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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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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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House Hearing on NBP Drug Trade Resumes Today. Will News5 Participate?

The hearing on the New Bilibid Prisons drug trade resumes today at the Batasan Pambansa. The focus of the broadcast aspect will be on News5, who only covered the hearings online last September 20-21. (Photo credit: Roices Naguit)

The hearing on the New Bilibid Prisons drug trade resumes today at the Batasan Pambansa. (Photo credit: Roices Naguit)

The House of Representatives’ hearing on the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons resumes today.

The third part of the hearings will feature notable witnesses such as Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos and former intelligence officer Joenel Sanchez. The House has also sent invitations to former Bucor general Franklin Bucayu, former driver of Leila de Lima Ronnie Dayan, and convicted inmate Jaybee Sebastian.

All of the witnesses will be presented by the Department of Justice. On a related note, the alleged sex video of Leila de Lima will no longer be shown at the hearings due to negative criticisms.

Broadcast-wise, the hearings will again be seen live in most major news outlets both online and on traditional media. The question is, is News5 fully committed to carrying the hearings?

It can be recalled that during the House hearings that took place on September 20 and 21, News5 only aired the entirety of the proceedings online, with AksyonTV partially participating and Radyo5 92.3 News FM ignoring it altogether. News5’s non-airing of the hearings on traditional media was heavily criticized, and its apparent ignorance serves as an insult to TV5 in general.

While ‘Relasyon’ and ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ are just some of the most popular shows on Radyo5, preempting the two shows in favor of live hearings could have benefited the Kapatid follower. After all, unlike the ‘Big Three’ in AM that are DZBB, DZMM and DZRH, Radyo5 can be accessible on most mobile devices (e.g. cellphones), thus giving them an advantage.

Still, with due respect to Luchi Cruz-Valdes, Gladys Lana-Lucas, Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, Raffy Tulfo and Niña Taduran, every once in a while they should have given way to important events such as this. Once they show up to host their respective programs in an occasion of utmost importance, it will be an utter disgrace to the community of journalists.

Let’s just hope that News5 finally comes to their senses and air this hearing on their broadcast networks. Otherwise, expect even greater criticism from this embattled outlet.

As for the rest of the stations (e.g. DZMM TeleRadyo, GMA News TV, CNN Philippines, ABS-CBN News Channel), good luck again on this marathon. Every word and movement on this hearing will be very crucial towards delivering the utmost truth.

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FTT Year 2013 in Review: TV5

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2014, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on TV5, which enjoyed a slow start before rebounding with a respectable fourth quarter.

The Positives

After it was suspended for a good part of last year because of the you-know-what, T3: Reload rebounded in 2013 with a more toned-down approach, yet maintaining the same ol’ nastiness that the Tulfo brothers constantly address to the bullies and anomalous officials. This year also saw Radyo5 welcome Ben Tulfo and his ‘Bitag sa Radyo’ program after its departure from UNTV, in the process uniting the three brothers on the same umbrella, with Erwin also co-anchoring ‘Punto Asintado’ with Martin Andanar and Raffy hosting ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ with Nina Taduran.

In September, TV5 hired Noel Lorenzana in an effort to overhaul its programming. The end result were three program blocks: ‘Weekend Do It Better’, ‘Everyday All the Way’, and ‘KBO: Karunungan, Balita at Opinyon’. This alternative programming approach would bear fruit by the end of the year, as several of its programs finished among the Top 15 in the Nielsen Media Research ratings. In addition, the network’s willingness to reach out to a younger audience also paid dividends, as programs such as ‘SpinNation’ were among the top trending topics on Twitter.

TV5 also scored big in its sports coverage, with the recent airings of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup and Governors’ Cup Finals, and the Gilas Pilipinas games at the FIBA Asia Championship earning high viewership figures. And to cap off a resurgent finish to the year, TV5 officially christened the new TV5 Media Center in Mandaluyong City.

The Negatives

Under Perci Intalan, TV5 tried to compete against more established powers GMA and ABS-CBN. However, it only resulted in revenue losses. None of TV5’s own teleseryes (‘Kidlat‘, ‘Undercover’, ‘Cassandra: Warrior Angel’, ‘Misibis Bay’, ‘Enchanted Garden‘, ‘Never Say Goodbye’) even made noise in the teleserye wars, and programs such as ‘Jeepney Jackpot’, ‘Kanta Pilipinas‘, ‘Alabang Housewives’ and ‘Boracay Bodies’ were critical failures.

But perhaps the most crucial reason behind the reformat was ‘Wowowillie‘. The noontime show, a symbol of the Intalan era, finally left the airwaves in October after three years, numerous controversies and massive losses. Host Willie Revillame would ‘retire’ shortly afterwards. In addition, TV5 originals ‘Face to Face’ and ‘Talentadong Pinoy‘ were also cancelled; its hosts Amy Perez and Ryan Agoncillo would secure new contracts with ABS-CBN and GMA respectively after departing.

TV5 also encountered numerous problems with its sports coverage. In May, they cut block-time ties with IBC-13, but were urged to stay until the PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations. As a result the NCAA was forced to air its nightly games on AksyonTV; the long-delayed finals was aired on TV5 in the early afternoon. And to cap off, many PBA fans were angered when TV5 decided to air only the ‘marquee’ games of the ongoing Philippine Cup live during weeknights and Saturdays, leaving the signal-deficient AksyonTV to air the rest.

Outlook

The motto for TV5 this 2014 should be ‘There’s nowhere to go but up’. With Noel Lorenzana spearheading the rebuilding project, TV5 will continue its commitment to programs that are favorable to younger and socially active citizens. And as they open the TV5 Media Center, it appears that things are on the upswing.

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