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Delamar’s Last Day on RX

Chico and Delamar, a radio institution for over 20 years, is no more after the latter’s decision to depart ‘The Morning Rush’ on Monster RX 93.1. (Photo credit: The Morning Rush Official Facebook)

One of Philippine radio’s icons is taking a leave for good.

Monster RX 93.1 DJ Delamar Arias announced last week that she will leave ‘The Morning Rush’, the show she had been co-hosting with Chico Garcia since 1996. Her departure will leave a big hole on the long-running show, which earned numerous awards and even released three critically acclaimed books based on ‘The Morning Rush’ Top 10 segment.

Delamar’s decision to leave ‘The Morning Rush’ surprised and saddened many of its loyal listeners. After all, her partnership and chemistry with Chico and later with Gino Quillamor led to the immense popularity of the show, and in the process, led to the creation of other rival morning shows, such as Magic 89.9’s ‘Good Times with Mo’.

No reason was given for her departure, but according to Delamar, she had thought about leaving ‘The Morning Rush’ for over a year now. With two children to take care of, Delamar has been coping with both her family life and radio life for a long time now, which may have influenced her decision to leave recently.

Finally, to quell fans’ fears, she clarified that she will not migrate to another country nor work for another radio station. Considering how loyal she was with RX for over 20 years, this was a touching declaration for her.

Delamar’s last day on ‘The Morning Rush was Friday. After that, RX will need to figure out a way to fill a big void left by the popular DJ and mother of two.

For now, though, it will be up to Chico and Gino to hold the fort. Come this Monday, a very different ‘The Morning Rush’ will emanate the airwaves.

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PRR 2015: Philippine Radio in Review

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio.

Our friend MC’s Corner will look back at the events that shaped Philippine radio in 2015. Enjoy.

MC's Corner

2015 is about to end in a few days. But before we bid goodbye to this year, here is a look back at what happened in the world of Philippine Radio. This article will analyze on the Top 10 newcomers, comebacks, reformats & restructures in Metro Manila (and a few in other key cities).

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This list ranges from newcomers to restructures to ventures.

1. 8TriMedia’s Big Move

8tm 8TriMedia Broadcasting

Late last year, 8TriMedia, a media company of Jojo Soliman, began as a blocktimer on DZJV 1458, airing its programs during nighttime (6pm onwards).

Last April, 8TM bought time from DWBL 1242 to air its programs. From 4 programs, they expanded to 7 on this 20-Kw station. The roster is consisted of veteran newscaster Miguel Gil, singers Lloyd Umali & Ima Castro, showbiz columnists Shalala & Rodel Fernando, and former Manila mayor Fred Lim, among others.

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FTT Year 2014 in Review: FM Radio

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on the FM radio stations of Metro Manila, with a recap of the news that occurred within the industry.

105.9 Goes Retro

March saw the launch of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM. The station played nothing but classic hits from as far as the 60s to as close as the early 2000s, and featured radio industry veterans as the station’s voices.

Retro 105.9 became an immediate hit with listeners, so much so that other stations took notice of its emergence. As a result of Retro 105.9’s success, these stations either shortened their throwback programs (e.g. Magic 89.9’s ‘Friday Madness’ and Saturday Slam’), or restricted their playlists to cater towards younger listeners, (e.g. RX 93.1’s ‘Riot Wednesday’).

From Big to Win to Wish

June 26 saw the final broadcast of 107.5 Win Radio, as Daniel Razon purchased the station from Manny Luzon. As a result, Luzon was forced to move Win Radio to 91.5, replacing erstwhile sister station Big Radio.

Then on August 10, Razon’s new station was christened as Wish 1075, an adult contemporary station. Wish immediately filled the void vacated by another recently reformatted station.

Home Radio Becomes ‘Natural’ and Back

The original 97.9 Home Radio signed off for the last time on February 28. Then on March 17, Home Radio Natural!, now with a more ‘masa’ playlist and DJs named after fruits, was launched.

What happened next was a saga of rebrands and format changes within 97.9 that baffled the entire FM radio community. First, ‘Home Radio’ was dropped from its name in July, only to bring it back in November, and then in August, the format changed from Hot AC (‘masa’) to Top 40 Contemporary Hit Radio.

