hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

Going National: Thoughts on the Potential of the Unified MOR Brand

ABS-CBN’s MOR (My Only Radio) FM stations are set to become one national entity.

In a recent press conference led by the DJs of the flagship MOR 101.9 (DWRR-FM) Manila station, they announced that MOR 101.9 and its 16 regional affiliates will join forces together to form MOR Philippines. Via ABS-CBN PR:

“Under MOR Philippines, 17 MOR stations will unite to bring listeners from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao one vibe and one sound.”

The press release cited the MOR stations’ strong performance in the ratings as the main reason for the launch of MOR Philippines. For instance, the Manila flagship MOR 101.9 got 33% of the average audience share among all Mega Manila stations in the recent Kantar Media survey.

So what are the possibilities that lie ahead for MOR Philippines? Here are three potential plans for the network.

Simulcast of MOR 101.9 Shows in Other Stations

Simulcasting a Manila radio program in the provinces is nothing new in the Philippines. In fact, on a few occasions, MOR 101.9 sister station DZMM 630 simulcasts some of its newscasts to other ABS-CBN-owned AM stations in the country.

The unified MOR Philippines could also do the same thing on some of its programs. For instance, ‘Dear MOR’ and ‘Heartbeats with Chacha’ are very popular shows in 101.9, and putting them on a nationwide scale via simulcast will only grow their audience further.

Improving the Standard of MOR Provincial Stations

While MOR stations in the provinces performed well in their own right, there is still a need for improvement, especially since MOR Manila is the only one with social media handles throughout. ABS-CBN, being the darlings of social media and the master of constant innovation, could do just that.

Providing each MOR provincial station with its own Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts could help broaden their fanbase further. Not only that, upgrading its facilities and strengthening its reach may also enable MOR to penetrate beyond other far-flung areas.

Same Plugs, Same Playlist

In order to live up to the ‘one vibe and one sound’ motto of MOR Philippines, each of the 17 stations will need to have something in common. This means a more ‘national’ station ID for all stations and a more consistent playlist to boot.

Such a reboot will take some time to develop. But when done correctly, MOR 101.9 and its affiliates should flourish with a much-improved beat.

MOR Philippines will be one hell of a rebuilding project that ABS-CBN’s radio division will have to take. It will be interesting to see how this unification of all MOR stations will pay off, so good luck.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Too Much for TV: Why MPBL’s Sudden Expansion Will Be Burdensome to the League

From the ‘Original 10’ to the ‘New 16’.

A total of 16 new teams will join 10 holdovers for the upcoming MPBL Datu Cup that will start this June. The ‘New 16’ will include seven teams from Metro Manila, four teams from Luzon, one team from Visayas, and four teams from Mindanao.

The new teams are:

  • Bacoor Strikers
  • Basilan Shooters
  • Cebu City Sharks
  • Davao Occidental Tigers
  • GenSan Warriors
  • Laguna Heroes
  • Makati Skyscrapers
  • Mandaluyong El Tigre
  • Manila Stars
  • Marikina Shoemasters
  • Pampanga Lanterns
  • Pasay Voyagers
  • Pasig Pirates
  • Rizal Ankle Breakers
  • San Juan Knights
  • Zamboanga Valientes

They will join the ‘Original 10’ teams that first competed in the MPBL Anta Rajah Cup, all of which are based within Luzon. The tournament, which ran from January to April of this year, was won by the Tanduay Batangas City Athletics.

But with the sudden addition of 16 new teams comes a new dilemma for Arnold Vegafria’s ALV Productions. The producer of the MPBL games on ABS-CBN S+A will now have to deal with increased scheduling, travel and production expenses, although for now the non-Luzon teams will not have any home games due to logistical concerns.

In the upcoming Datu Cup, 25 games will be played among the 26 teams. Since the Philippines does not have regional sports networks similar to those in the U.S., the MPBL will be forced to add more game days and stretch the duration of the tournament so that it will run for almost the entire year (barring holidays and weather disturbances).

This means that S+A, the network partner of the league, may have to deal with near-daily doubleheaders all year round. But with so many new teams and games to air, S+A might not be able to fully commit with the MPBL given its coverage of other events such as the ONE Championship and the ASEAN Basketball League.

