Timow’s Turf Zeitgeist 2017: The Petmalu Events of Philippine Media (Part I)

Another year has gone by but before it flips on to 2018, let’s look back on the colorful, unpredictable (or as we say, petmalu) events in Philippine media on Timow’s Turf Zeitgeist 2017.

For this year, the Zeitgeist will be similar to a Facebook news feed with like and five reactions that you might side on with the Turf‘s probable reasons.

United for the Crown

Wurtzbach Mittenaere

Television tribalism on the Big 3 stopped temporarily since two years ago when on January 30, the 65th Miss Universe was held in the Mall of Asia Arena in which Miss France Iris Mittenaire succeeded Pia Wurtzbach in the title. The next edition, where Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was crowned, on November 27 did not do the joint pooling.

Possible Reactions & Reasons:

  • Love & Wow: It was a rare moment for the Big 3 to unite for a common purpose, aside from certain events such as the annual State of the Nation Address.
  • Sad: Local bets Maxine Medina landed at Top 6 (January) and Rachel Peters landed worse at Top 10 (November).

Government-Owned Radio Overhaul

PBS2017The first full year of the Duterte presidency saw the staggering process of state radio reform under the Philippine Broadcasting Service.

Envisioned by PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar and supervised by Bong “Sonny B” Aportadera to match those from the BBC in the UK, they launched their brands anew, chronologically: FM2 104.3 MHz, RP1 738 kHz and RP2 918 kHz. Since November 1, FM1 87.5 is currently under test broadcast and now waiting for the formal launch.

Possible Reactions & Reasons:

  • Love: FM2 104.3 knocked out Retro 105.9 as the “classics authority.”
  • Wow: As part of the reform, the refurbishment of radio equipment was able to compete with commercial counterparts. Not to mention, in both AM and FM, their radio representation reached Top 10 (according to Nielsen) as of 3rd quarter this year.
  • Angry: Die-hard icons of the President became part of the roster of personalities such as the three of four Tulfo brothers and Alex Santos on RP1. Well, what can you really expect from a state-owned media enterprise?

To be fair, FM2 would have been the Turf’s Best FM Radio Station of the Year but due to some flaws, it is classified No. 2 on the books; better luck next time. Speaking of state-owned media enterprise

Para sa Bayan o Para sa Pangulo?

PTV logo 2017 (without wordmark)

As part of state-owned media reform, this year, PTV made substantial operational and programming changes:

  • While awaiting the reorganization of PTV as promised on the first State of the Nation Address last year but they fulfilled one specific goal: Salaam TV was launched as a digital TV subchannel last July.
  • On the main channel, they aired the CGTN block, which reflects the archetype of President Duterte’s foreign policy pivot.
  • As the presidential propaganda station, they covered just one episode of Mula Sa Para, Para Sa Masa presented by Rocky Ignacio, which is replaced with Sa Totoo Lang with Erwin Tulfo.
  • In the public service aspect, Damayan returned after a seven-year hiatus as Damayan Ngayon with William Thio and Emily Katigbak.

By April 2018, PTV is announced to air NHK educational TV programs.

Possible Reactions & Reasons

  • Love: In the eyes of the subservient herd, their feelings/emotions are unconditional.
  • Haha: For the rationalists, PTV’s reforms are still very different from being a fully-fledged public broadcaster like the BBC. During the ASEAN Summit last November, Sass Sasot made a scene against BBC correspondent Jonathan Head but got her airtime from PTV. The colleagues were also given a show months prior on this network. Not to mention, Vasra has a lapsed marketing division. (CLUE: Look at the billboard provided here; it’s directed to Erwin Tulfo’s social media handles.)
  • Angry & Sad: With overhaul comes with the cost; Xiao Chua and Kathy San Gabriel were formally and informally discharged while replacing it with lackeys like the Tulfo brothers and Alex Santos.
  • Sad: Philippines Football League fans were disappointed with the televised coverage within two months of the inaugural season due to the usual Presidential engagements.
  • Wow: Sports fans were shocked to see the return of SEA Games coverage on this network after 10 years.