K-Lite’s Endless Rebrands, Plus Wave and Play FM’s Continued Problems

Speaking of a saga of rebrands and format changes, 103.5 K-Lite also endured the same routine as Home Radio Natural!, albeit at a more extreme pace. The station went from CHR to classic hits and back to AC, all within a span of eight months, while constantly shuffling its on-air staff.

The issues surrounding K-Lite were not the only problems that Tiger22 faced this year though. 99.5 Play FM again endured some more changes in its on-air staff, while Wave 891 returned to an R&B/rhythmic format after experimenting with a more hip-hop playlist the previous year.

In Other News…

95.5 Pinas FM officially became an all-OPM station in October, becoming the first and only FM radio station in the country to do so.

As mentioned earlier, Magic 89.9 cut short its broadcasts of ‘Friday Madness’ and ‘Saturday Slam’ in June. This paved the way for the three-hour remix programs that followed both blocks: ‘Slamma Jamma’ (Fridays) and ‘Saturday Night Take Over’ (Saturdays).

RX 93.1 also made a change to its throwback block ‘Riot Wednesday’. Gone is the remix program ‘Riot Remix’, while ‘Back to the 80s’ was replaced by ‘Throwback: The Year That Was’.

And finally, Barangay LS 97.1 was reformatted anew, both in programming and in overall presentation. At the same time, GMA decided to rename its regional radio stations to the Barangay brand, in a reverse response to ABS-CBN’s rebranding of 101.9 to the regional stations’ MOR name.

Outlook

An eventful 2014 should be followed by an even more intense 2015, as the Metro’s FM radio stations try to improve from their previous year’s performances. That said, expect more of these shakeups, rebrands and changes once the new year rolls on.

 

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The Sad Saga of Wave 891 and Natural 97.9

Wave 891 went back to basics in September, beginning with a return to their old logo from 2008 and a revised programming format. (Logo courtesy of Tiger22 Media Corporation)

103.5 K-Lite is not the only radio station that is suffering from an identity crisis.

K-Lite’s sister station Wave 891 and Natural 97.9 are also enduring the same fate. Like K-Lite, both stations have shifted from one format to another while maintaining their on-air identity.

Just last month, Wave 891 decided to reformat anew. While they retained their brand of hip-hop, RnB and urban music, they cleaned house by reverting back to their 2008-13 logo, replacing the likes of King DJ Logan with younger, less experienced voices, and restructuring their program lineup.

The revamp on the Wave camp came as a result of rising costs in both talent and programming. As a result, ‘Tsunamix’, ‘Soul Review Countdown’ and ‘The Rowdy Empire’ were axed in favor of new programs, the schedules of which can be viewed on the official Wave 891 Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Natural 97.9 was off to an inauspicious start. After 14 years as the adult contemporary station Home Radio, they reformatted to a hybrid ‘masa’ and Top 40 sound last March, keeping the Home Radio name in the process.

But amid backlash from once-loyal Home Radio listeners, the management finally gave in to pressure, and dropped the Home Radio name in favor of its slogan Natural. The makeover didn’t stop there however, as they reformatted into a traditional Top 40 sound akin to Magic 89.9, Monster Radio RX 93.1 and 99.5 Play FM, just in time for the arrival of musicians Duncan Ramos and Jimmy Bondoc to the station.

Both Wave 891 and Natural 97.9 now realize how difficult it is to compete in an industry that is gradually declining in quality. With ‘masa’ stations obliterating the landscape one-by-one, it is clear that the more specific genre-based radio stations are at a disadvantage, especially with the popularity of digital downloading and MP3 players.

That said, it will be a more daunting task now for both stations to stay alive in the light of continuous changes within the music industry.

Whether or not their new formats will last in the long term remain to be seen. But for now, listeners should look forward to a different brew on Wave 891 and Natural 97.9.

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103.5 KLite’s Identity Struggles

103.5 KLite underwent a third reformat in over a year, this time with the more recent hits (90s-2000s) dominating its playlist. (Logo courtesy of Tiger 22 Media Corporation)

103.5 KLite’s endless turnover continues.

In what has become a continuing theme, the embattled station decided to change its format again. Under the tagline of ‘Metro Manila’s Official Take Me Back Station’, the playlist now leans more on the 90s and 2000s tunes rather than the current ones.

The format change also featured a revamped cast of DJs. Among the new hires of the station was Fran (Monica Tobias in real life), a long-time DJ on Monster Radio RX 93.1.

