2014 is about to end in a few days. But before we bid goodbye to this year, here is a look back at what happened in the world of Philippine Radio. This article will analyze on the Top 10 newcomers, station reformats & restructures in Metro Manila (and a few in other key cities).
First, I’ll talk about the Newcomers or the stations which made their debut this year.
1. Retro 105.9
Last March 28, Retro 105.9 DCG FM invaded the Metro’s airwaves. This station plays oldies, similar to its rival RJ 100.3, manned by veteran DJs who used to work with legendary stations, such as 99.5 RT & Campus Radio 97.1. Initially, they have Jimmy Jam, The Triggerman, Braggy, Joey Pizza, Joshua (initially a pinch-hitter), The Mole, Rudolph Rivera, Andy Tuna & JJ Sparx.
Retro has later expanded its format & added new programs. After Holy Week, it began playing some OPM. It also launched SRO (Saturdays Retro On Stage) & Top 20 @ 12, both hosted by The Triggerman. Since mid-October, they launched Retro Discoteria (from Max FM), and recently Retro In Love.
Last September, DJs shifted from 4 hours to 3 hours of airtime 6 days a week. Since mid-October, the management added King DJ Logan & Sgt. Pepper to its roster, leaving JJ Sparx out of the scene again. Despite becoming a huge success during the following months, this affects the classic programming of some CHR stations in the metro.
2. Brigada News FM
104.7 Brigada News FM
6 years ago, Brigada News FM began its operations in General Santos. A few years later, it expanded to Koronadal, Zamboanga & Cebu. And late last year, it acquired most of the stations from Baycomms.
Last April 28, as an answer to Radyo5 92.3, Brigada News expanded its operations to Manila as 104.7 Brigada News FM. Originally as a station in Batangas, it has now “pirated” the Metro’s airwaves, but retained its old studio as a technical facility. The station is manned by personalities, formerly from Bombo Radyo & RMN, & DJs.
During the next months, former RMN personalities, notably Weng dela Peña, actor/comedian Dennis Padilla & Leo Navarro, joined the station. It also began airing numerous programs from its station in Cebu & General Santos, notably The Baby Nicole Show. Despite transmitting 25 kW of power from its OMNIA 11, it can’t be heard in some parts of Metro Manila.
3. Wish FM
Last June 26, upon UNTV‘s 10th (supposedly 13th) anniversary, 107.5 exited from the Hot AC (mass-based) market, as Win Radio moved to 91.5 a day later. For more than a month, it remained in transition to be an Adult Hits station.
Last August 10, 107.5 Wish FM went on air, together with a “Wish Concert” at the World Trade Center, & introducing its radio bus, used for The Roadshow. This new station plays mostly oldies & less hot hits, much similar to 100.3 RJFM, manned by DJs, whether veteran (a few from 93.9 WKC) or newbie. They’ve got Hill Billy Willy (who’s also the station manager), Ray Holiday, Jelly Kiss, Uncle Harry, Princess, Alice, Flynn Rider & Dr. Clark (Daniel Razon). And its programming is almost the same as RJFM, making it its closest competitor.
Speaking of 91.5, 91.5 Win Radio is manned by DJs mostly from the Big Radio roster (2 of them from the Win roster).
4. Oomph! Radio
Last November, Viva Entertainment ventured into radio by acquiring Ultimate Entertainment’s Mango Radio stations. Hence, the birth of 105.1 Oomph! Radio in Cebu, manned by Viva’s newbie DJs. Sooner, it’ll expand in Davao & Zamboanga.
For the rest, I’ll talk about the stations which changed their format & programming.
5. Home Radio’s (Un)natural Changes
97.9 Home Radio
Last March 17, after 14 years as a Soft AC station, 97.9 Home Radio entered into the Contemporary Middle of the Road (or simply mass-based) market, with its slogan Natural. Under the management of DWIZ program director & announcer Bryan Quitoriano, who used to be known as Idol T-Bowne from DM 955, Star FM & Yes FM, the same DJs had changed their names, which are lifted from food.
If management thought that entering competition would be a success, it has happened the other way round. After Holy Week, the station underwent several changes with its name & staff, from changing its uprimary name, retiring the “Home Radio” brand, changing the frequency nomenclature, firing the female DJs, slowly moving away from the mass-based market, to bringing back the “Home Radio” brand. In short, the station is going nowhere, trying to fit in with the trend & ending up losing in the long run. They should’ve entered the CHR market, wherein there is less competition, instead.
