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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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105.9 Radio High Bows Out

Radio High 105.9 is expected to reformat after the Holy Week, in which it will be renamed as Retro 105.9.

While frustrated listeners are still recovering from the reformat of 97.9 Home Radio into a ‘masa’ station, another radio station has decided to undergo a similar process.

105.9 Radio High, whose format consisted of smooth jazz and adult contemporary music, decided to end its broadcasts after three years on the air. The station, owned by Francis Lumen, was the fourth to occupy the 105.9 frequency, after the rock-oriented LA 105.9, hip-hop based Blazin’ 105.9, and the rock-oriented RJ Underground Radio 105.9.

Replacing Radio High will be a classic hits radio station known as Retro 105.9. The upcoming station will be helmed by some of the industry’s ageless veterans like Jimmy Jam, The Mole, and the Triggerman, and will essentially be patterned after another competing radio station in RJ 100.3. Retro 105.9 is expected to debut after the Holy Week.

Radio High, as the tagline suggests, was basically ‘not for everyone’, as it only targeted a more sophisticated part of the population. The format itself was influenced by Lumen’s previous experience in running Citylite 88.3 and Joey 92.3.

Unfortunately for Lumen, his reentry into the industry came at the onset of a ‘masa’ revolution, in which several stations eschewed niche radio formats in favor of the revenue-generating hot adult contemporary (‘masa’) format. And with financial losses looming, Lumen had no choice but to end his lease on the 105.9 frequency.

Radio High’s brief three-year run was, in essence, another forgettable chapter in the history of radio. In an era where ‘masa’ is becoming the norm, a few niche-based radio stations have managed to weather the storm by maintaining a loyal audience and finding other ways to survive. Unfortunately for Radio High, they were unable to do just that. And as a result, its departure only adds pressure to its successor in Retro 105.9.