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Time’s Up: Luchi Cruz-Valdes Must Retire The Mic

No one is as hard-working and determined as Luchi Cruz-Valdes.

The head of News5 is a do-it-all woman. Behind the scenes, she supervises the overall operations of the department, and on-screen, she anchors important programs and newscasts to occasionally critical acclaim.

Unfortunately for LCV, the ongoing situation within News5 is unbearable. Many of the department’s mainstays have departed for either greener pastures or a life of privacy, and the inability to find immediate replacements both within and outside the organization has put tremendous pressure on Luchi herself.

To make matters worse, Luchi was placed in the hot seat herself a number of times. There were rumors that she would step down as the head of News5, and yet these were put to rest.

And coming off recent surgery, Luchi’s on-camera work was significantly reduced of late. For all intents and purposes, she has relinquished her hosting job on ‘Relasyon’ in favor of the former head of Radyo5 Gladys Lana-Lucas, and her appearances on ‘Aksyon Prime’ and ‘ReAksyon’ were increasingly infrequent.

Still, TV5 has trust on Luchi Cruz-Valdes as far as on-screen roles are concerned. Which is why starting this Saturday, they gave the head of News5 a weekly debate series called ‘Manindigan’.

Airing every Saturday at 7:30 p.m., ‘Manindigan’ is an hour-long series that will tackle some of the issues that affect the country today. The series is essentially ‘ReAksyon’ in a forum format.

While ‘Manindigan’ will only be aired for a short period of time, it is clear that the on-air side of Luchi Cruz-Valdes is waning in significance. Last Monday, she anchored TV5’s coverage of the State of the Nation Address, but working the coverage by herself (with a little help from Ed Lingao) is career suicide considering her age and increased pressure of her job.

Perhaps the time has finally come for Luchi to retire the microphone and leave the anchor’s chair altogether. It would be better for her to focus on behind-the-scenes work full-time, something that contemporaries Ging Reyes, Marissa Flores and Armie Jarin-Bennett pride on doing.

No offense, but with News5 in must-improve or else mode, Luchi should focus on being the head of News5 instead of doubling as an on-screen talent at the same time. A commitment to restore News5 to its former glory is a must for her at this point.

Stepping aside may be the hardest thing to do, but for Luchi Cruz-Valdes, the time has finally come. Time to hand the reins over to younger journalists who are willing to gain experience in every way possible.

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News5 Needs a Revamp (Part II)

The problems surrounding TV5 has also spread to the news department.

In Part I, FTT discussed the various dilemmas that surrounded News5 in recent months. These problems range from questionable personnel decisions and content criticisms to programming issues.

Now on Part II, we discuss what steps are needed to resuscitate News5 from its doldrums. These solutions may be risky for the division, but in the long term, it should help them regain their former glory.

With that, here are the following ways to fix News5:

Hire and Promote Younger Reporters

News5 really needs some young blood to shore things up. With that in mind, an aggressive recruiting plan is needed to acquire younger journalists (preferably fresh graduates from mass communications and journalism courses) who could help them in the long term.

Of course, it would be best to avoid the so-called ‘entertainers masquerading as journalists’ (EMAJ) at all costs. If so, demote them to reporting showbiz news.

In addition to that, they may need to promote some of their long-time reporters to anchor the ‘Aksyon’ newscasts on a regular or a temporary basis. Reporters like Maricel Halili, Renz Ongkiko, Maeanne Los Baños, France Noguera, Carla Lim and Trish Roque could get some airtime as anchors in the near future.

However, that will only be possible if News5 does something drastic to ‘Aksyon’. Which leads to this much-needed solution.

Reformat ‘Aksyon’ (save for ‘Aksyon Tonite’)

For the most part, ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ and ‘Aksyon Prime’ are similar to the newscasts of ABS-CBN and GMA: mostly sensationalized in nature. This is contrast to ‘Aksyon Tonite’, whose content is more on hard news.

Getting rid of the sensationalized reports and focusing more on hard news should be a priority for News5 in restructuring the ‘Aksyon’ brand. Of course, a personnel shuffle is needed as well; after all, no one wants to be the next Raffy Tulfo, who turned ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ into a ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ in newscast form.

Find someone equal to ‘Aksyon Tonite”s Ed Lingao and Cheryl Cosim, and a more reenergized ‘Aksyon’ newscasts are ready to go. But if TV5 wants to make their news available 24/7, they need to go to this route.

