news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, radio

Radyo5 Should Let Go of Punto Asintado

The post-Erwin Tulfo era in ‘Punto Asintado’ is off to an unimpressive start.

Nearly a month after Erwin Tulfo left TV5 on his own terms, the show that Erwin left behind is still searching for a permanent and regular host. At the moment, four different hosts have filled in on ‘Punto Asintado’.

They are:

  • Mae Anne Los Baños
  • Maricel Halili
  • Alex Tinsay
  • Atty. Mel Sta. Maria

Call it an unstable bunch. While the four hosts are willing and able to fill the chair, their other roles within and beyond News5 prevent them from hosting ‘Punto Asintado’ on a regular basis.

Alex Tinsay, for example, is also the host of ‘Aksyon Solusyon’ on weekdays and ‘Metro Sabado’ on Saturdays. He is also one of the hosts of ‘The 700 Club Asia’ on the GMA family of networks.

Atty. Mel Sta. Maria is the host of ‘Relasyon’ alongside Gladys Lana-Lucas (by default; original host Luchi Cruz-Valdes no longer appears on the show since June). He also fills in for Orly Mercado on ‘Orly Mercado All Ready’ on occasion, and outside Radyo5, is the dean of Far Eastern University Institute of Law.

Both Mae Anne Los Baños and Maricel Halili serve as News5 reporters. Mae Anne was one of the anchors of ‘Balita Alas-Singko’ while Maricel hosts ‘Iba Yung Pinoy’ on Sunday afternoons.

The rotating host situation in ‘Punto Asintado’ is a microcosm of the overall situation that is going on at Radyo5 92.3 News FM. Throughout the past year, some of the station’s personalities left for various reasons, and the fact that Radyo5 executives have failed to fill in the gaps made it clear that the station’s days are numbered.

When every listener thinks of ‘Punto Asintado’, Erwin Tulfo will always come to mind. This show will always be identified with him, even though he had some co-hosts in Cheryl Cosim and Martin Andanar along the way.

Perhaps Radyo5 would be wise to cancel ‘Punto Asintado’ at this point because it makes no sense continuing the show without its most identifiable personality. The show is and will always belong to Erwin Tulfo regardless of where he goes.

As for the situation at the chair, Radyo5 may need to call Ed Lingao and Lourd de Veyra’s number. A new morning show with either one of them could mitigate the loss of one of Radyo5’s standout programs.

One can only hope that Radyo5 will do the right thing when it comes to the 8:00 a.m. weekday slot. Time is of the essence, so good luck to them in figuring out this mess.

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Tulfo Brothers’ Departure Leaves Radyo5 in a Tight Spot

The crisis within News5 reached a new level last week.

A few weeks ago, brothers Erwin and Ben Tulfo, and Ed Lingao were engaged in a war of words in both social media and in their respective programs. To make the long story short, here is how the story began.

Erwin’s brother Ben then defended him against Ed Lingao on his ‘Bitag Live’ program last June 20, 2017. The said video was quickly uploaded on the ‘Bitag’ YouTube page, and Ed later responded to Ben’s comments on Facebook.

However, in light of a personal tragedy involving Ed Lingao, Ben and his staff elected to remove the video. After that, Ben issued a public apology on social media.

Nevertheless, News5 management, led by Luchi Cruz-Valdes, were disappointed with the situation. On Friday, June 30, they posted this official statement condemning the controversy between the Tulfo brothers and Ed Lingao.

But by the time TV5 issued this statement, the damage has been done. On Thursday, June 29, Erwin announced his departure from Radyo5, and several hours later, brother Ben also called it quits.

While Ben quickly moved ‘Bitag Live’ to PTV-4, as of today, Erwin has yet to announce a new station of his own. Nevertheless, Erwin continues to appear alongside his brother and Alex Santos on ‘Kilos Pronto’, in addition to a Facebook-only broadcast called ‘Erwin Tulfo Live’.

As for Radyo5 92.3 News FM, they made some changes to their programming lineup in light of the departure of Ben and Erwin. The departed ‘Bitag Live’ was replaced by ‘Aksyon Solusyon’ which was then extended to two hours, while ‘Punto Asintado’ is now being handled by substitute anchors.

Unfortunately for Miguel Belmonte, the programming changes did little to mitigate this crisis. Radyo5 is already thin on talent, and with the Tulfo brothers (save for Raffy who remains under contract) now gone, the situation only got worse.

In fact, host Alex Tinsay cannot do it alone. While he is the regular host of ‘Aksyon Solusyon’, he has also pinched-hit for the Tulfo brothers in their programs, but with Ben and Erwin no longer in the fold, the challenge even got trickier.

