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The End of NU 107 and the Birth of Radyo5 92.3 News FM, Six Years Later

Two Philippine FM radio milestones took place six years ago this week.

The night of November 7, 2010 will forever be remembered by Pinoy rock fans throughout the country, as NU 107 officially signed off for the last time. Many will reminisce its final moments on the air, during which the Eraserheads’ ‘Ang Huling El Bimbo’ was played while listeners raised their lighters outside the NU 107 studios in Pasig.

The following morning, a different radio station took the place of NU 107. 107.5 Win Radio, a brainchild of Manny Luzon, officially made its debut, and its ‘masa’-oriented format was reminiscent of Luzon’s other creation, 90.7 Love Radio.

While Win Radio proved to be popular in its own right, the vacuum left by the demise of NU 107 seemed irreparable. Attempts to revive NU’s tried and tested format online proved futile, and although Jam 88.3 moved to an NU 107-like rock format a few months later, the loss of a beloved and iconic station was hard to overcome.

Today, 107.5 is currently occupied by the adult contemporary-oriented Wish 1075, while Win Radio moved over to 91.5 to merge with former sister station Big Radio. As for the legacy of NU 107, it remains to be seen if Jam 88.3 can equal or surpass the heights that NU reached.

Also on November 8, 2010, another up-and-coming radio station made its debut. TV5-owned Radyo5 92.3 News FM, the first all-news FM radio station in the country, aired its initial broadcast, replacing the youth-oriented CHR station U92.

From day one, Radyo5 92.3 News FM constantly ranked among Metro Manila’s top FM radio stations. It even provided a serious challenge to AM radio giants Super Radyo DZBB 594, DZMM Radyo Patrol 630, and DZRH 666 as far as listenership is concerned.

Unfortunately, the station endured some rough sailing in the years since. The addition of live PBA coverage, the loss of several top-notch talent, the inability to replace and fill vacated timeslots, and the unwillingness to cover important live events severely tested Radyo5’s viability.

With TV5 encountering its fair share of problems, the future of Radyo5 92.3 News FM is now in doubt. It will be up to embattled bosses Gladys Lana-Lucas and Luchi Cruz-Valdes to save the station from further collapse.

Six years after these two significant events on Philippine radio, both NU 107 and Radyo5 92.3 News FM are still remembered by radio listeners all over the country, for contrasting reasons. For one station, it was about making a mark in the industry, while the other was about making a statement in the music-dominated field of FM radio.

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There is Life After RJ Underground Radio 105.9

Captain Eddie (pictured) and Mr. A’s ‘Rock of Manila’ on RJ 100.3 FM is just one of a few RJ originals that recently returned on the airwaves. (Photo credit: RJPlanet.com)

Before DCG-FM brought the retro hits format on DWLA 105.9, there was the all-rock RJ Underground Radio.

Ramon Jacinto’s second FM station ran from 2007 to 2011, and was considered to be the main rival of NU 107, due to their similarities in terms of playlist. The only difference is that UR had an even deeper library of rock songs compared to the more alternative-based approach of NU.

When RJ decided to terminate the lease of the 105.9 frequency, they ventured into the internet as UR Faceradio. Unfortunately, it only lasted for two or three years, before they decided to shut it down.

But just recently, some of RJ UR’s old programs were able to return on the air, albeit on different radio stations.

The iconic program ‘Pinoy Rock n’ Rhythm’ was revived on DZRJ 810 AM late last year. The program’s return came full circle, as it used to air on DZRJ-AM in the midst of Martial Law and the growing popularity of classic Filipino rock music.

While its most famous host Howlin’ Dave (Dante David) did not live to see his program revive on its old home, at least it gave Filipino rock fans a reason to be joyful, as the long-forgotten Pinoy rock hits of the era were once again played on ‘Pinoy Rock n’ Rhythm’.

Another program that was recently brought back from the dead was ‘Rock n’ Roll Machine’, hosted by Cousin Hoagy (Hoagy Pardo). The program was given a new lease on life via Jam 88.3.

Hoagy is no stranger to hosting his programs on an alternative rock-dominated station, having hosted ‘ The Crossroads’ on NU 107. On his return, he brought along a DZRJ original to Jam, and with it, a more classic side to rock and blues music on a primarily alternative station.

And finally, there was the ‘Rock of Manila’ on RJ 100.3 FM. Hosted by legendary DJs Captain Eddie and Mr. A, the program essentially picked up from where DZRJ-AM’s original format left off.

In essence, the return of the ‘Rock of Manila’, like ‘Pinoy Rock n’ Rhythm’, was seen as a way to reconnect fans of the old DZRJ to the current station. As it stands, RJ 100 now plays a more varied pop-oriented playlist, while DZRJ-AM airs mostly English language news programs.

These three programs are proof that there is still life after RJ Underground Radio 105.9. While the station no longer exists, its determination and hard work in promoting rock music in the country will always be remembered.

