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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: Other Networks

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 minor TV networks in the Philippines.

Highlights

A transitional period from the Solar News Channel to CNN Philippines got underway in August. Temporarily known as 9TV, the network was launched on August 23 after Antonio Cabangon-Chua purchased the network from Solar Entertainment’s Wilson Tieng; CNN later signed an agreement with Nine Media Corporation to rename the station as CNN Philippines early next year.

Net 25 also unveiled a new look, featuring a logo inspired from an eagle’s wing (in reference to its parent Eagle Broadcasting Corporation). The station then joined forces with sister station INC-TV 49 to cover the events surrounding the centennial of the Iglesia ni Cristo, including the Grand Evangelical Mission at the Philippine Arena that opened the centennial celebrations.

And finally, UNTV broke ground on the new broadcast center that will open in two years. The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the station’s 10th anniversary (13th if the rock music format of UNTV were to be included in its history).

Lowlights

In June, IBC-13 and Asian Television Content Corporation joined forces to launch the ATC @ IBC block, featuring a lineup consisting of telenovelas, lifestyle and travel programs, and sports events. Low ratings and loss of revenue caused the block to be cancelled, though ATC later returned to broadcast the PBA Developmental League’s Aspirants Cup on IBC-13 in late October.

Solar Entertainment’s problems continued after the loss of 9TV to the ALC Group. Weeks after the sale of Solar News to Chua’s group was announced, Solar lost another partner in RMN and BEAM Inc. after the latter ceased its affiliation agreement, resulting in the loss of Jack City from free TV 31 in favor of religious programming and O Shopping block.

PTV-4 also made some drastic steps to improve their programming. While ‘Oh Ja Ryong is Coming’ was launched as planned, ‘K-Pop Idol Search – Pinoy Edition’, a partnership between PTV and HBKOR Inc., remains in limbo, as its launch date remains uncertain.

Outlook

The transition to digital television in a few years represents numerous challenges for the minor networks, some of which involve budgetary concerns. Still this is an obstacle that can be overcome, especially now that Philippine television is headed into a new era.

Both the ATC-IBC and PTV-HBKOR deals are at a crossroads, while Nine Media’s new venture as CNN Philippines is about to get underway. This and more as 2015 begins in earnest.

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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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