is also a freelance makeup artist and has her own YouTube channel dedicated to makeup tutorials.

Only time will tell whether or not Rica will be a good fit to ‘The Morning Rush’. For now, good luck to her.

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Papa Jack’s Departure Could Test Love Radio’s Claim as the No. 1 Metro Manila FM Radio Station

It has been over two weeks since John Gemperle (a.k.a. Papa Jack) officially left 90.7 Love Radio.

After all, the popular DJ had been a fixture of the station for over a decade, hosting the long-running programs ‘TLC: True Love Conversations’ and ‘Wild Confessions’. And more recently, he was paired with Kara Karinyosa (real name Klariz Magboo) to form the equally popular ‘KarJack’ tandem.

Papa Jack’s brand of providing love advice to listeners has been comparable to fellow DJs Tom Alvarez of Monster RX 93.1 and Slick Rick, Tony Toni and Sam YG of Magic 89.9. As Love Radio is more well-known as a ‘masa’ station, Papa Jack’s style fits well with the station’s format, as he typically provides distinct and sometimes blunt responses to his callers.

On his last broadcast that was aired on December 16, 2016, Papa Jack did not cite a reason for his resignation. He did give one last advice to his followers on Facebook a few weeks later.

With Papa Jack being considered the face of Love Radio in the past decade (no offense to Chris Tsuper and Nicole Hyala), his departure could mark the beginning of the end for the station. However, as Love Radio once again claimed to be the No. 1 Metro Manila FM radio station for the 15th consecutive year, there seems to be no concern on their part.

Still, their so-called boast as the No. 1 station in the Metro was overly exaggerated. If Love Radio claims to be No. 1 in all of Metro Manila, where are the figures to prove it?

So far, no one has publicly issued a statement with regards to ratings on Metro Manila FM radio. As far as the more knowledgeable people are concerned, Love Radio is not No. 1 unless they issue an actual document that proves otherwise.

That said, without any proof, Love Radio has no right to name themselves No. 1 for the 15th year in a row. They must back it all up, otherwise listeners will tune out.

For now, 90.7 Love Radio can boast all they want being No. 1 and all. But without the face that runs this side of Pasay every night, how much longer can they hold on?

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