Establish an All-News Channel on Cignal

AksyonTV’s glory days are long gone. The former 24-hour all-Filipino news channel is now airing more sporting events than ever, and TV5 may need to give its sister channel a much-needed rebrand (preferably renaming it as the Sports5 Network or AKTV).

A news channel is still a necessity though. But instead of airing it on free TV like before, what TV5 needed now is a Cignal exclusive news channel, complete with the simulcasts of all Radyo5 programs, ‘Aksyon’ newscasts and public affairs shows from TV5 (don’t confuse it with Bloomberg TV Philippines, as it is strictly a business news channel).

In order to do that, however, more shows on Radyo5 and TV5 are needed. Which leads to:

Create More Shows on Radyo5 and TV5

Radyo5 92.3 News FM may be the only news-oriented FM station in the country, but its programming is still a far cry from that of AM radio counterparts DZBB and DZMM. With that in mind, the station needs to add more programs in addition to hiring new hosts.

The same can be said to TV5, whose only active public affairs shows are ‘Alagang Kapatid’ and ‘ReAksyon’. Adding new shows could take a while, however, since the network is busy managing the coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

These solutions should help News5 regain its former glory. But rebuilding is not easy, however, so all it needs is patience, perseverance and faith to get the job done.

News5 has a potential to be a great news organization. However, with all the problems they countered, it’s easy to see why they’re still lagging behind the others.

Hopefully they do this right as soon as possible. The fate of News5 is on the management’s hands.

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News5 Needs a Revamp (Part I)

The problems surrounding TV5 has also spread to the news department.

Within two months, News5 lost two of its regular anchors to the government of President Rodrigo Duterte. In early June, Martin Andanar was appointed secretary of the Presidential Communication and Operations Office, then just recently, Cherie Mercado accepted the post of spokesperson by the Department of Transportation.

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The task given to me by President Rody Duterte, to bring our government media agencies back to its good old glory days, is colossal. This requires a clear vision, 100% dedication, extraordinary capacity, political will and the grit to fight inefficiencies caused by corruption. Difficult as it may be, I wholeheartedly accepted the challenge to serve our 16th President and our Country. Now, I'm in the process of hiring the best, the brightest and the boldest. My friends, I ask for your fervent prayers and support because the road ahead will be long and rough. Thank you President Digong for the full trust and confidence. It is truly an honor to be in your cabinet. Like what President Digong always says again and again, "STOP". Yes I will do everything to STOP corruption at the Presidential Communication and Operations Office. That's my commitment. #DU30 #Stop #ChangeIsComing

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Martin had been the face of News5 for many years, having served as an anchor and executive, as well as the voice of Radyo5 92.3 News FM. On the other hand, Cherie was a holdover from ABC 5 during the ownership of Tonyboy Cojuangco, having been employed by the network for over a decade.

Ironically, their departures were felt by the Tulfo brothers themselves. Since Martin’s departure, Erwin Tulfo has become the sole host of his Radyo5 program ‘Punto Asintado’, while brother Raffy remained the lone anchor of ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ following Cherie’s departure (though at times he was paired with usual weather reporter Marga Vargas).

In addition, Cherie’s radio program ‘Trabaho Lang’ was cancelled following her resignation. That said, it was clear to News5 that their decision to leave for the government is a bitter pill to swallow.

But their departures are not the only reason why News5 is at an all-time low. Programming, content and questionable personnel decisions have become the Achilles’ heel of the division for a long time, and it dragged TV5 further down once they underwent a total housecleaning.

For instance, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’, the newscast anchored by Raffy Tulfo, borders more towards sensationalized news. In fact, the show goes as far as to be considered a ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ in newscast form, mainly due to the inclusion of the ‘Itimbre Mo Kay Tulfo’ segment.

In contrast, ‘Aksyon Tonite’ anchors Ed Lingao and Cheryl Cosim have done a great job minimizing sensationalized news in favor of national issues. That said, it’s hard to fathom why ‘Aksyon”s other newscasts failed to follow the example set by ‘Aksyon Tonite’.

Radyo5 92.3 News FM also has its own share of problems, due to the presence of vacant timeslots. The fact that they lacked any capable personnel to host its programs is a clear sign that the only news-centric FM radio station in the country is on the rocks.

