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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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Is AksyonTV becoming TV5’s News TV and S+A?

The baffling saga of AksyonTV continues with the addition of Tagalized American action programs and films. Here is Timow’s Turf with more insight on this issue.

Timow's Turf

AksyonTV turns 6 years old today but quickly erodes its standing purpose. AksyonTV turns 6 years old today but it quickly erodes its initial purpose.

SIX YEARS ago today, while viewers are awaiting for GMA News TV’s launch, TV5 jumped in unannounced over Channel 41; AksyonTV, the first news channel on free TV, was born.

They used to air round the clock as a slap of Channel 11’s broken promises to live their mantra, “Oras-oras, alam ko” but karma struck back in 2013 due to cost-cutting measures by the management as well as NTC’s rules and regulations for affiliated free-to-air TV stations.

The identity crisis

The era of being a homogeneous news channel began its decline when AKTV on IBC ended on May 31, 2013 by carrying over their committed sportscasts as they also covered the Sochi Winter Olympics a year after.

Recently, News5’s public affairs programs airing on AksyonTV became merely reruns with no motive to create new episodes. Since last year, EZ Shop…

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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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Examining Chot Reyes’ Plans for TV5

The Chot Reyes era on TV5 is indeed underway.

Upon his ascension to the position of chief executive officer late last year, Chot vowed to make some sweeping changes to TV5. After all, 2016 was a poor year for the Kapatid network, one marked by the ill-fated VIVA partnership, loss of revenue and programming quality, and streamlining of operations.

This year, TV5 has a new set of programs coming up, one that will include the return of the beloved AniMEGA block. However, this is only a portion of a much-needed overhaul, one that will also include sister UHF station AksyonTV and FM radio station Radyo5 92.3 News FM.

More on AksyonTV and Radyo5 in an upcoming article. In the meantime, here is the master plan that Chot Reyes conceived for TV5 this 2017.

AniMEGA

AniMEGA has long been a staple of TV5’s programming, having been aired since the rebrand in 2008. Unfortunately, it has run on and off for the past several years, to the point that anime fans were increasingly fed up by TV5’s constant mishandling of the block.

Its return this year should give anime fans a new reason to watch, with series such as ‘Attack on Titan: Junior High’, ‘Kantai Collection’, ‘Myriad Colors Phantom World’, ‘Knights of Sidonia’ and ‘Uta no Prince-sama Maji 1000%’ airing on TV5 soon. Hopefully TV5 will no longer regret about reviving AniMEGA ever again.

Brillante Mendoza Presents

The dissolution of TV5’s entertainment department forced the network to rely on outside sources. One of them will be director Brillante Mendoza, who will produce several made-for-TV films and mini-series as part of the ‘Brillante Mendoza Presents’ umbrella.

These days, TV5’s entertainment fare is exclusive to digital media under the Digital5 banner (e.g. ‘Kontrabando’, ‘Forever Sucks’). The addition of Brillante Mendoza, however, made it clear that TV5 is not done collaborating on homegrown entertainment fare on TV.

Philippines’ Next Top Model

It had been nearly a decade since ‘Philippines’ Next Top Model’ aired on TV (via RPN-9). This year, TV5 will revive the said modeling reality show, though it remains to be seen if TV5’s version will be a second cycle or a rebooted first cycle.

TV5 is no stranger to the ‘Top Model’ series, having aired ‘Asia’s Next Top Model’ a few years ago. However, PNTM’s status as either a TV5-produced show or a blocktimer remains to be seen, so stay tuned.

More Tagalized American Series

Finally, TV5 will air new American action series, which will obviously be dubbed in Filipino. Two of them, ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Quantico’, are expected to air during the first quarter of this year.

Of course, TV5 will still air other ongoing series such as ‘Smallville’, ‘Supernatural’ and ‘The Walking Dead’. But for 2017, the women of ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Quantico’ will be in charge.

TV5 is expected to unveil more game-changing programs in the months to come. But at this point, the pieces are now firmly in place, as TV5 vows to be a different station this 2017.

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What If: Action Movies and Programs on AksyonTV?

TV5's Tagalized American action films and programs could give AksyonTV a little boost given the latter's irrelevance of late. (Photo courtesy of TV5)

AksyonTV’s airing of Tagalized American action movies and shows from TV5 could give S+A a run for its money, if they want to proceed with this plan. (Photo courtesy of TV5)

Action movies and canned shows on AksyonTV? Why not.

Much has been said about AksyonTV’s increasingly declining quality in the six years since its debut. From its glory days as the first 24/7 all-Filipino news channel, to the current channel that lacks any identity whatsoever, the short but informative history of AksyonTV has been well-documented.

But other than the occasional outpouring of live or tape-delayed sporting events, not to mention a few surviving Radyo5 and TV5 simulcasts, AksyonTV has nothing else to offer. Every day, the station fills its vacant hours with infomercials from EZ Shop, Shop Japan and Shop TV, as well as defunct News5 original programs, much to the dismay of this writer.

As time went by, many proposals to reinvent the channel were made, with the rebrand of AksyonTV into the all-sports channel AKTV (the former name of the IBC-13 blocktimer) the most prominent of all. But like all proposals, any hope of materializing could fall into deaf ears.

If the proposal of turning AksyonTV into an all-sports channel doesn’t work out, perhaps a more radical programming change is needed for this seemingly moribund channel to survive. And that means bringing in a piece of TV5’s entertainment shows to AksyonTV.

With so many vacant hours to offer during idle periods, AksyonTV could use these times to air Tagalized foreign movies under the MovieMax sa AksyonTV banner. Modeling it after S+A’s Action Movie Zone block with an emphasis on action and superhero films is a more likely scenario given AksyonTV’s possible rivalry with ABS-CBN’s sister channel.

AksyonTV could also use this time to reair TV5’s canned foreign programs, if not add new titles. Considering that shows such as ‘Supernatural’, ‘Arrow’, ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Teen Wolf’ fall into the action category, this seems like a perfect fit as well.

These are just possible scenarios, but if AksyonTV wants to survive, these shows could help them do so. After all, no one wants to see a channel that is ‘walang kwenta’ and irrelevant in this day and age.

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