hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs, talk show

FTT Year 2013 in Review: FM Radio

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 the FM radio stations of Metro Manila, with the emphasis on the reformatted stations and DJ lineups.

Reformatted Stations

In July, two FM stations started airing under new on-air identities. ABS-CBN’s DWRR 101.9 rebranded from ‘Tambayan’ to ‘MOR: My Only Radio for Life’, in the process adopting the brand of its regional FM networks. While they still air masa-based music, they started to adopt more love advice shows in the vein of DZMM‘s ‘Dr. Love with Jun Banaag’, which other stations soon adopt.

Advanced Media Broadcasting‘s DWKX 103.5 reformatted from ‘Wow FM’ back to ‘K-Lite’. The rebrand came as a result of the departure of its lead DJ Mr. Fu.  Upon returning to the ‘K-Lite’ brand, they decided to adopt the station’s late-1990s adult contemporary format as opposed to the rock-laden format of later years. Veteran DJs Mondo Castro (from NU 107), Carl ‘McFly’ Guzman (original K-Lite) and Alex ‘Max Speed’ Gotinga (Magic 89.9) would form the core of the new ‘K-Lite’, alongside rookies and other established voices.

DJ Lineup Changes

Magic 89.9 created a huge roar from the radio community when they suspended ‘Good Times” Mo Twister, Tin ‘Suzy’ Gamboa and Noelle Bonus in June for an alleged sex-related joke. As a result, Sam Oh and Gibb from 99.5 Play FM filled in to host ‘First Thing in the Morning’. Mo would later return from suspension last December to co-host the program.

Meanwhile Noelle was moved to Play FM to co-host ‘The Playground’ with Nikko Ramos, while Suzy was reinstated by Magic to host ‘The Big Meal’ with CJ ‘the DJ’ Rivera. Suzy was moved because of Riki Flores’ transfer to ‘PopStop’. Riki was moved to pair with Andi Manzano after Jessica Mendoza left Magic for her post-graduate studies in Boston.

Other notable DJ departures include RX 93.1’s Jinri Park (studies), Play FM’s Tim Yap (other commitments), and Jam 88.3’s Julz Savard (vocalist for Save Me Hollywood). And as mentioned, defunct Wow FM’s Mr. Fu resigned before the reformat, eventually finding a new home on 106.7 Energy FM.


The FM radio landscape for 2014 will be more or less predictable. Some stations will reformat, while notable faces will either move to other stations or depart entirely. And the worst part of it all is that 90.7 Love Radio and 101.1 Yes FM will continue to boast their claim as the top two stations. Nevertheless, the incoming year should bring hope and prosperity for radio stations trying to reach out to a specific audience, and to maintain the kind of music they play.


country, news, Philippines, politics, radio

More News on Philippine FM Radio

Before I start this post, I would like to offer a prayer to families affected by the flooding caused by TS Maring and the Habagat. Hope you’re safe, and prepare for any possible disaster.

The past few days have seen rain pour heavily into the streets of Metro Manila, causing floods and cancellation of classes and office work. This heavy rain was caused by the Southwest monsoon, exacerbated by the non-movement of Tropical Storm Trami (Maring). Throughout Monday and Tuesday all broadcast outlets were on hand to inform the people of the latest updates with regards to the flooding, evacuation of affected families, storm movement, and cancellation of classes, government and private employment, and live events.

Radio is one of the oldest forms of broadcast media, and still one of the most important. In the Philippines the demarcation between AM and FM radio is apparent; AM is for news, FM is for music. However, that divide was broken in 2010 when TV5 launched the first all-news FM station: Radyo5 92.3 News FM. In a changing FM landscape where ‘masa’ stations were growing at a fast pace, Radyo5 stood tall from the rest. And it is clear that other AM stations were envious of TV5’s daring approach.

The slogan ‘Iwanan Mo Na ang Lumang Tunog ng AM!’ (Leave the Old Voice of AM!) tells you how different Radyo5 is from AM counterparts DZMM Radyo Patrol 630 and Super Radyo DZBB 594. The sound is clearer, the reception is better, and the reach is wider, typical of other FM stations. In only its first year on the air, Radyo5 became the fourth-most listened FM station in Metro Manila, and is also the top news radio station among motorists.