The lack of public service and commentary programs on TV5 are also glaring. The only such programs that currently air on TV5 right now are ‘ReAksyon’ and ‘Alagang Kapatid’, with ‘History with Lourd’ and ‘Public Atorni’ airing reruns.

Their hiring of ‘EMAJs’ (entertainers masquerading as journalists) have also affected the division. Let’s face it, no one would want guys like Jun Sabayton, Lourd de Veyra, Grace Lee and Shawn Yao to man the network’s news coverage.

Finally, AksyonTV’s decision to end most of its Radyo5 simulcasts in favor of blocktimers such as ‘EZ Shop’, ‘Shop TV’ and ‘Shop Japan’ is a clear sign that News5 is no longer intent on sustaining the embattled channel. That said, AksyonTV could be on the verge of becoming a predominantly sports channel in a similar vein as ABS-CBN Sports+Action.

So what urgent plans are needed for News5 to regain its old glory? Find out this Thursday on Part II of this article.

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‘Showbiz Konek na Konek’ Premieres, Plus TV5’s Revamped Schedule

‘Showbiz Konek na Konek’ premiered last Monday, leading to some changes in TV5’s programming lineup. (Photo credit: TV5 via Interaksyon.com)

A brand new weekday showbiz talk show paved the way for a revamped programming lineup on TV5.

The new show in question, ‘Showbiz Konek na Konek’, premiered last Monday morning. The show is hosted by IC Mendoza, Bianca King and MJ Marfori, and covers the latest showbiz news in a more interactive and upbeat manner through the use of social media.

With ‘Showbiz Konek na Konek’ making its debut, TV5 decided to make some changes to their programming lineup. The new weekday lineup is as follows:

5:00 am – Aksyon sa Umaga
6:30 am – Higglytown Heroes
7:30 am – Doc McStuffins
8:00 am – Teacher’s Pet
8:30 am – Hi-5
9:00 am – Transformers: Animated
9:30 am – Rockman.Exe Beast
10:00 am – Happy Wife, Happy Life
10:30 am – Healing Galing sa TV5 (M & F)/Solved na Solved (T-TH)
11:00 am – Showbiz Konek na Konek
11:30 am – Aksyon sa Tanghali
12:00 pm – Movie Max 5 (x2)
3:45 pm – Hi-5
4:15 pm – PSL/PBA/Movie Max 5
6:15 pm – Aksyon
7:00 pm – PBA/Movie Max 5
9:00 pm – Wattpad Presents
9:30 pm – The Vampire Diaries (last day tonight)/Supernatural (starting tomorrow)
10:15 pm – Extreme Series
10:45 pm – Aksyon Tonite
11:15 pm – ReAksyon
11:30 pm – KBO block reruns
12:00 am – Shop Japan

Programs written in bold were the ones whose schedules changed from last week.

Notice the absence of ‘T3: Enforced’ on the weekday lineup? It turns out that the Tulfo brothers’ public service program will now compete against ABS-CBN’s ‘Failon Ngayon’ and GMA’s ‘Imbestigador’ starting this Saturday at 4:30 p.m, and is expected to morph into an investigative documentary in the mold of prior Tulfo brothers’ programs.

As for the rest of Saturday’s lineup, here they are as follows:

4:30 am – Shop Japan
5:30 am – Family Matters
6:30 am – Kakaibang Lunas
7:00 am – Kim Possible
7:30 am – Little Einsteins
8:00 am – Powerpuff Girls
8:30 am – Ben 10 Omniverse
9:00 am – Magical Doremi
9:30 am – Sword Art Online
10:00 am – Fushigi Yuugi
10:30 am – Street Fighter
11:00 am – Movie Max 5 (x2)
2:00 pm – YHTube
2:30 pm – PSL/Movie Max 5
4:30 pm – T3: Enforced
5:00 pm – PBA/Movie Max 5
7:00 pm – Tropa Mo Ko Unli Spoof
8:00 pm – 2 1/2 Daddies
9:00 pm – Everybody Hapi
10:00 pm – Rising Stars
11:00 pm – Kaya/Yaman ng Bayan
12:00 am – Shop Japan

TV5’s Sunday lineup will remain unchanged. However, as part of a shared agreement with ABS-CBN, GMA and Solar Sports in the upcoming Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, TV5 will air a weekly special showcasing the best fights of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at 12:30 p.m., leading up to the main bout on May 3.

