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FTT Year 2016 in Review: The 20 Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part II)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2017, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 20 moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part II of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

The End of Kris TV

‘Kris TV’ had been an early morning staple for nearly five years. With Kris Aquino at the helm, ‘Kris TV’ became one of the most enduring talk shows of the decade, and despite all the criticisms and low ratings thrown at them, ABS-CBN kept the faith on both Kris and the show itself.

But on March 23, Kris Aquino made a stunning announcement that she will officially bid farewell due to her recent health issues. As it turned out, this was ‘Kris TV”s last original episode, with the show continuing to air reruns until April 15, before it was replaced by ‘Magandang Buhay’.

Since then, Kris appeared as a guest on rival GMA talk show ‘Yan ang Morning’, and was scheduled to interview President Rodrigo Duterte in November until the latter no-showed due to illness.

News5 Loses Men to Duterte

Speaking of President Duterte, his cabinet featured a select number of former News5 anchors and reporters. This included PCOO chief Martin Andanar, DOT spokesperson Cherie Mercado, and assistant secretary for media relations Mia Reyes.

With the departure of numerous on-air staff, News5 was forced to implement new measures such as solo anchors on select ‘Aksyon’ newscasts. Unfortunately, it did not mitigate the damage that News5 endured this year, so much so that its head Luchi Cruz-Valdes even contemplated on relinquishing her post in favor of a cabinet position, a rumor that was eventually quashed.

However, this was not the only problem that TV5 faced this year.

Dissolution of TV5’s Entertainment Department

Late last year, TV5 reached out to VIVA Entertainment head Vic del Rosario to reinvigorate its entertainment division. The end result of this collaboration included shows such as ‘Ang Panday’, ‘Bakit Manipis ang Ulap’, ‘Born to Be a Star’ and ‘Tasya Fantasya’.

Unfortunately, none of VIVA’s shows clicked, with questionable scheduling and low ratings to blame for the issues. As a result, new TV5 head Chot Reyes had no choice but to start over, dissolving TV5’s entertainment division, and cutting ties with VIVA in September.

For now, TV5 airs TV shopping blocks, Tagalized canned programs and movies, News5 shows and the PBA, while waiting for Chot Reyes to renovate the station from within.

The Rebirth of CNN Philippines

Last year, CNN Philippines was heavily criticized for its revolving door of anchors, a penchant for airing HLN and CNN International shows, and a lack of commitment towards breaking news. Enter Armie Jarin-Bennett, a CNN International veteran who decided to give CNN Philippines an extreme makeover.

Within a year since her entry, CNN Philippines transformed itself into a force in the world of journalism almost overnight. New locally flavored shows were introduced, and newly-hired hosts and anchors such as Pinky Webb, Ruth Cabal, Andrei Felix and Anthony Pangilinan were brought in.

The end result is a positively-reviewed news organization which now strives to tell the story of the Filipino, as evidenced by the network’s highly-praised coverage of the vice presidential debates.

PTV-4’s Revitalization and IBC-13’s Sale, as Promised by President Duterte

Upon assuming office on June 30, President Rodrigo Duterte promised sweeping changes for the country. None was more evident than in the two networks that are owned by the government: PTV-4 and IBC-13.

President Duterte’s plan for PTV-4 is to become a public service network in the mold of the PBS in the U.S. and the BBC in the U.K. As for IBC-13, his objective is to sell the network to private investors for P10 billion, with the eye towards revitalizing its seemingly moribund programming.

While the proposals will take some time, one can only hope that the two networks will soon return to form as the country’s respective government and general entertainment station.

Part III of this four-part series is coming up this Thursday. Stay tuned.

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GMA News TV on a Rebound with Increased Live Coverage

Yesterday's final House hearing on the Bilibid drug trade was just one of several recent events that GMA News TV was able to air live, a surprise show of commitment to the oft-criticized network. (Screenshot courtesy of Dailymotion and GMA News TV)

Yesterday’s final House hearing on the Bilibid drug trade was just one of several recent events that GMA News TV was able to air live, a surprise show of commitment to the oft-criticized network. (Screenshot courtesy of Dailymotion and GMA News TV)

The most highly criticized news network in the country is gaining some relevance of late.

GMA News TV saw its stock rise in recent months, as it covered the Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings and the House hearings on the New Bilibid Prisons drug trade. Although their coverage is not as extensive as that of, for example PTV-4 or ABS-CBN News Channel, it was good to see the network finally step up the right way.

In addition to the events at the House of Representatives and the Senate, GMA News TV also committed themselves to air every live address of President Rodrigo Duterte wherever he goes. Of course, as the president is always a priority for live coverage, there have been times that the Senate and House hearings were forced to give way for Duterte.

Such renewed commitment to live coverage was in sharp contrast to the News TV shown during the tenure of President Benigno Aquino III. During his presidency, GMA News TV seemed to be ignorant of his live appearances on a majority of occasions, and this earned the ire of many viewers who wanted a lot more from the said network.

Most House and Senate hearings during Aquino’s tenure were also ignored by News TV. And to make matters worse, the recent visit of Pope Francis and President Aquino’s State of the Nation Addresses were also shunned by News TV as if they were not important events.