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The Launch of 107.5 Wish FM

107.5 Wish FM was officially launched on August 10, 2014, in a live concert at the World Trade Center in Pasay. (Logo courtesy of the Progressive Broadcasting Corporation)

It’s a wish come true for DWNU 107.5.

On August 10, Daniel Razon’s Breakthrough & Milestone Productions International, Inc. officially launched 107.5 Wish FM, in a live concert at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. The concert featured bands such as Rivermaya, 6Cyclemind, Sandwich, Imago and Spongecola, as well as artists like Richard Poon, Mitoy Yonting, Jonalyn Viray, Gerald Santos and Jeffrey Hidalgo.

In addition, the management of the station granted ‘wishes’ to various individuals. One such wish involved progeria-stricken Rochelle Pondare, whose wish was to be a recording artist despite suffering from premature aging at 17.

Wish FM also introduced the first-ever mobile FM bus. The said vehicle will travel to different places within Metro Manila, with the intent of promoting the station to its listeners.

The launch of Wish FM was not complete without its staff of DJs. The new station introduced industry veterans Hill Billy Willy and Uncle Harry, as well as DJs Princess, Alice, Jelly Kisses, Flynn Rider, and Russell.

Wish FM is now the third iteration of the 107.5 frequency currently occupied by the Progressive Broadcasting Corporation. The station was previously known as NU 107 (hard rock/alternative format) from 1987-2010, and 107.5 Win Radio (hot adult contemporary format) from 2010-14.

The transition from Win Radio to Wish FM began on June 26, when BMPI took over management of 107.5. This led to the resignation of Manny Luzon as executive vice president of PBC and subsequent relocation of Win Radio to erstwhile sister station 91.5 Big Radio two days later.

Soon after, the unnamed station adopted a broader adult contemporary format, and was initially broadcast as P.S. FM before BMPI decided to launch under the more catchy Wish FM brand.

The rebranded station also relocated from their old booth at AIC Gold Tower in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, to the temporary UNTV Center in Philam Homes, Quezon City. Win Radio, however, will continue to occupy the AIC booth next door.

With that, let’s wish the new station good luck on its first week of broadcast.

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After NU and Win, It’s P.S. on 107.5

107.5 P.S. FM, an easy listening station, will officially launch on August 10. (Logo courtesy of the Progressive Broadcasting Corporation)

For the third time since 2010, DWNU 107.5 has a new name and a new format.

After the hard rock and alternative approach of NU 107, and the masa-based Hot AC style of 107.5 Win Radio, the station has decided to go the softer route.

Starting this August, 107.5 will now be called P.S. FM. A grand launch for the said network will take place on August 10 at the World Trade Center.

107.5 P.S. FM will play mostly easy listening and adult contemporary songs, similar to 96.3 Easy Rock and defunct stations such as Mellow Touch 94.7 and 97.9 Home Radio.

The rebrand of 107.5 actually began on June 26, when Daniel Razon took over the management of the station from Manny Luzon. Win Radio held its final broadcast on that day, while Razon’s Breakthrough and Milestone Productions International, Inc. held a soft launch for the upcoming station at the World Trade Center.

Luzon and Win Radio then moved to the 91.5 frequency, formerly known as Big Radio, on June 27. 91.5 Big Radio was once Win Radio’s sister station before Luzon left 107.5.

Despite the rebrand, the studios of both Win Radio and P.S. FM will remain inside the AIC Gold Tower at Ortigas Center in Pasig City, though plans are in the offing for P.S. FM to move into the current UNTV headquarters in Philam Homes, Quezon City.

Razon’s takeover of 107.5 coincided with the 10th anniversary of UNTV (actually the station’s 13th but Razon and company disregarded any technicality). In addition to the rebrand of 107.5, UNTV broke ground on a new broadcast center on the former Plantersbank branch on Philam Homes, North EDSA, Quezon City, with the future site expected to house UNTV’s studios, equipment and production rooms, as well as the radio booths of both P.S. FM and UNTV Radio La Verdad 1350 AM.

The new station is expected to compete with 96.3 Easy Rock in the easy listening pop format.

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The Real Anniversary of UNTV

The original logo of UNTV, adopted by the current station upon their ‘claimed’ establishment in 2004.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of UNTV, the 24-hour television station managed by Daniel Razon. In reality, however, the station should be celebrating its 13th year in the television industry.

So what happened to the first three years of UNTV’s existence?

Apparently, it was the decision of the station’s management to use 2004 as its starting point. UNTV, as a public service station, took off once ‘Ang Dating Daan’ of Bro. Eli Soriano arrived on the scene, and from that point on, they eschewed the rock video format in favor of news, public affairs and educational programs that complemented ‘ADD’.

The arrival of Daniel Razon further legitimized UNTV’s approach to public service. He established a free bus ride, job fairs, legal counseling and health care services, and other means to serve the masses.