The daring approach of TV5 in adopting the news format to FM radio proved effective. With the music on ‘masa’ stations becoming cheaper, repetitive and less entertaining, I hope that more stations adopt the news format on FM. With that in mind, there is hope that ‘DWRR Radyo Patrol 101.9’ and ‘Super Radyo DWLS 97.1’ will be on the air in the near future.

entertainment, hits, music, Philippines, radio

Love Radio and Yes! FM Don’t Deserve to Be No. 1

Love Radio and sister station Yes! FM claims to be the top two radio stations. However, they do not deserve be in such regard due to their unfair competitive advantage.

For the past decade or so, Manila Broadcasting Company‘s 90.7 Love Radio reigned as the No. 1 radio station in Metro Manila. More recently in their station IDs, they promoted 90.7 Love Radio and 101.1 Yes! FM, both of whom were owned by MBC, as the top two radio stations in Metro Manila. This was according to various surveys conducted in the past two years.

But why they have been able to reign atop the surveys the past few, if not many, years? Many point out to its clear and polished sound, toilet humor, high power and reach, and an automated playlist consisting of old classic rock love songs, novelty hits, and OPM favorites. While rival 102.7 Star FM started the ‘masa’ station craze in the late 90s, it was 90.7 Love Radio and 101.1 Yes! FM who took it to the next level, prompting several stations (e.g. 97.1 Barangay LS FM, 107.5 Win Radio) to embrace the ‘masa’ concept as well.

Despite the survey that stake their claim, I believe neither 90.7 Love Radio nor 101.1 Yes! FM deserved to be in the top two. Both stations typify the cheapskate radio station: playlists that have fewer songs and are played repeatedly, and DJs and on-air characters that often pull out various forms of cheap humor. In addition, they were in the top two unfairly because of their high broadcast reach, something that other stations could not afford. In short, for all their claims as the No. 1 and No. 2 stations, they are still classified only for the ‘masa’ audience, and that their unfair advantage should not be taken for granted.

The real and sophisticated radio stations in Metro Manila today play more recent hits on a daily basis, and then reserving classic songs on specific days only. On some points of the day DJs talk about topics that interest people, and oftentimes interact with them through an open forum. Sometimes promos announcing an upcoming film, event or prize are included as well. Such radio stations include Magic 89.9, 99.5 Play FM, Monster Radio RX 93.1 and Mellow 94.7, among other stations.

Unfortunately, some radio stations reformat because of loss of audience share and the need for more advertising money. This was the case when NU 107 became Win Radio when it became apparent that a rock-oriented radio station cannot compete anymore due to loss of operating funds and competition from other sources. There is a reason why several radio stations became ‘masa’: new technologies such as the internet, MP3 downloads and the iPod, threatening the radio business as a whole.

In the end, it is hard to prevent the proliferation of ‘masa’ stations in an attempt to undermine the so-called ‘success’ of Love Radio and Yes! FM. Still, as long as there are a dedicated number of radio stations playing music that caters to a higher class of society, radio’s balance of power will be tipped on an even scale.


Philippines, radio, talk show

Another Suspension for Mo Twister

Mo Twister’s radio show ‘Good Times’ was suspended for five months after an episode which he talked about a sex-related topic.

For the past week, Magic 89.9 listeners were tuning in every morning to Sam Oh and Gibb, and not the familiar voice of Mo Twister. This was because Mo’s show ‘Good Times‘ was suspended for five months due to an episode in which he and co-host Suzy talked about a sex-related topic. For many listeners, the suspension was no surprise. After all, Mo had been involved in a lot of controversies over the years, most notably the Charice joke and the Rhian Ramos incident that forced him to settle in the U.S. for good. And this recent suspension was no different from the others in the past.