Such a long tournament may also take its toll on the fans. While the MPBL managed to sell out games regularly during the Anta Rajah Cup, the Datu Cup could see some semblance of unpredictability attendance-wise, and if the MPBL is not careful in dealing with the lengthy schedule, it could lose some of its audience.

This will be a huge test for S+A, ALV and the MPBL to see if expansion will reap some benefits. It will not be easy for either one of them to deal, so each must play a key role in managing this tournament well.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Thoughts on the MPBL on ABS-CBN S+A

A new Filipino basketball league is about to take off.

The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, founded by Senator Manny Pacquiao and his business manager Arnold Vegafria, will officially launch later tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The league’s maiden event will begin with an elaborate opening ceremony and a game between the Parañaque Patriots and Caloocan Supremos.

The league’s premise is simple: it consists of 10 teams located around Metro Manila and Luzon (with expansion to Visayas and Mindanao to follow soon) and it also aims to give grassroots athletes and aspiring basketball players a chance to showcase their skills and continue their basketball careers. These 10 teams are as follows:

  1. Parañaque Patriots
  2. Caloocan Supremos
  3. Batangas City Athletics
  4. Valenzuela Classic
  5. Navotas Clutch
  6. Muntinlupa Cagers
  7. Bataan Defenders
  8. Bulacan Kuyas
  9. Imus MPBL team
  10. Quezon City MPBL team

A home-and-away format will be followed so that teams can have a chance to play on their home court in front of their fans. In essence, the MPBL is a developmental league that is more similar to the NBA G League and is inspired from the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA).

Let’s face it, the Philippines deserves another basketball league and something had to be done about the surplus of talent. Every basketball player dreams of making it to the PBA but what if there is little to no chance of earning a slot?

Also, what if basketball fans does not have the courage or the resources to watch a basketball game in faraway or big venues? This is exactly what the MPBL does: propagate the game of basketball closer to the fan while giving some undeserved talents a chance to prove their worth.

Not only that, the MPBL will get some much-needed exposure on national television via S+A, the sports channel of ABS-CBN. The said channel’s strong reach should benefit the MPBL a lot as it tries to gain the respect of Filipino basketball diehards.

It will be interesting to see how far this upstart league go. But for those who are worried that the MPBL could pose a threat to the PBA, don’t fret because they are only concerned about giving players opportunities while extending the careers of others.

Games of the MPBL will take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. It will be aired on ABS-CBN’s S+A channel.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

A Message to RTVM: Make the 11:00 A.M. Press Conference Mandatory

‘Mindanao Hour’ at Malacañang Palace has become a regular occurrence of late, with its frequent interruptions in programming becoming an annoyance to viewers. (Photo credit: Presidential Communications Operations Office)

The press conferences at Malacañang Palace have become a regular occurrence.

In the last few weeks, news networks cut their regularly scheduled programming short in order to air these press briefings live. But while they appear important to the average person, many do not appreciate Malacañang’s unexpected interruptions.

Most of these recent press conferences focus on the state of Mindanao, particularly Marawi, during the island’s implementation of Martial Law. The so-called ‘Mindanao Hour’ usually takes place at around or past 11:00 a.m., and is led by presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella and other speakers of interest, most notably AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.

With the crisis in Marawi now reaching its 50th day (and counting), it all seems imperative for Malacañang to make the hourly press conferences mandatory for news organizations to follow. But so far, only the government-owned People’s Television Network, CNN Philippines and the ABS-CBN News Channel are the ones willing to air these events.

The rest? Some either broadcast these proceedings online or do not care at all.

If the Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) were to ask, is it high time to make these press conferences a regular program? Perhaps the time is now right to do so, given the frequency of the event.

However, if the news organizations were to ask, are they prepared to handle a mandatory event such as the Malacañang press conferences? They may agree, but they could make some sacrifices to make the briefings work.

That said, these regular interruptions in programming require the complete cooperation and concentration between RTVM and fellow news outlets. If they choose to make the press conferences mandatory, they must be in the same page to make it work, as long as it does not interfere with their regular programs.

It is nice to get some much-needed updates and information from the most reliable sources. But if they regularly do so in an unexpected manner, then it may become an annoyance to people.