As a result, KLite’s new format now resembles that of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM, albeit in a younger tone and in an adult contemporary spin.

It is clear that 103.5 KLite is becoming a shell of its former self. In a competitive industry such as Philippine radio, finding an identity and a niche are crucial ingredients in the viability of a particular station, and so far, KLite has not done that.

In fact, I went as far as dubbing 103.5 under the name ‘Wow, It’s Heart to the Max na KLite’, due to the station’s recent history of format changes. Since Tiger 22 took over management of DWKX 103.5 in the mid-90s, the station endured nine format changes and four different brand names, with the original KLite lasting the longest at 11 years.

On the other hand, sister stations Jam 88.3 and Wave 89.1 basically kept their respective alternative and urban formats with a few tweaks in between, while DWRT-FM 99.5 (as 99.5 RT, 99.5 Hit FM, Campus 99.5 and 99.5 Play FM) maintained their brand of contemporary hit radio despite several changes in identity.

If KLite were to reformat again (assuming that they decided to do the unthinkable after six or seven months), it would be best for them to combine the formats of their previous incarnations (Heart, Max, Wow, original KLite) and integrate into the current KLite.

Under the proposed format, KLite should add a select number of dance tunes (from Max), R&B singles (from Heart), rock songs (from original KLite) and ‘masa’ hits (from Wow) to their trademark adult contemporary playlist. It may be a combustible mix, but this is the best that KLite can do.

But right now, 103.5 KLite is a station that is suffering from an identity crisis. And unless they finally settle with a format that is distinctly theirs, things will only get worse.

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Retro 105.9’s Impact on Other Stations’ Programming

The success of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM forced radio stations like Magic 89.9 and Monster Radio RX 93.1 to tweak their throwback programs. (Logo courtesy of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM)

The rise of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM has other stations take notice.

Within six months of operation, older listeners were constantly hooked to Retro 105.9’s daily serving of classic songs and hidden gems, something that was never done before on Philippine FM radio. The addiction was so great that it forced other stations to tweak their classic programming.

Spearheading the change were the two top stations in the CHR/Top 40 format: Magic 89.9 and Monster Radio RX 93.1.

For years, Magic 89.9’s ‘Friday Madness’ and ‘Saturday Slam’ had essentially the same format, with the 80s mostly reserved for the former, and the 90s for the latter. They even had a non-stop dance remix show for the final three hours.

But last June, everything changed for the station. ‘Friday Madness’ was reduced to only 21 hours, with ‘Jon Tupaz’s 12-inch Mix’ moving from its familiar 9 p.m. slot to noontime. Then Tupaz’s vacated slot was taken over by ‘Slamma Jamma’, which is now the kickoff show for ‘Saturday Slam’.

‘Slamma Jamma”s slot on Saturday night was then used to create yet another remix show, this time centering on the 2000s and beyond and featuring the country’s top club DJs rather than Magic’s own talent. That show, dubbed ‘Saturday Night Take Over’, made its debut that same month.

Over at Monster Radio RX 93.1, their ‘Monster’s Riot’ format remained the same, save for two programs. ‘Back to the 80s’, the flagship program of the said block, finally said goodbye in June after over a decade.

‘Throwback: The Year That Was’ took over ‘Back to the 80s” slot. Hosted by Chico Garcia, ‘Throwback’ now encompasses every era, from the 80s all the way to the 2000s, with a particular year’s hits to focus on.

And just months earlier, ‘Riot Remix’ bade goodbye on air, leaving ‘Remix Fridays’ as the sole remix program on the station. These two changes were the direct result of ‘Monster’s Riot”s changing playlist, emphasizing more towards the 90s and 2000s hits for an increasingly younger audience.

Elsewhere, stations such as Mellow 947 and 99.5 Play FM are now taking a similar path as RX’ s in their throwback programs.

The Philippine radio industry is a constantly changing world. Audiences are getting younger, technologies are advancing, and the music is evolving. The efforts of the Top 40 radio stations are a part of the turnover.

This turnover was definitely the reason why Retro 105.9 DCG-FM was established. As the other stations aim for the youth, Retro 105.9 focused on the older folks who still believe in ‘oldies but goodies’. And indeed it is; no matter how old the playlist is, they are still wonderful to listen to.

Indeed, times are changing in the Philippine radio industry. And for these radio stations, constant transformation is essential to maintaining success.

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