Retro 105.9 Invades Metro Manila

March 29, 2014

This morning, Metro Manila has become Retro Manila with Retro 105.9 DCG FM. This station plays a whole lot of oldies, similar to its rival RJ 100.3. And what’s also interesting is that this station is manned by a lot of veteran DJs. Jimmy Jam (also from WXB 102, KY 91.5, UR 105.9, and RJ 100.3), The Triggerman (also from EI 93.1), & Braggy (also from MMDA Radio 1206 & Sports Radio 918) are the jocks from Campus Radio, the station that students used to love until Mike Enriquez killed it. Joey Pizza (also from KY 91.5, Blazin’ 105.9 & Citylite 88.3) & Joshua (also from 103.5 K-Lite, and U92) came from the legendary 99.5 RT. The other veterans in this station are The Mole (from The Giant 97.1, DM 95.5, RJ 100.3 & recently DZRJ 810 as a newscaster), Rudolph Rivera (who just left RJ 100.3 last month, and used to work with WBL & 93.9 WKC), Andy Tuna (from RX 93.1 & Kiss Jazz/DWST 101.1) & JJ Sparx (I believe, from KY 91.5 & 99.5 RT). And their mission is to bring back Old School Radio, the way radio should be.

Before I talked about what happened today, you may be asking yourselves what happened to the ill-fated Radio High 105.9. This station played a lot of Jazz & some soft AC in between. Initially, it used to have 15-minute segments which played a specific genre each, but this was scrapped off (except for some of its special programs) after a year to compete with 105.1 Crossover, which remains the only Jazz station in the Metro. Recently, this station went low from high when it suffered from financial losses because of increasing of Hot AC stations that play a lot of crap. After almost 3 years on air, Francis Lumen decided to end his airtime lease contract with 105.9. Despite this, the station continued play the usual throughout the entire March, but this time with teasers about Retro 105.9.

This is the 5th time 105.9 has rebranded. DWLA used to be LA from 1992 – 2000, which played rock; Blazin’ from 2002 – 2007, which played hip-hop; UR from 2007 – 2011, which played classic & modern rock, just like the old DZRJ did before; and Radio High from 2011 – 2014, which played Jazz & some soft AC. Enough of Radio High for now. Let’s go to what happened during Retro 105.9’s pilot broadcast, shall we.

Before I hit the bed last night, I began hearing some 80s tracks (this began since yesterday evening), which showed some signs of what today’s broadcast would be like. I believed it was static since midnight, when I woke up at around 3:30 this morning. It went on air at around 5am. Andy Tuna was the 1st on board, but he didn’t speak that much and played more music. At first, I thought he’d be on air until around 8am, but it turned out that JJ Sparx would be on board at 6am. It seemed kinda strange to me, he had only an hour of airtime for today, but I found out that he’ll be on air tomorrow 2am.

JJ Sparx began his boardwork at 6am with General Public’s “Tenderness”. I’m not that familiar with this DJ, but as I browse his FB for some clues, it turns out that he’s the station manager. Throughout its 1st few hours, I hear no ads, but just his voice & a mix of 70s, 80s & early 90s. Every 55th minute of every hour in the morning, this lady (I forgot the name) brings the latest news through News @ 55. [UPDATE] A few days later, I realized that DCG means Domingo C. Garcia, the station’s owner.

10am came Rudolph Rivera (or rather Rrrrrrudolph Rivera) with a peg, “Ladies and gentlemen, Ace of Base. The Sign… of old age.” I used to listen to him when he was with RJ 100.3, through his Smilabration show. Speaking of RJ, I used to listen to this station a lot when I was in grade school, digging for oldies, especially The Beatles. Nowadays, I rarely listen to it. No wonder he left RJ to join the bandwagon. It seems that he just played the oldies, RJ style. I was kinda surprised that I heard a couple of 60s music, one of them is from the Zombies. And at this time, an ad or 2 aired every hour.

At 2pm, Jimmy Jam returned to the airwaves after around 4 years. He’s from Campus Radio. I wasn’t that familiar with the said station, (I listened to this a few times) I was much of an avid listener of Campus 99.5. He even had his stint with RJ. This time, Jimmy Jam played more of classic rock, notably a few from the mid-90s, like Green Day & Dishwalla. At this time, a set of around 4 ads were aired every hour, unlike this morning. And what the station has for now is their hotline.

The evening starts with Joey Pizza, who has made a comeback after some time. As far as I know, he used to be part of the legendary 99.5 RT. (Good thing Jeremiah Junior told me via phone about what happened back in the day when the old RT existed.) I never heard Joey Pizza’s voice before. So, we had the chance to hear it. And it seems that he’s playing oldies, RT style, with some 90s tracks.