Update: It was announced that ‘Mindanao Hour’ will only take place on Monday and Friday, with written statements issued from Tuesday to Thursday. However, expect Malacañang to issue more press conferences in relation to other concerns of national interest.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

News5 a Non-Factor in Live House, Senate Hearings Last Week

Star witness Edgar Matobato was the center of attention in last Thursday's Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings. Live coverage on TV and radio was provided by a majority of outlets, save for News5. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

Star witness Edgar Matobato was the center of attention in last Thursday’s Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings. Live coverage on TV and radio was provided by a majority of outlets, save for News5. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

It was a busy three days for the Philippines’ top news outfits.

On September 20 and 21, the House of Representative conducted a nine-to-ten hour hearing regarding the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons. Then on September 22, the Senate conducted two hearings, one involving the use of emergency powers to combat traffic, and the other the continuation of the hearings on extrajudicial killings.

In between, President Rodrigo Duterte appeared on live television to address his own concerns regarding the presence of American troops in Mindanao, and the United Nations’ continued intervention in his war against drugs. The President gave his speech in front of the country’s hard-working soldiers in Mindanao.

Then there is the urgent coverage of an apparent hijack inside a Saudia Airlines place at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which turned out to be a false alarm. Finally, a press conference involving Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino was also aired live.

In those three days, the usual suspects were there to cover them all: the ABS-CBN News Channel, DZMM TeleRadyo, CNN Philippines, and the government-owned PTV-4. Surprisingly, the oft-criticized GMA News TV, infamous for their apparent unwillingness to cover various live events, joined in the act as well, alongside DZBB.

The same cannot be said for News5, however. Although they managed to broadcast the live feed of the said events online, TV coverage proved to be mostly non-existent.

Though AksyonTV, now more known for sports coverage than news, covered the first day of the NBP probe, they failed to do so on the second day, in large part to their own sports programming. The network also failed to air the live coverage of the two Senate hearings as well, also for the love of sports.

Which leads to the worst culprit of them all: Radyo5 92.3 News FM. While a majority of the AM radio stations covered the three-day live-a-thon, Radyo5 chose to air their regular programming instead of following the action (Wednesday’s events was excusable because of the PBA).

This act of reprehensible proportions only served to add insult to injury to News5. If losing some of their top personalities is not enough, what more is their increasing unwillingness to cover important live events as it happens.

As it stands now, it is clear that the ship TV5 is steering continues to sink further and further. There is nothing more to say about this, other than the hope that they can start over anew.

To Luchi Cruz-Valdes and Gladys Lana-Lucas, perhaps it’s time for an explanation. This has gone too far, and Kapatid followers deserve better than this.

The House and Senate hearings are expected to continue this week. Still, it remains to be seen whether or not News5 can finally commit themselves to a multi-platform broadcast of these events.

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entertainment, Philippines, television

ABS-CBN, GMA Cancel Each Other’s No. 1 Claims

Once again, ABS-CBN and GMA one-up each other when it comes to television ratings.

For the month of January, both stations staked their own claims as the No. 1 television network in the country. Based on Kantar’s figures, ABS-CBN earned a 42% share over GMA’s 36%, while Nielsen’s figures say that GMA attained a 35% over ABS-CBN’s 33%.

While ABS-CBN claimed to have won the ratings battle in Balance Luzon (45% over GMA’s 36%), Visayas (56% over GMA’s 26%) and Mindanao (48% over GMA’s 31%), GMA’s regional figures showed that the station only won in Urban Luzon (39% over ABS-CBN’s 29%) and Mega Manila (41% over ABS-CBN’s 26%). GMA failed to report on the figures for Visayas and Mindanao because both areas remain a weak point for the network.

On the other hand, ABS-CBN did not report on the figures for the morning and afternoon blocks because of the network’s low ratings in both categories. ABS-CBN claimed victory in the primetime block, while in a separate statement, GMA won in the morning, afternoon and primetime blocks.

As it has been the case for the past several years, the one-upmanship between the two stations continue to be a subject of debate among television fans. But the truth is, even with their claims as the No. 1 station, that doesn’t mean they are better than the other, especially when facilities, revenue, talent and programming quality are considered.

That said, expect the game of wits between ABS-CBN and GMA to continue. At the end of the day, only one can lay claim to being the undisputed No. 1 station in the country.

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