On the afternoon of May 25, Retro 105.9 quietly went off the air. After 4 years on the air, the first station in the metro with a Classic Hits format was axed abruptly. This left FM2 as the only Classic Hits station in the metro. The next day, it went back on air, this time as Like FM 105.9, with an Adult Top 40 format, picking up competition with Mellow 947.
BEFORE RETRO CLOSED SHOP
A year ago, Domingo C. Garcia stopped funding the station, leaving Tito Ojeda the only one running the station. As a result, management decided to cut back on costs by firing most of the DJs, retaining Karen & Joshua on the fold. The former management had debts to pay to the owner of the frequency, Bright Star.
Since Holy Week, news broke out that Retro would soon come to an end. By this time, we made guesses about its new format, whether it’d be Easy Listening-leaning Classic Hits or Classic Rock. An insider said that this format is “a path least traveled”. This month, premature news came in that Retro was near its end. It was hard to predict when as we waited week by week.
By the time Retro signed off, it was revealed that Jimmy Jam & JJ Sparx, both of them who used to be part of Retro during its first months as Music Director & Station Manager respectively, took over the station, with the help of Korean investors.
After 2 months of Test Broadcast, Like FM had its official launch last July 28. Ryan (of Mellow 94.7) first went on air at 6am with The Lighter Side. He first explained the profile of Like FM to us listeners, including the format, which is a mix of Adult Top 40 & Talk. 9am came Jovi with Tea Time.
3pm came Rev. Jack Cole. I have no idea who’s behind that voice, but it’s definitely NOT Jimmy Jam, not even DJ Kane. He plays 90s music in his program, which is unnamed for now. H-Town (of Magic 89.9, 103 1/2 Max FM & Wave 89.1) took over the evening with The Hype Show, where he plays Hip Hop, similar to his former show The Flow.
The next day, Devon went on air at 6am, followed by Dee (of Mellow 94.7) by the mid-morning. And fashion blogger Adi Amor took over at noon with her own talk show Fashion Cents. What’s good with these jocks, including Ryan & Jovi, are that they came prepared with their first topic on their 1st day on air.
For now, the Weekday contains Jovi in the mid-morning, Ryan at noon & Dee & Devon pairing up for The D&D Show in the evening. The morning & the 4pm-8pm slots are still unoccupied, but I’m hoping Jimmy Jam & JJ Sparx can occupy each of them.
The format of Like FM was supposed to be all-80s to go head to head with FM2’s programming. It turned out to be a hybrid of Top 40 music mixed with a handful of old stuff in which we call Hot AC or Adult Top 40.
The first time I peaked into it, I had a hard time predicting the format. So, I made an observation on the station’s playlist for a certain hour and, based on my results, it focuses more on the 2010s, a moderate amount of 2000s, and at most 3 songs from the 80s/90s. I guess that’s good enough to be called Adult Top 40.
I didn’t expect Retro to end abruptly. It’d have been better for me if they retained the format with a bit of tweaking. It had such a vast playlist compared to FM2’s.
The format is good, it reminds me of RT’s playlist from The Drive era back to The Best Music era. However, there are a few flaws. The Like FM brand is used in various stations in Visayas. And its slogan Where Hot AC Lives is somewhat blunt. A lot of Hot AC stations use Today’s Best Variety, More Variety from the 90s to Today, Today’s Music without the Rap (or the likes) as their slogan. I suggest they could use one of those slogans.
Let’s just hope Like FM will give Mellow a run for their money and regain its success Retro had before.