Honestly, Mo should carefully watch his language and his thoughts. As an avid listener of Magic, I would always listen carefully to what he says. However, for some reason I do regret listening to Mo in the morning because of the recent controversies he has endured, not to mention sexual innuendo and other unnecessary language unfit for a morning show. Compare that to Monster Radio RX 93.1‘s ‘The Morning Rush‘ with Chico, Delamar and Gino. That show is always critically acclaimed because they engage in topics that even children can relate to, their language is always subdued, and they add a more serious yet humorous flavor to their program. Mo’s language is not what morning listeners would like to hear.

Moving on, Magic will have five months worth of Sam Oh and Gibb, who were no strangers hosting a morning show during their time on the defunct 99.5 RT‘s ‘Disturbing the Peace’. I think listeners will like the duo; they were equally funny, but at the same time, they are careful and serious, which morning shows are supposed to be given the presence of children going to school. So while Mo is out, why not take a listen to Sam Oh and Gibb. As for Mo, he should take this lesson to heart: be careful running your mouth on air.

hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

Missing the Old Campus Radio

These days, the 97.1 frequency on the FM band is playing cheesy old love songs, Filipino Hot Adult Contemporary singles, and even novelty dance hits. But back in the day, there was Campus Radio, dubbed as the ‘No. 1 Pop Music Station in Metro Manila’.

Any old-time radio listener would remember the voices of John Hendrix, The Triggerman, Braggy, Master T, Joe Spinner and Jimmy Jam. They were the staples behind Campus Radio 97.1 WLS-FM, whose frequency is owned by the GMA network. For many years, Campus Radio played Top 40 pop, rock, OPM and RnB songs daily; the then-current songs on weekdays, and the classic singles on Sundays. They were also responsible for the longest-running chart show on Philippine radio, the Top 20 @ 12, which aired six times a week at noon, with a weekly countdown on Sundays and a year-end countdown before midnight of New Year’s Day.

Other Campus Radio trademarks include: ‘Other People’s Music’, a two-hour informative program on Saturday nights featuring interviews from various artists, ‘Campus Radio Aircheck’, an annual talent search and training ground for future jocks, ‘Campus Radio Movie Master’, featuring the then-latest movie releases, ‘RetroJam’, a Sunday format focusing exclusively on songs from years past, and ‘Front.Center’, a monthly feature on a specific artist.

Good thing DJ John Hendrix brought along a radio plug for ‘Other People’s Music’. Here is the plug from YouTube below.

Unfortunately, the Campus Radio era came to an abrupt end on Valentine’s Day 2007, when GMA management decided to change it to the popular yet criticized Hot AC format that eventually became Barangay LS. Primarily due to the heated rivalry with ABS-CBN, whose FM radio station DWRR Tambayan 101.9 already uses the format, GMA decided it was better to match its rival with a similarly formatted radio station. Thus the Campus Radio was no more. And even though it was briefly revived on the 99.5 DWRT frequency, it was at DWLS 97.1 where it enjoyed its greatest success.

While Campus Radio won’t be back anytime soon, the memories would live on ‘Forever!’, as its tagline suggests.

news, Philippines, public affairs, radio

Orly Mercado Returns

If you were listening to Radyo5 92.3 News FM this week, you were surprised to hear a familiar voice on the airwaves. The voice I’m referring to is that of Orly Mercado, who returns to broadcasting thanks to his new morning program “Orly Mercado, All Ready!”

For those not familiar with Mercado, he once served as Defense Secretary under President Joseph Estrada. He also served as a senator during the presidencies of Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos. As a broadcaster, he was one of the hosts of the longest-running public service program “Kapwa Ko Mahal Ko” on GMA 7, among other roles. Overall, he logged over 40 years behind the mic, starting as a student DJ for the RBS (predecessor to GMA 7).

“Orly Mercado, All Ready!” will replace the timeslot vacated by Neil Ocampo’s “Todo Balita”. Ocampo had been on-leave since April. Like “Todo Balita” before, Mercado’s new program will go head-to-head against fellow news and commentary programs DZMM‘s “Kabayan: Kapangyarihan ng Mamamayan, Balita at Talakayan” and DZBB’s “Saksi”. Unfortunately, television viewers would not have a chance to watch Mercado on television, as AksyonTV airs a simulcast of the TV5 morning show “Good Morning Club”.

We all wish Mercado luck in his return to broadcasting.