Before the day closes, 10pm, The Triggerman “bolts himself into this station” after 6 years, with his program Boreless Show. Another jock from Campus Radio, he used to host one of the very popular countdowns on Philippine Radio, Top 20 @ 12. He talks about a ton of interesting stuff, notably what happened to him during his Campus Radio days. He said, “I’m not gonna say Campus Radio because I am not on Campus Radio. I am not on 97.1.” He talked about being “kicked out” of Campus, when its format was earning P8-10 million a month. Back in 2007, Campus revamped as Hot AC station, Barangay LS, and they (he, Jimmy Jam, John Hendrix, Joe Spinner, Braggy, & the rest) retained for almost a year before scumbag Mike Enriquez fired them. Its current format now earns P13 million a month. Ironic, isn’t it. He even played the songs whcih were featured in his Top 20 @ 12. During his program, his guests were some of the Retro DJs & Richard Steele (who used to work with DM, DZEC & Campus, now with DZMM).

Come this weekend, we’ll get to hear Joshua, Braggy & The Mole. So, I’ll upload some of the recordings of Retro soon. And, Niko Battalones has also kept track of this in his live blog.

Time to wrap things up. I gotta admit, since I’m more into oldies, I kinda like Retro 105.9. It’s good to hear those veteran jocks on board once again, notably Jimmy Jam, Rudolph Rivera, The Triggerman & Joshua Yu (the ones I’m very familiar with). They play a great mix of 70s, 80s & 90s the Old School style, and it’s way better than RJ, which plays 60s – today (mixing 70s – 90s with 21st century music isn’t my type). Less commercials, occasional talk (more on greetings & music), more music w/ classy vintage stingers. This is the type of “retro” we music lovers want to hear on the radio. With this, Retro has outsmarted RJ in some ways. It somewhat picked up where a part of 99.5 RT left off, since RT had a very vast collection of music back in the day, including some rare gems, back in the day. It’s like listening to 24K everyday. One of these days, I’ll make a request on their hotline, just like what I did when RT was around. Now that Retro’s pilot broadcast was indeed a success, we’ll expect more from this station on the long run. I hope this station will last for a very long time, especially for people who are digging in for more classics.


Jeepney Diaries: Intramuros Loop (Colorums in Manila City Hall)

March 20, 2014

“Colorum” jeepneys are now a trend in some parts of Manila, and some other cities as well. You can see them along familiar places in that city, notably Escolta in Sta. Cruz & beside the underpass near the City Hall.

In my previous blog, I encountered registered jeepneys, which usually travel from Sta. Cruz to Pier 15, & their drivers’ knowledge about colorum jeepneys in that area. In this blog, I’ll talk about my encounter on colorum jeeps that drive around Intramuros with an unauthorized route City Hall-Pier 15.

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Divisoria – Baclaran: PYG 803
This veteran driver travels around Intramuros during Noon & Afternoons. He never travels to Baclaran nor Divisoria because it’s too far for him to travel to and of his body condition, since he’s already old. Though he travels back to Divisoria as his last trip before evening strikes. He never travels during evenings because he has a problem with his eyesight, he feels dizzy with the street lights. Because of this, another driver younger than him takes his place to travel the full route.

An incident happened upon reaching the gas station near the entrance to Intramuros. The driver was making his signal upon his turn, yet a tricycle driver thought he was blocking his way. From this point, tension grew from the youngster. Though the veteran apologized to him he still was mad at him. This is one etiquette drivers should know. Make way to vehicles, even if there’s no signal to remind them.

Divisoria – Baclaran: TBY 822
This veteran driver never travels to Baclaran nor Divisoria because it’s traffic along the way, since he’s already old. When he was young, he used to travel a full route. In some days, he uses this jeep to travel around Intramuros. In some days, another driver uses this jeep to travel the full route every other day.

Divisoria – Kalaw: NYK 120
This driver never travels to Kalaw/City Hall nor Divisoria because it’s traffic along Divisoria (even though it isn’t that traffic). He even told me some street knowledge in that kind of place. When there are traffic enforcers watching along Plaza San Lorenzo, traffic there is light. But when there aren’t, traffic there is heavy.

Blumentritt – Libertad: NWF 763
This driver considers his jeep as a “colorum”. He travels wherever he wants, just to get a lot of passengers & earn money. He never travels to Libertad because it’s too far for him &, surprisingly, he even doesn’t know that place. He usually travels around Intramuros. Sometimes, he travels to Pedro Gil from Blumentritt/Sta. Cruz.

Divisoria – Baclaran: TFN 174
This driver never travels to Baclaran nor Divisoria because it’s traffic along Divisoria (even though it isn’t that traffic) and there are traffic enforcers watching along Plaza San Lorenzo. He would often join this group because they could escape from traffic enforcers.

Divisoria – Baclaran:
There’s 1 more I haven’t encountered yet. So, I’ll update about this sooner.

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Here’s what I learned from these drivers, to wrap things up. Some drivers tend to use this unauthorized route because:
*They want to escape from getting caught by traffic enforcers, who usually guard places within their assigned path.
*Some of them experience body aching from driving too much. Hence, they know what’s right for them.
*Traffic enforcers are one of the reasons why a lot of jeepneys (mostly colorum) avoid passing by a particular place.
*Traffic in a particular part of the road is heavy. From this, drivers would lose time & earn little money.

In 2 months, I’ll be posting about my encounter on jeepneys which usually travel from Divisoria to City Hall/Pedro Gil. More of these to come soon…