Last July, despite the numerous changes, it also launched its evening radio show hosted by singers Duncan Ramos and Jimmy Bondoc.
6. K-Lite: The Take Me Around Station
103.5 K-Lite proved to be one of the victims of Retro 105.9’s programming. After Holy Week, K-Lite revamped into a CHR station with The Beat of Manila slogan. It’s a bit similar to Magic 89.9, but its retro playlist consists of only 90s. At this point, it was manned by around 4 DJs (2 of them which are retained), leaving the rest of the airtime with automated programming.
Last August 18, to compete with Retro 105.9, it revamped (again) as a Classic Hits station, carrying the Metro Manila’s Official Take Me Back Station slogan. Described as the “younger” Retro, it plays music from 90s to mid- 2000s. And what’s good is that it has become lively once again; a few more DJs joined the station, and it launched Club Rewind, which airs during Saturday nights.
Last November 24, it brought back The Hits and Lite Favorites slogan (initially used during its comeback last year), although nothing has changed on its playlist. However, it added 80s on its playlist, but this time on a separate program called Past Forward (every Wednesday). This kinda reminded me of the old K-Lite before its reformat.
7. From Universities to Communities (Campus to Barangay)
Last February 17, Barangay LS 97.1 marked its 7th anniversary with the Isang Bansa, Isang Barangay tagline. As a result, RGMA’s provincial FM radio stations, which used to carry the Campus Radio brand (including Cebu’s RT, Davao’s Wow & Kalibo’s Super Radyo), adopted the Barangay branding, as an answer to ABSCBN’s MOR.
This includes program reformatting, wherein each station has its own version of most programs, including Talk to Papa, Potpot & Friends, Radyo Nobela & Three Play, among others.
8. PBA on Radyo5
PBA on Radyo5 (Behance)
Since June, PBA games, beginning with the ’14-’15 season, are now aired on TV5. In addition to that, it is also heard on Radyo5 stations nationwide & online via InterAksyon.com. This is a good opportunity for PBA fans, who are living in the Philippines & anywhere in the world. They can listen through the internet or their cellphones.
9. Energy FM’s Food For The Ears
Energy FM’s new set of DJs. (Facebook)
Last March 17, 106.7 Energy FM launched a new slogan Ang Sarap with a new set of DJs, whose names are lifted from food. On its menu, they have Celine Labuyo (Sili Labuyo), Sheena Ngag (Sinangag), Gina Tan (Ginataan), Barbie Q. (BBQ), Ken Ton (Canton) – Aya & Dale, who used to be with Wow FM – & Jim Butido (Embutido) – who used to be known as Choupaski before the revamp. No news was heard from the other veteran DJs after management dismissed them from the station, aside from DJ Mac & Cathy G., who moved to Radyo Asenso InterNetwork a few months later.
10. Pinas FM goes OPM
Pinas FM 95.5
Since October 5, Pinas FM now plays only Original Pilipino Music, making it the first and only station in the country to do so, to support the promotion of Filipino musical artists.
There are other events, which aren’t mentioned in my Top 10. So, I’ll summarize them.
- Win Radio moved from 107.5 to 91.5 (June 28).
- MBC’s O&O Hot FM stations rebranded to Yes! FM as part of the latter’s expansion once again (February).
- DZRH celebrated its 75th anniversary (July 15).
- 99.5 Play FM launched its new jingle, & now airs American Top 40, which used to be aired on Magic 89.9 (mid-year).
- Wave 891 underwent program & staff restructuring, including firing some of its veteran DJs in favor of newbies & change of voiceover, & renamed most of its special programs, including Throwdown (formerly Soul Review) & BITD: Back In The Day (formerly Snapback/Wave Back) (September).
- YouTube star Lloyd Cadena now hosts a program on 93.9 I! FM called Gabi Ng Hanash (June).
- RX 93.1‘s The Morning Rush celebrated its 18th year on the air, making it the longest running morning program on Philippine Radio.
- DZBB 594 ranked #1 on Nielsen’s most listened AM station in Manila.
- DZJV 1458 extended its airtime to 16 hours daily, broadcasting until 10pm (October).
Sorry if I missed some other events. But, the list goes on.
Time to wrap things up. Retro 105.9’s programming has become an impact of the classic programming of some CHR stations. Hence, most of them would focus more on the 90s & early 2000s, & either play some 80s (or completely phase them out, just like Mellow & Play did). A station entered the battle in the mass-based market & lost in the long run. As usual, some stations reformat and/or re-arrange their programming, & personalities either move to other stations or venture into other commitments.