As for ‘Showbiz Konek na Konek’, its entry was timely, as ABS-CBN’s ‘The Buzz’ went on hiatus the day before. Viewers can only hope that ‘Showbiz Konek na Konek’ will fill the void and attract younger and more socially conscious individuals with its fresh and upbeat approach.

‘Showbiz Konek na Konek’ airs weekdays at 11:00 a.m. on TV5.

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For TV5, It’s All About ‘Aksyon’

On July 21, TV5 will officially integrate their newscasts under the ‘Aksyon’ banner. The newscasts will be titled ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’, ‘Aksyon Prime’, and ‘Aksyon Tonite’.

But prior to the relaunch, several other TV5 programs and entities have used the word ‘Aksyon’ since the brand was launched in 2010.

Aksyon JournalisMO

The first late night news program of TV5 following the sale to Manny V. Pangilinan, ‘Aksyon JournalisMO’ was first anchored by Martin Andanar, Cherie Mercado and Jove Francisco. Andanar was later replaced by Atty. Mike Templo, followed by Paolo Bediones. The newscast ran from October 25, 2010 to February 17, 2012, and features online opinions of citizens regarding various national issues.

Aksyon Solusyon

The public service program has been airing on Radyo5 92.3 NewsFM since 2011, and was first hosted by Cheryl Cosim and Richard Gordon. Cosim was later replaced by Amelyn Veloso, before current host Alex Tinsay took over the program in late 2012. Tinsay is now the sole host of the program after Gordon’s departure in early 2013. ‘Aksyon Solusyon’ also airs on AksyonTV.

AksyonTV

Named after the flagship newscast, AksyonTV was launched on February 21, 2011. Once hailed as the first 24-hour free TV news network in the Filipino language, AksyonTV later cut its operational hours due to rising costs. The network currently airs a mix of Radyo5 programs, ‘Aksyon’ newscasts, News5 programs, and Sports5 events.

Aksyon Weekend

The weekend edition of ‘Aksyon’, it first aired on April 10, 2010. The original anchors were Andanar, Mercado and Francisco, all of whom would go on to anchor ‘Aksyon JournalisMO’. Amelyn Veloso, Naomi Dayrit and Maricel Halili later took over Mercado’s vacated seat.

Initially an early evening newscast, it was moved to late nights on October 10, 2010 to make way for ‘Willing Willie’. Twenty days later, Atty. Templo replaced Andanar, after which the newscast was renamed ‘Aksyon Sabado’ and ‘Aksyon Linggo’. They were later replaced by ‘Pilipinas News Weekend’ in August 2012.

‘Aksyon Weekend’ was revived on January 16, 2013, with Raffy Tulfo and Grace Lee as anchors. Unlike the previous version, however, ‘Aksyon Weekend’ only aired on Saturday afternoons, mainly due to sports coverage and weekend entertainment programs. The revived ‘Aksyon Weekend’ ended its broadcasts on July 12, 2014.

Aksyon Sports

Hosted by Dennis Principe and Ron delos Reyes, ‘Aksyon Sports’ has been airing on Radyo5 92.3 News FM since 2011. The program also aired on AksyonTV, but was later cancelled. ‘Aksyon Sports’ solely focuses on recaps of sports events and discussions regarding various sports issues.

Aksyon Breaking and Related Bulletins

‘Aksyon Breaking’ (AksyonTV), ‘Aksyon Alert’ (TV5) and ‘Aksyon News Update’ (Radyo5 92.3 News FM) serve as the main news bulletins of News5. While ‘Aksyon Alert’ and ‘Aksyon News Update’ continue to air, ‘Aksyon Breaking’ was cancelled on July 13, 2014, in anticipation of a reformat.

Regional Aksyon

TV5 affiliates in Cebu and Davao air a regional version of ‘Aksyon’. ‘Aksyon Bisaya’ was first launched on July 18, 2011, after TV5 launched its Cebu affiliate. ‘Aksyon Dabaw’ was then launched on May 5, 2014, serving viewers of TV5 Davao.

Reaksyon

Formerly a stand-alone news and commentary program, it will now serve as a segment for ‘Aksyon Prime’ beginning July 21. Luchi Cruz-Valdes will continue to host the segment in addition to her anchoring duties on ‘Aksyon Prime’.