Thus, the station claims that they were established in 2004, and not 2001 as witnessed by older television viewers.

In my opinion, UNTV’s decision does not make sense. If the station claims to have been established in 2004, why did they use the original NU 107-inspired logo from 2001 as its first logo? And why did they choose to keep the UNTV name?

The fact is, their decision to reformat without rebranding and renaming the station is an insult to the legacy of UNTV’s previous rock-oriented era. Having said that, it is hard to imagine that the now public service-oriented UNTV was the same station that once aired rock music videos and independent short films.

Looking back, UNTV’s history from 2001-04 should have been given some respect. The station should be credited for launching the careers of Ramon Bautista, Arvin ‘Tado’ Jimenez, Jun Sabayton and Angel ‘Erning’ Rivero, hosts of the popular reality comedy series ‘Strangebrew’. In addition, UNTV should also be responsible for introducing independent film-making to a mainstream audience, courtesy of the ‘Eat My Shorts’ segments.

But perhaps the most important way to pay tribute to the original UNTV is their promotion of Pinoy rock (and alternative rock music in general) to the mainstream, in the form of music videos. And finally, the station should commend NU 107 DJs Francis Reyes, Zach Lucero and Ron Titular, and musicians Diego Mapa and Jason Caballa, for hosting programs that solely focus on promoting various genres of rock music.

Sadly, those three years in UNTV’s history were nothing but an afterthought. One must wonder if that particular era in UNTV’s history will be given a proper tribute. Only time will tell, but for now, UNTV’s claim of being established in 2004 will continue to hold.

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Radio Programs Deserving of a Comeback

Today’s FM radio landscape is being littered by ‘masa’ stations that play basically old love songs and novelty singles. The proliferation of ‘masa’ stations practically hurt the FM radio industry, which led to audiences tuning out and turn to other means of listening, such as internet radio and digital downloading. But back when the radio industry in the Philippines was full of diversity, several radio programs stand out, and here are the top radio programs that deserved to return on air.

Top 20 @ 12 – Campus Radio 97.1 DWLS FM 

No one does it better than the Triggerman to count down the top 20 songs at the stroke of noon. The program is the top chart show on radio for many years, and even its counterparts can attest to that. While the Top 5 at 5 on Magic 89.9, The Playlist on 99.5 Play FM, and the Countdown Top 7 on Monster Radio RX 93.1 carried on its tradition, no one can still beat the legacy of the Top 20 @ 12, and it deserves a comeback, wherever station it may be.

In the Raw – NU 107

This program introduced us to several upcoming bands that went on to achieve success both in the box office and in the record store. NU 107’s flagship program proved successful that more bands signed up to perform on the program. Unfortunately changes in the radio landscape led to the reformat to ‘masa’-flavored 107.5 Win Radio, but ‘In the Raw”s legacy is secured. So much so that it deserves a radio comeback, preferably on Jam 88.3.

24K Friday – 99.5 RT

It is the oldies show that is more diverse, versatile and enduring than other oldies shows. Not even Friday Madness and Saturday Slam of Magic 89.9, Wave Back Wednesday on Wave 89.1, Monster’s Riot on RX 93.1, and Decade and Turn of the Century on Mellow 947 can attest to the longevity and popularity of 24K on 99.5 RT. The long-running radio program is just as identifiable as ‘The Rhythm of the City’, as it was the staple of the network during its two incarnations, and even during its run as 99.5 Hit FM. Sadly, management wanted to go younger, thus the program had to end its run once 99.5 became Play FM. Nevertheless, the veterans of the network are trying to revive the program as a full-time online radio site, but its heart will always be on terrestrial radio.

Pinoy Rock N’ Rhythm – 105.9 RJ Underground Radio and DZRJ 810 AM

This was the program that made Dante ‘Howlin’ Dave‘ David famous. It introduced listeners to Pinoy Rock and bands such as the Juan dela Cruz Band, Asin, Sampaguita and Freddie Aguilar during the Martial Law years. The program was cancelled once DZRJ-AM became Radyo Bandido after the EDSA Revolution, but was later revived on 105.9 RJ Underground Radio. After Howlin’ Dave’s death in 2008, the program endured through various jocks, but was cancelled again after UR ended operations in 2011. The program was such a classic that it needs a second chance, preferably on RJ 100.3 FM.

Talk Back – 103.5 K-Lite

Before ‘Boys Night Out’ even existed, there was Talk Back on the original incarnation of 103.5 K-Lite. It was basically under the format of ‘talk radio’, featuring listener and DJ interaction. The program may be only running for an hour, but listeners are keen and willing enough to gather information regarding the topic being discussed. Talk Back lasted for much of the original K-Lite’s tenure, but when the current K-Lite debuted in July, Talk Back was not included among the returning programs. It was a radio classic that deserves a revival.

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