news, Philippines, politics, public affairs

In Memory of News5

The death of News5 is all but finalized.

On Friday, November 3, TV5 management announced the cancellation of ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, ‘Aksyon News Alert’ and ‘Aksyon Tonite’ to make way for the newly-rebranded ESPN5 block that will go full swing in December. The only newscasts retained by the network are ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ and ‘Aksyon Prime’.

The cancellation of these three programs marked the latest in a saga of changes that deepened News5’s problems. Whether it is the loss of several talents, questionable programming decisions, lack of resources or signal concerns, News5’s issues only served to undermine its abilities as a news-gathering force.

There is no need to discuss what went wrong as this blog already discussed in detail the many problems that News5 faced (and the potential solutions that would have helped). Instead, this article will look back at News5’s contributions during its storied but tenuous run.

News5 started the ‘news on FM radio’ revolution when they launched Radyo5 92.3 News FM back in 2010. A few months after, AksyonTV was born, and at the time, it was the only 24/7 all-Filipino language news channel on free TV.

They also went into a partnership with Bloomberg LP in 2015 and launched Bloomberg TV Philippines, the first Filipino business news channel. Other contributions by the network include News5 Digital, then the only online news channel in the country, and News5 newscasts produced in high definition.

Some of the Philippines’ most talented journalists also made News5 their home. These include current PCOO secretary Martin Andanar, the late Amelyn Veloso, the Tulfo brothers (Ben, Raffy and Erwin), Cheryl Cosim, Ed Lingao, Jove Francisco and former DOT spokesperson Cherie Mercado among others.

Finally, News5 did produce some quality programs of their own. Aside from the ‘Aksyon’ newscasts, some of News5’s award-winning shows include ‘T3’, ‘History with Lourd de Veyra’, ‘Kaya’ and ‘Alagang Kapatid’.

Overall, despite all the problems they have faced, News5 still tried its best to keep up with its more superior counterparts in ABS-CBN and GMA. Still, its inevitable demise has viewers thinking what might have been had they smartly made moves to benefit both the technical and the economical aspect of the organization.

Now that Chot Reyes is about to turn TV5 into an S+A clone (for lack of a better term), the promising organization that is News5 is all but a distant memory. The newscasts may keep it alive, but for all intents and purposes, this organization’s days are numbered.

Thanks for all the memories, News5. You’ll be sorely missed.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Thoughts on PTV-4 Using Other Networks’ Feeds

People’s Television Network has a very interesting case going on.

Last night, while President Rodrigo Duterte fielded questions from the media, PTV-4 inexplicably used the feed of the ABS-CBN News Channel instead of their own (see example video below). The reason: Radio-Television Malacañang, the media arm of the Philippines’ executive branch, was caught off guard by the unscheduled Q&A.

As a result, they were unable to document the press conference in time, so it was up to the respective networks to shoot their own. Unfortunately, PTV-4 failed to provide broadcast equipment in time for the impromptu event, forcing them to ‘borrow’ ANC’s feed.

This is not the first time that PTV-4 used a feed from another network. On a few other occasions, they have borrowed ANC, CNN Philippines and even GMA News TV’s feeds during President Duterte and various other spokespeople’s live appearances, when in fact they should have been sourcing these material from either their own or RTVM’s.

These occasional problems made it clear that PTV-4 is not ready to be a self-sustainable project just yet. While President Duterte promised sweeping improvements for the government station, so far these are on the side of gradual and not an immediate need at the moment.

However, PCOO secretary Martin Andanar should have been aware of PTV-4’s shortcomings. Realizing that the network is still dependent on private outfits to source some of the material, Andanar needs to change that mentality by providing the much-needed budget for PTV-4’s broadcast equipment.

The station should also be in constant communication with RTVM so that they can provide the necessary equipment in the event of a live appearance from President Duterte. With RTVM’s equipment more updated than PTV-4’s, perhaps the time is right for the two outfits to join forces and supplement each other’s broadcasts.

But if RTVM will not be up to task, it is up to Andanar and the PCOO to ask PTV-4 to go ahead as it happens. In short, PTV-4 should be more prepared than ever to document these crucial events.

