Remembering 99.5 RT

dwrt

Today is the 40th Anniversary of the legendary 99.5 RT. This station was known for playing the music way ahead of other stations. Instead of telling you the history of the station, since I was born in the 90s, I’ll talk about my listening experience with RT. I can’t recall everything, but I’ll do my best to recall them.

THE FIRST RT

It all started last summer of 2006, when I heard a retro track on that station, in which I later realized it was airing its popular 24K Friday. From then on, I’d tune in to that station to dig for more, since it has a huge library of retro music, including the rare tracks. During regular programming, RT would air its current stingers.

I can remember listening to 24K in the School Bus on my way home. And every Saturday, I’d wake up at around 5 to catch up 24K’s last hour. One time, I heard the extended version of Naked Eyes’ “Always Something There to Remind Me” and they cut it at around 1 1/4 minutes since it was almost 6am.

Although I was more of a listener of DM back then, I occasionally tune in to RT for new music. Aside from 24K, I occasionally listened to Dinner & Drive Show, David’s House, RT40 & Sunday Sessions, among others. Some of the songs I first heard on RT were Panic! At The Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” & Cassie’s “Me & You”.

THE END OF RT

Around mid-December that year, I wasn’t aware that RT would rebrand as something else until I heard one of their stingers saying “You pick the Hit”. Came the 1st day of 2007, it was officially Hit FM. Since DM disappeared from the airwaves, I regularly began listening to Hit. I’ll discuss that on another article, since this is all about RT.

Fast forward to Mid-August 2008, when Campus was abruptly cancelled. I wasn’t aware about it at that time. Every top-of-the-hour, there was a stinger saying The power: 25,000 watts. The frequency: Digital 99.5. The call letters: DWRT-FM. This made me thought that this would mark the return of RT. During the last weekend of August, it played only 80s & 90s music.

THE SECOND RT

September 1, I was tuned in to 99.5 while preparing for school. Joshua was the first DJ on board, and he gave us listeners a big surprise. And I was right. The Rhythm was back. It was the return of the legendary RT, using its  classic slogan The Rhythm Of The City. I heard 2 versions of “I kissed a Girl”, first from Katy Perry & the other one from Cobra Starship. Other programs at that time were Disturbing the Peace, Home Run (Hit FM used to air this program) & BrewRats.

Although I wasn’t able to listen to other programs since I had classes, there were other jocks who were retained from Campus & Hit, like Neil Almighty, Sam Oh, Gibb, Slyde, Lellie, Migz w/ a Z, Robi The Rascal, Koji Morales (Joe Spinner of Campus), Ron Valentine & David Ardiente.

Saturday morning, I was tuned in to RT a bit early for what would be the 24K Weekend. The RT classic jingle was the 1st song played. It feels good listening to a whole bunch of 70s, 80s & 90s for the entire weekend instead of only 1 day, isn’t it? And it featured a few sub-programs, which cover a specific genre; New Wave Xtra w/ Ron Valentine & 24K In The Mix on Saturday nights, Wake Up Call, Reel Hits & Soft Sundaes on Sundays. It used not just the classic stingers from the Rhythm era, but also the ones from the Maximum era. And every hour, instead of using its classic top-of-the-hour stinger, it used its info stinger with the Maximum Music stinger as its background music. Every weekend, I was tuned in to that program, even on my way to school or going home. To be honest, 24K was the program I look forward to than any other program on RT.

The return of the Home Run was short-lived, I had no idea why. One evening of October, the show was replaced with 2 of the legendary DJs on board, King DJ Logan & Tina Ryan.

Fast forward to Summer 2009, when it introduced one of its old slogans  Red Hot, which was used every summer. It also introduced its new slogan The Best Music On The Planet. Lellie disappeared from the airwaves for unknown reasons. Joshua was moved to Weekend mornings, as The BrewRats took over his place. It reminds me of coffee in the morning: Brew. And Sam & Gibb were moved from mid-mornings to primetime. Around the middle of the year, RT revived its countdown as RT30 (since 40 is too much for them), one of the longest-running countdowns on PH radio who’s hosted by the daughter of the Junior, Inka. And Freshtrack Spotlight was introduced as well, to introduce new music. Prior to RT30, RT used to air the syndicated countdown The World Chart Show.

There were some changes come late September. Joshua & The BrewRats moved to U92. However, 2 DJs returned to fill their void. One Monday morning, I was looking forward to a new program, which Slyde was talking about the night before. It was the return of King DJ Logan. It began as a show with no name, wherein he & his co-host Marf talked about random stuff. In the middle of his show, he came up with the tile of his show: The Disenchanted Kingdom.

1st Saturday of October came the return of veteran DJ Jeremiah Junior. He hasn’t lost his touch after 7 years. Unlike the current DJs who hosted 24K, he’d dig in some tracks from the 70s, aside from the usual 80s & 90s. In every top-of-the-hour, instead of playing the 24K stinger, he’d follow the traditional way: It’s now <insert time>. 99.5 RT is DWRT-FM. We’re the Rhythm of the City, playing the hits first on weekdays. And on weekends, we open our massive library of classic hits called the 24K. That’s how I recalled him saying that.

Since early 2010, Saturday afternoons were left vacant. I can recall KDL filling in around twice. And around 2 years later, Ron Valentine, Scarlett, Dirty J, Neil Almighty & Marf, as far as I can recall. They had the opportunity to share their own brand of 24K, which is quite good. Around mid-2010, Dirty J, K-Pop Lollipop & Moby Nick came in for Gravysauce.