InterAksyon.com

The official news website of TV5, InterAksyon.com was launched in 2010, following the sale of the network to Manny V. Pangilinan. In addition to various news articles, clips of News5 programs and newscasts on TV and radio are also featured via its sister site News5 Everywhere.

This Monday, TV5 takes the ‘Aksyon’ name to new heights, in the form of ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’ (mornings), ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ (noontime), ‘Aksyon Prime’ (primetime) and ‘Aksyon Tonite’ (late nights). For News5, it is about strengthening and unifying the brand, believing that ‘more than the news, it is about action’ (‘higit sa balita, aksyon’). And that is exactly what they are attempting to accomplish.

However, it remains to be seen whether or not their new initiative will pay off. But for now, News5 will welcome a change of scenery, and will start over with a clean slate.

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TV5 Rebrands Its Newscasts Under the Aksyon Banner

Starting July 14, TV5’s ‘Aksyon’  newscasts will not only be seen in the early evening, but also in the morning, at noontime and during late nights. (Photo credit: News5 Everywhere)

Goodbye ‘Good Morning Ser’, ‘Andar ng mga Balita’, and ‘Pilipinas News’.

As part of its ongoing ‘Signal No. 5: Umuulan ng Saya’ campaign, TV5 has announced that its newscasts will be rebranded under the ‘Aksyon’ banner beginning this July 14. The newscasts are as follows: ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’, and ‘Aksyon Tonite’. The three newscasts will be joined by the flagship early evening newscast ‘Aksyon’.

As a result of the rebrand,  ‘Good Morning Ser’ (formerly ‘Good Morning Club’), ‘Andar ng mga Balita’ and ‘Pilipinas News’ will bid farewell today after a three-year run. ‘Pilipinas News Weekend’ will then air its final newscast on Sunday, with a replacement yet to be determined.

‘Aksyon sa Umaga’ will retain the services of Martin Andanar and Lourd de Veyra from ‘Good Morning Ser’. In addition, Grace Lee, who previously anchored ‘Aksyon Weekend’ and hosted ‘Good Morning Girls’, will be added as the third anchor. Like its predecessor, it will be a two-hour news and talk-based program.

‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ will be anchored by Raffy Tulfo and Cherie Mercado. The ‘T3: Reload’ and ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ host is no stranger to anchoring a noontime newscast, having anchored ‘Balitaang Tapat’ two years earlier. Meanwhile Cherie Mercado moves from late nights to noontime after anchoring ‘Pilipinas News’ for over two years.

The flagship ‘Aksyon’ newscast will still be anchored by Erwin Tulfo, but his new partner will be no less than News5’s Head of News and Information, Luchi Cruz-Valdes. Luchi’s ‘Reaksyon’ program will no longer be independent from any newscast, but instead it will be incorporated as one of the segments of ‘Aksyon’.

And finally, ‘Aksyon Tonite’ will retain Paolo Bediones from ‘Pilipinas News’, but Cheryl Cosim from ‘Aksyon’ will now serve as his new partner. Like its predecessor, ‘Aksyon Tonite’ will be a 30-minute newscast that will recap the biggest news of the day.

The rebranded ‘Aksyon’ newscasts, along with ‘Aksyon Alert’ and ‘Aksyon Breaking’ news updates, are intended to strengthen and unify TV5’s news department under the ‘One Brand News Program’ approach. But it remains to be seen if the rebrand to ‘Aksyon’ will pay off.

New Timeslot for ‘T3’

‘T3: Reload’ was scheduled to move to a new timeslot this Monday. However, the change of timeslot came a week early.

Last Monday, viewers were surprised to see Raffy and Ben Tulfo host their public service program at noontime. Monday’s edition of ‘T3’ was actually a replay of last Friday’s episode, but it was not until the live Tuesday edition that the Tulfo brothers officially confirmed the show’s new timeslot.

‘T3: Reload”s move to noontime was intended to accommodate the NCAA Season 90 seniors basketball game on TV5, which moved to 4:00 p.m. from 2:00 p.m. the previous week. However, AksyonTV and Radyo5 92.3 News FM did not air the program simultaneously (‘Relasyon’ of Atty. Mel Sta. Maria and Luchi Cruz-Valdes was aired instead), as they were not informed of ‘T3”s premature timeslot change.

However, expect both AksyonTV and Radyo5 to make some changes in their programming lineup this Monday, in order to accommodate ‘T3: Reload’ and ‘Aksyon’ newscasts.

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