That said, it was a surprise to see GMA News TV become all the more committed to show live coverage during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte. With recent events becoming more important than ever, News TV has no choice but to follow every movement as it happens, and this should regain the trust that they lost in the past few years.

Despite this increased devotion to live coverage, GMA News TV still has a lot of holes to address. What will they do with the Koreanovelas, movies, reruns of old news programs and home shopping blocks that have infiltrated their network?

These problems should be the responsibility of Nessa Valdellon, the channel’s head honcho. Let’s just hope that she will follow the footsteps of ABS-CBN News’ Ging Reyes and CNN Philippines’ Armie Jarin-Bennett, and not of News5’s Luchi Cruz-Valdes, in restoring some sense to GMA News TV.

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News5 Loses Another Reporter to Duterte’s Staff, Plus Luchi’s Staying

Former News5 reporter Mia Reyes (third from left) will join President Rodrigo Duterte's staff as its assistant secretary for media relations. (Photo credit: Mia Reyes)

Former News5 reporter Mia Reyes (third from left) will join President Rodrigo Duterte’s staff as its assistant secretary for media relations. (Photo credit: Mia Reyes)

The losses continue to pile up for TV5.

Recently, Media Newser Philippines reported that TV5 reporter Mia Reyes will join President Rodrigo Duterte’s staff as the assistant secretary for media relations. Prior to the hiring, Mia was a beat reporter who covered the news within the Malacañang Palace.

Reyes joins Martin Andanar, Cherie Mercado, Ina Zara and Jun Loyola as former News5 talents-turned-Duterte staff members. News5 also lost DJ Sta. Ana, Benjie Felipe and Deah Regacho for various other reasons.

The departure of Mia Reyes is another huge blow to TV5’s embattled news division. With so much losses in the talent front, not to mention the many criticisms that the division has faced, it is clear that News5 is living on borrowed time.

To make matters worse, Media Newser Philippines also reported that News5 chief Luchi Cruz-Valdes decided to stay on amid rumors of her impending departure. Obviously, many were not happy with her decision to remain.

Despite her award-winning reputation in the documentary department, Luchi’s inability to lead News5 to greener pastures puts her in the hot seat more often. While she is an excellent storyteller, her leadership has always been questioned, whether due to News5’s overreliance on sensationalized news, or due to the talent surrounding her.

With sports aficionado Chot Reyes now handling the task of restoring order within TV5, the news division itself is in a dire need of a revamp. From the Tube previously discussed these proposals in a two-part series, but for whatever reason, not even these tips can help TV5 in the long run.

 

Indeed, many will agree that the future of News5 is not very bright. With so many talent leaving in bunches, not to mention the questionable approach in news reporting, how much time does News5 have left to redeem themselves?

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News5 Anchors Go Solo, But Is It Worth the Risk?

News5 is making changes, sort of.

As reported yesterday by MediaNewser.com, three of TV5’s ‘Aksyon’ newscasts will have just one anchor each. The anchors for each newscast are:

  • Cheryl Cosim (Aksyon sa Umaga)
  • Raffy Tulfo (Aksyon sa Tanghali)
  • Ed Lingao (Aksyon Tonite)

This was in reaction to the recent departures of several News5 talent (e.g. Martin Andanar and Cherie Mercado), some of whom were hired by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. As for ‘Aksyon Prime’, they will retain a two-anchor setup with Erwin Tulfo and Luchi Cruz-Valdes.

The one-anchor setup actually got underway with ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’, when TV5 chose not to give Raffy Tulfo a replacement partner starting July 18. However, the possibility of just one anchor on the newscasts was not realized until Cheryl Cosim hinted recently on Instagram of her last remaining days as co-anchor of ‘Aksyon Tonite’.

‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, the other newscast that Cheryl anchors nowadays, will be most affected by the new setup. The show will lose co-hosts Grace Lee, France Noguera, Renz Ongkiko, Jeff Caparas, and Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, and viewers could feel concerned about the impracticality of one anchor handling a long 90-minute newscast.

Despite the decision, criticism continued to haunt News5, especially their decision to retain Raffy Tulfo for ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’. As noted previously in Part I of News5 Needs a Revamp, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ was mostly sensationalized and similar to Raffy’s radio show ‘Wanted sa Radyo’, thanks in large part to the ‘Itimbre Mo Kay Tulfo’ segment.

Many also criticized News5’s decision to drop Atty. Mel Sta. Maria from ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’. Considering that both Cheryl and Atty. Mel were praised for giving new life and credibility back into the newscast, this was a decision that will undoubtedly question News5’s commitment to improve its news programs.

The truth is, Luchi Cruz-Valdes should have done a lot more. Using just one anchor for three of the ‘Aksyon’ newscasts will not change how viewers negatively perceive News5, especially when the presence of the Tulfo brothers were brought up to the discussion.

That said, it is obvious that a full-scale revamp is still a necessity for News5. Unless they promote more deserving reporters to anchor status, hire fresh graduates from journalism and mass communications courses, and change their approach to news reporting to a more ‘global’ approach, News5’s negative reputation will continue to haunt them in the years to come.

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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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