PTV-4 is indeed the government’s best asset. But until they shed these overdependent tendencies, all that support will be for nothing.

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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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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Thoughts on Lack of Attention Regarding Palace Press Briefings

 

Secretary Ernesto Abella (here pictured with DENR secretary Gina Lopez) is one of two primary voices behind a press briefing at Malacañang Palace. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office)

Secretary Ernesto Abella (here pictured with DENR secretary Gina Lopez) is one of two primary voices behind a press briefing at Malacañang Palace. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office)

Press briefings at the Malacañang Palace tend to be underappreciated by the media.

The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte features two men who represent him during media engagements at the Palace. On one corner, there is presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, and on the other corner, there is Presidential Communications Operations Office chief Martin Andanar.

Both men have the responsibility of speaking with the media in behalf of President Duterte. Much of the conversation is usually directed on top media stories that affect the country, such as natural or man-made calamities, political controversies, and even the health of the President himself.

While the two are the primary voices of the Palace press briefing, they are also accompanied by other members of the Cabinet. They are here to discuss certain other issues that require immediate resolution.

Unfortunately, such live events are not taken for granted by a majority of media outlets in the country. Apart from the Radio-Television Malacañang (RTVM) which handles all live coverage involving the executive branch, only government station PTV-4 and private news network ABS-CBN News Channel have the privilege of bringing them live.

So where is the love as far as Palace press briefings are concerned? For some news networks, it seems like the appearances of Secretaries Abella and Andanar do not mean a thing, and that their only concern is with President Duterte himself.

Before making a negative reaction, here is the reason why news networks should also look at Secretaries Abella and Andanar. Their responsibilities as spokespeople behind the President are just as important in relaying information and opinion to both the media and the general public, even if they lack the powers that the President possess.

That said, the news media must carry these press briefings since these are deemed significant items to write about. After all, the President may be the country’s most powerful person, but even he/she can be human at times.

Overall, a press briefing at Malacañang Palace is just as necessary to cover as President Duterte’s speaking engagements. Whatever words Secretaries Abella and Andanar relay to the media will determine the country’s fate moving forward.

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hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

104.3 FM2 Poses New Challenge to Retro 105.9 DCG-FM

Retro 105.9 DCG-FM has a new rival.

Almost three years to the day Retro 105.9 made history as Metro Manila’s first classic hits-oriented radio station, a new network of the same genre began to emerge out of nowhere. On February 2, 104.3 FM2 made its maiden broadcast, with Bong ‘Sonny B’ Aportadera and Carlo ‘Carlo Jose’ Villo sharing the day-to-day operations of the new station.

For those who are not familiar with this station, DWBR 104.3 is owned by the Philippine government via the Philippine Broadcasting Service. Thus, the station is part of an umbrella that includes the People’s Television Network (PTV-4), DZRB Radyo ng Bayan 738, DZSR Sports Radio 918 and DZRM Radyo Magasin 1278.

The station was originally known as 104.3 Business Radio, playing mostly songs of the ‘big band’ era. They also covered business news that cater to affluent citizens, hence the name.

However, on January 15, Business Radio officially left the airwaves after over 30 years in operation. It was clear to Martin Andanar and the PCOO that the station is losing its luster, with its brand of ‘big band’ music getting out of touch with a modern generation of listeners.

As a result, the station underwent a drastic makeover in order to attract a younger audience. Thus 104.3 FM2 was born, with a playlist mainly dedicated to 80s and 90s music.

The establishment of FM2 became a turning point in the classic hits genre of FM radio in the country. While Retro 105.9 DCG-FM remains the premiere source for throwback songs, the emergence of FM2 could pose a threat to their dominance.

That said, listeners now have two options to find the music that they love and grew up with. Not to mention that both stations operate in the daytime and deep into midnight.

The entry of FM2 is only the beginning for Martin Andanar’s rebuilding of the PBS Group. Next up is an unnamed FM station on the 87.5 band, which is still in the testing stage.

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entertainment, music, Philippines, politics, public affairs, radio, Sports, television

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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