One Radio Network Must Go (and Another Must Gain)

[AUTHOR’S NOTE AND WARNING: The annual Big Reveal or the August Roast this year is on TV5. Initially, it was supposed to be about Sports5’s broadcast overlap with FIBA Asia Cup tomorrow and the 29th Southeast Asian Games on the 19th but due to PTV’s return to cover the latter after 10 years, it was shelved and it will be focused on TV5’s radio counterpart. As usual, this banter might be offensive; reader’s discretion is advised.]

Whose radio network is getting rekt this year?

RECENTLY, a fad in the national social media landscape titled “One Must (or Has To) Go” asked respondents just one of the choices – whether food or a thing – would be abandoned for the rest of their life. Of course, The Turf won’t beat out of this.

If there’s one radio network that has to go, according to the Boses ng Madla poll since July 17, most of them responded that they would ditch those from TV5 (i.e. Radyo5) with 38.71%.*

Indeed, this is how Ralph Domingo, the webmaster of From the Tube, perceived and described after few years of concerned monitoring as his constructive criticisms fall on deaf ears.

Since 2010, Radyo5 defied the typical FM landscape of being all-music by adding news, talk, and public affairs. Throughout their running lives, they catered to the public utility vehicles (especially the LTFRB-defending taxi drivers) and established their Taxi Squad but as of now, we are unsure of the latter’s whereabouts.

Last year, their programming began to change as some famous personalities were displaced to serve the Duterte administration and their important news coverage related under this Presidency were downplayed.

This mishandling and dismal performance let station manager Gladys Lana-Lucas accountable and hence, surrendered to The Philippine Star President Miguel Belmonte’s hands. Ralph made a laundry list for him but sadly, none of them is implemented, as he is still preoccupied on their family-owned newspaper company.

He lamented Reliance that they are heavily “living on borrowed time.” Hold that Cueshé’s song for a moment.

It is no wonder that Kevin Trinidad, Ralph’s former blog visitor, who used to believe in all TV5’s divisions as an alternative to the duopoly, now boisterously mocked over it and abandoned that patronage after realizing their constant failures.

This begs a comprehensive question, “If Radyo5 finally gave up, who will take its place?

One of my colleagues, John Rodrigo Diaz Valdez suggested that his hometown broadcaster, Brigada, should be its prospective replacement.

Doing some background checks, the tri-media organization was founded by former Bombo Radyo anchor Elmer Catulpos in 2005 in General Santos City as a daily tabloid newspaper for Mindanao. Two years later, he diversified to health-line products and in 2009 to the radio (a year before Radyo5’s turn). Shortly after the airwave inception, it became Top 2 radio station in the GenSan market. It was not until 2013 when they expanded across the country and a year after, the Mega Manila market’s inauguration made it as a rising powerhouse ready to compete with their Manila-based giants.

THE RISING RADIO MOGUL. Elmer Catulpos is the CEO of Brigada Mass Media Corporation.

I would agree with JRDV, as I was able to hear my local Brigada station – Brigada Pampanga (DWCL 92.7 FM) – a few times beginning this year.

So what makes Brigada a better choice to replace Radyo5? There are four reasons I can enumerate.

First, although they are strikingly similar in programming structure and somehow amicable to the Duterte administration or concerning authorities in terms of news slant, they have more radio stations nationwide with 34 (six more to be aired in Palawan) running stations against Radyo5’s seven (7) – almost 6 to 1.

Second, in Mega Manila alone, Brigada’s DWEY 104.7 have the same transmitting power as Radyo5’s DWFM 92.3 with 25 kW but the former has better and consistent effective radio power (ERP) with 127.66 kW over the latter’s 75-120 kW.

Third, despite their national office in Makati City and the transmitter in Batangas City due to limited FM spacing in the metropolis, it has led to inaudibility and inaccessibility for car and cell phone radios during rush hour; still, Brigada took advantage by creating a free Android app that can live stream any of their FM stations – anywhere, real-time.

Last but not the least, instead of scouting third party advertisers – which is risky if the commercial radio prospects continue to fail – Brigada decided to sustain their own revenue by selling and promoting, as mentioned earlier, their own products such as Power Cells, DriveMax, Guard-C, Panamed and Aero Lube.

That being mentioned, I reaffirmed that Brigada is a viable candidate to succeed a major radio network with a myriad of unresolved disgraceful records. For now, it is just a dream as only time will tell if Manny V. Pangilinan finally decides to wave the white flag over the division and to divest that segment entirely to Mr. Catulpos.


*The other results of the initially established BnM poll were as follows: MBC with 21.51%, GMA with 13.98%, ABS-CBN with 11.83%, PBS with 5.38% and others (including Brigada) with 8.60%. Adjustments of the other responses will be posted.


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Photo credits:

  • Electronic Design
  • MindaNews / Rommel G. Rebollido
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