So much so that Menchie Silvestre (host of ‘Alagang Kapatid’) and Niña Taduran (Raffy’s co-host on ‘Wanted sa Radyo’) are penciled in to take over ‘Aksyon Solusyon’ on the interim. But if Radyo5 were smart, there are others hosts who can fill in the void.

Take Cheryl Cosim for example. The host of ‘Serbisyong Kapatid’ and ‘Healthline with Cheryl Cosim’ has also hosted ‘Punto Asintado’ in the past, and with her current two programs in the same mold as ‘Aksyon Solusyon’, Radyo5 should consider giving her a slot on either program.

Maricel Halili, the host of ‘Iba Yung Pinoy’, is another option, having pinched-hit on ‘Punto Asintado’ on a few occasions. So is Lourd de Veyra, another occasional pinch-hitter on the show.

Ed Lingao, who has rarely, if not never, worked on radio, could also be a viable option, provided that he is allowed to return. Or they could welcome back the now-former DOTR spokesperson Cherie Mercado and revive ‘Trabaho Lang’ as a morning program, if she is allowed more time with her family.

Overall, Miguel Belmonte has plenty of tricks up his sleeve, but it will be up to him to deliver the goods. This is now a litmus test for Radyo5 92.3 News FM, so let’s see how will they play this out.

Otherwise they can just reformat into an easy listening station ala 96.3 Easy Rock. Simple as that.

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News5 Needs a Revamp (Part II)

The problems surrounding TV5 has also spread to the news department.

In Part I, FTT discussed the various dilemmas that surrounded News5 in recent months. These problems range from questionable personnel decisions and content criticisms to programming issues.

Now on Part II, we discuss what steps are needed to resuscitate News5 from its doldrums. These solutions may be risky for the division, but in the long term, it should help them regain their former glory.

With that, here are the following ways to fix News5:

Hire and Promote Younger Reporters

News5 really needs some young blood to shore things up. With that in mind, an aggressive recruiting plan is needed to acquire younger journalists (preferably fresh graduates from mass communications and journalism courses) who could help them in the long term.

Of course, it would be best to avoid the so-called ‘entertainers masquerading as journalists’ (EMAJ) at all costs. If so, demote them to reporting showbiz news.

In addition to that, they may need to promote some of their long-time reporters to anchor the ‘Aksyon’ newscasts on a regular or a temporary basis. Reporters like Maricel Halili, Renz Ongkiko, Maeanne Los Baños, France Noguera, Carla Lim and Trish Roque could get some airtime as anchors in the near future.

However, that will only be possible if News5 does something drastic to ‘Aksyon’. Which leads to this much-needed solution.

Reformat ‘Aksyon’ (save for ‘Aksyon Tonite’)

For the most part, ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ and ‘Aksyon Prime’ are similar to the newscasts of ABS-CBN and GMA: mostly sensationalized in nature. This is contrast to ‘Aksyon Tonite’, whose content is more on hard news.

Getting rid of the sensationalized reports and focusing more on hard news should be a priority for News5 in restructuring the ‘Aksyon’ brand. Of course, a personnel shuffle is needed as well; after all, no one wants to be the next Raffy Tulfo, who turned ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ into a ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ in newscast form.

Find someone equal to ‘Aksyon Tonite”s Ed Lingao and Cheryl Cosim, and a more reenergized ‘Aksyon’ newscasts are ready to go. But if TV5 wants to make their news available 24/7, they need to go to this route.

Establish an All-News Channel on Cignal

AksyonTV’s glory days are long gone. The former 24-hour all-Filipino news channel is now airing more sporting events than ever, and TV5 may need to give its sister channel a much-needed rebrand (preferably renaming it as the Sports5 Network or AKTV).

A news channel is still a necessity though. But instead of airing it on free TV like before, what TV5 needed now is a Cignal exclusive news channel, complete with the simulcasts of all Radyo5 programs, ‘Aksyon’ newscasts and public affairs shows from TV5 (don’t confuse it with Bloomberg TV Philippines, as it is strictly a business news channel).

In order to do that, however, more shows on Radyo5 and TV5 are needed. Which leads to:

Create More Shows on Radyo5 and TV5

Radyo5 92.3 News FM may be the only news-oriented FM station in the country, but its programming is still a far cry from that of AM radio counterparts DZBB and DZMM. With that in mind, the station needs to add more programs in addition to hiring new hosts.

The same can be said to TV5, whose only active public affairs shows are ‘Alagang Kapatid’ and ‘ReAksyon’. Adding new shows could take a while, however, since the network is busy managing the coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

These solutions should help News5 regain its former glory. But rebuilding is not easy, however, so all it needs is patience, perseverance and faith to get the job done.

News5 has a potential to be a great news organization. However, with all the problems they countered, it’s easy to see why they’re still lagging behind the others.