Around October, RT introduced its new slogan The Drive, as it played a lot of rock music & occasionally 90s music. That slogan was the name of a former all-rock sub-program of 24K, a replacement of SS. At that time, there were rumors that NU107 would close shop the next month. So, this might be a sign. Sam & Gibb switched time slots with KDL’s Disenchanted Kingdom. Their timeslots were pretty odd. And since then, Sunday night was left vacated.

In early May 2011, one Sunday morning, I was surprised that there was no 24K on that day. The Junior later explained during his program that 24K was reduced to only Saturdays since a lot of stations are playing classic hits on Sundays. This gave him the chance to play the hottest hits once again. Since then, 24K would start on Saturday midnight & end on Sunday early morning. New Wave Xtra was reduced to 3 hours, making 24K In The Mix start early. That’s 25 hours of 24K. I was pretty disappointed about the management’s decision. It’d have been better if they’d start it on Saturday, 6am to Sunday, 6am, just like before. Nonetheless, I’d rather call it 24K Saturday than Weekend.

Come June, The Drive image slowly began disappearing, as the timeslots were fixed once again, a new set of stingers were aired  and its playlist made a little transition. The next month, RT brought back its previous slogan, as it was the same RT again. Its recent playlist was a mix of alternative pop & Top 40, making its playlist much wider than Magic’s playlist. When Gravysauce was no more, Dirty J went solo every weeknight. And later on, David’s House was replaced with a hard rock-oriented program, Freeway Friday, which was initially hosted by KDL.

Around October, one Saturday afternoon, I heard a new voice. At that time, he occasionally talked on air and he rarely mentioned his name, Claude 9 (who’d later on go by the name Jack Master 8). Since late March 2012, I’d hear him every other midnight and he’d be the 1st DJ to go on air for 24K, and later on, he’d board during Weekend afternoons.

I can recall the Junior sitting in for RT30 twice, and it was the 1st time hosting a countdown since RT40. Dirty J sat in for that program as well, and his song “Music” charted on RT30. Inka once sat in for the Junior during 24K. While playing the staple Weekends, The Junior plays 24K, she made a few attempts to mute the name in order for her to mention her name.

Summer 2012, Lil Joey of Magic joined Sam & Gibb. Later on, Dirty J switched places with Lil Joey, joining Sam & Gibb.

ON THE PHONE

I made my 1st radio request via YM around twice. Since late 2011, I made requests via phone every other Saturday. And I had a list of songs written on notepad. Whenever I asked for a particular song, Jeremiah Junior would find it right away. When he doesn’t have that song on the playlist, I asterisked the song in my list and asked for another song. When he has that song, then he puts it right away in the list of songs to be played. Sometimes, while making requests, the Junior would talk about some stuff. I even asked him if the people behind the Vintage Sound of RT page the former DJs of RT, and he told me that they’re the avid listeners of RT.

However, my experience with requesting songs via phone is not always good. One Saturday noon, I requested for 2 songs on Scarlett’s program and she promised me to look for it. And after several minutes of waiting, she never played my songs. This also happened during Ron Valentine twice, during New Wave Xtra & when he subbed one Saturday morning. They owe me a total of 6 songs, and I was so disappointed about this.

Even before going to school or going home, I’d even make a request using payphones in either school or an MRT station. I could remember one time when I was about to call when a live report from Neil Almighty just came in. I didn’t hear that coming.

September 1, 2012 was the 4th anniversary of the new RT. I asked the Junior if that day was RT’s anniversary. He told me that the anniversary of the original RT was on September 6, and every year, the DJs would celebrate it on a yacht.

One afternoon, after making a request, I asked Jack Master 8 if he he hosted a show every midnight (since I used to hear him almost every midnight). It turned out that he was a student jock of The Farm & he was recruited by Koji. He’s indeed one lucky farmer.

RT’S SLOW DEATH

Late October 2012, it was announced that it’d be RT’s last week and it’d rebrand to something else. I was shocked about it, but it’s a good thing it won’t revamp as a Hot AC station. That Friday, it was the last episode of RT30. Later on, Ron Valentine announced that the rebrand wouldn’t push through. I was relieved. I hoped that it wouldn’t push through at all, but I was wrong after a few weeks.

By the following week, a lot of RT jocks, notably KDL, resigned and were replaced with some of the Junior Jocks of Magic, notably Justin, Tino, Jaz & Guile. The Lil Joey – Jaz tandem was a bit awkward, but worked well somehow. This began a slow transition into what would become Play FM. I knew it, this is a sign.

The final 24K Weekend. I called Ron Valentine and asked what recently happened. He told me that the Junior took a break from radio since the previous Saturday, and that was why I haven’t heard from him since then. He even told me that he won’t be part of the station & doubted that the new brand’s retro program would fall on a Saturday. That afternoon, I called Lil Joey and, after requesting for a song, I asked him some info about the new brand. He told me that he’d be part of it, but he wasn’t sure if the other RT jocks would be part of it since it was much of a surprise. The final episode of New Wave Xtra lasted for 4 hours for Ron to make it a memorable episode.

December 9 was the last day of RT. Koji was on board that evening. Too bad I didn’t get to know how RT ended. I slept in the middle of his show, in which I regretted doing. Hadn’t I slept, then I would’ve recorded it. Anyway, RT’s gone, but at least I had the chance to experience the Rhythm.

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