Hopefully they do this right as soon as possible. The fate of News5 is on the management’s hands.

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For TV5, It’s All About ‘Aksyon’

On July 21, TV5 will officially integrate their newscasts under the ‘Aksyon’ banner. The newscasts will be titled ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’, ‘Aksyon Prime’, and ‘Aksyon Tonite’.

But prior to the relaunch, several other TV5 programs and entities have used the word ‘Aksyon’ since the brand was launched in 2010.

Aksyon JournalisMO

The first late night news program of TV5 following the sale to Manny V. Pangilinan, ‘Aksyon JournalisMO’ was first anchored by Martin Andanar, Cherie Mercado and Jove Francisco. Andanar was later replaced by Atty. Mike Templo, followed by Paolo Bediones. The newscast ran from October 25, 2010 to February 17, 2012, and features online opinions of citizens regarding various national issues.

Aksyon Solusyon

The public service program has been airing on Radyo5 92.3 NewsFM since 2011, and was first hosted by Cheryl Cosim and Richard Gordon. Cosim was later replaced by Amelyn Veloso, before current host Alex Tinsay took over the program in late 2012. Tinsay is now the sole host of the program after Gordon’s departure in early 2013. ‘Aksyon Solusyon’ also airs on AksyonTV.

AksyonTV

Named after the flagship newscast, AksyonTV was launched on February 21, 2011. Once hailed as the first 24-hour free TV news network in the Filipino language, AksyonTV later cut its operational hours due to rising costs. The network currently airs a mix of Radyo5 programs, ‘Aksyon’ newscasts, News5 programs, and Sports5 events.

Aksyon Weekend

The weekend edition of ‘Aksyon’, it first aired on April 10, 2010. The original anchors were Andanar, Mercado and Francisco, all of whom would go on to anchor ‘Aksyon JournalisMO’. Amelyn Veloso, Naomi Dayrit and Maricel Halili later took over Mercado’s vacated seat.

Initially an early evening newscast, it was moved to late nights on October 10, 2010 to make way for ‘Willing Willie’. Twenty days later, Atty. Templo replaced Andanar, after which the newscast was renamed ‘Aksyon Sabado’ and ‘Aksyon Linggo’. They were later replaced by ‘Pilipinas News Weekend’ in August 2012.

‘Aksyon Weekend’ was revived on January 16, 2013, with Raffy Tulfo and Grace Lee as anchors. Unlike the previous version, however, ‘Aksyon Weekend’ only aired on Saturday afternoons, mainly due to sports coverage and weekend entertainment programs. The revived ‘Aksyon Weekend’ ended its broadcasts on July 12, 2014.

Aksyon Sports

Hosted by Dennis Principe and Ron delos Reyes, ‘Aksyon Sports’ has been airing on Radyo5 92.3 News FM since 2011. The program also aired on AksyonTV, but was later cancelled. ‘Aksyon Sports’ solely focuses on recaps of sports events and discussions regarding various sports issues.

Aksyon Breaking and Related Bulletins

‘Aksyon Breaking’ (AksyonTV), ‘Aksyon Alert’ (TV5) and ‘Aksyon News Update’ (Radyo5 92.3 News FM) serve as the main news bulletins of News5. While ‘Aksyon Alert’ and ‘Aksyon News Update’ continue to air, ‘Aksyon Breaking’ was cancelled on July 13, 2014, in anticipation of a reformat.

Regional Aksyon

TV5 affiliates in Cebu and Davao air a regional version of ‘Aksyon’. ‘Aksyon Bisaya’ was first launched on July 18, 2011, after TV5 launched its Cebu affiliate. ‘Aksyon Dabaw’ was then launched on May 5, 2014, serving viewers of TV5 Davao.

Reaksyon

Formerly a stand-alone news and commentary program, it will now serve as a segment for ‘Aksyon Prime’ beginning July 21. Luchi Cruz-Valdes will continue to host the segment in addition to her anchoring duties on ‘Aksyon Prime’.

InterAksyon.com

The official news website of TV5, InterAksyon.com was launched in 2010, following the sale of the network to Manny V. Pangilinan. In addition to various news articles, clips of News5 programs and newscasts on TV and radio are also featured via its sister site News5 Everywhere.

This Monday, TV5 takes the ‘Aksyon’ name to new heights, in the form of ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’ (mornings), ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ (noontime), ‘Aksyon Prime’ (primetime) and ‘Aksyon Tonite’ (late nights). For News5, it is about strengthening and unifying the brand, believing that ‘more than the news, it is about action’ (‘higit sa balita, aksyon’). And that is exactly what they are attempting to accomplish.

However, it remains to be seen whether or not their new initiative will pay off. But for now, News5 will welcome a change of scenery, and will start over with a clean slate.

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