Light Network goes Digital

light-network-goes-digital

In light of the Digital Television Summit led by former DICT Sec. Rodolfo Salalima that extends the analog shutdown to 2023, Light Channel 33 formally ceased analog transmissions on February 28 and began its digital transmissions the following day.

Possible Reactions & Reasons

  • Wow: NET25’s loyal base was shocked that an underdog beat them after years of DTV experimentation.
  • Love: DTV enthusiasts were enthralled by their move and hoping that the rest of the channels would catch up.

Destined to Lose Fans

DTBY

Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza – the duo that formed AlDub in Eat Bulaga – advance their showbiz career together from noontime to primetime with Destined to Be Yours.

While the AlDub hype train beefed up, the performance was mixed. While AGB Nielsen reported a big gain on them on the premiere, Kantar published otherwise with ABS-CBN swept on their first day. Like all other 24 Oras lead-out teleseryes, they didn’t last and conceded to FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

After DTBY, in November, Maine published her open letter stating that she and Alden are “just friends” but it elicited negative responses by heartbroken and speculative fans.

Possible Reactions & Reasons

  • Angry: In DTBY’s premiere, ADN was furious with the Kantar ratings. With the open letter, the chunk of fandom enters their stage of denialism.
  • Sad: Upon reading Maine’s open letter, it seems AlDub Nation’s support was waning and the fans grieving — some were quick to speculate with spreading rumors but some kept the faith by staging a “white rally.” (They wore white shirts and thus, they are very not related to the controversial Charlottesville rally last August.)

A Wish Finally Comes True

Wish 107.5

Wish 107.5 is a radio station associated with UNTV or its religious group, Members Church of God International that produced Ang Dating Daan. Like its AM counterpart, La Verdad 1350, their mobile radio booth, dubbed the Wish Bus, is where bystanders can see performers.

In March, they reached 1 million subscribers in their YouTube channel containing Wishclusive performances, which consequentially earned commercial sponsors in their subsequent auditions, recognition in newspapers and further innovate (e.g. Wish Card) for convenience at faster growth.

Suffice to say, The Turf considers this as the Best FM Station of the Year.

Possible Reactions & Reasons

  • Wow or Love: For its loyal base (aside from the MCGI adherents), they were flattered with appreciation from foreigners’ reaction videos. Such reactions and innovation enhance the reputation of the radio station that goes beyond their walls (of the bus, for that matter).

Inept Basket Case but Not Digitally Behind

The vigilance on IBC 13 remains a staple here on the Turf.

Since March, its free to air coverage is in low power mode, which ended up losing half of the cockfighting shows such as the longest-holding Tukaan.

At first, critics (including the Turf) initially assessed and considered the moribund network as a pariah in terms of digital television transition due to the aforementioned observation, alongside general mismanagement and slow updates on privatization process until last October when they test on Channel 26 and disclosed the said frequency for the first time — much of mixed emotions of chagrin and relief.

Possible Reactions & Reasons

  • Like or Love: For sabong fans, IBC’s loss of half of its concerned programs is TV5’s and S+A’s gain.
  • Wow: El Shaddai members were stunned by the development, their home for 25 years, while their own Channel 35’s progress is stagnant. (Anong masasabi ninyo, mga ka-DBS?)

Ika-6 na Utos sa Ika-6 na Araw

 

The idea of GMA’s famous afternoon kabitserye to extend to Saturday was thought to beIANU an April fool’s joke for the viewers but it was real. Its expansion was successful in knocking out the competitors from Mother Ignacia. The rival did not answer back for It’s Showtime lead-out teleseryes.

Possible Reactions & Reasons

  • Wow: Fans of the show were at first happy with the expansion but some shows concern of burnout for lead stars Gabby Concepcion, Sunshine Dizon and Ryza Cenon.
  • Sad or Angry: For the morally upright, it’s a disappointment. For the critics, it can be summed up in one word: cancerous.

Fantaseryes Pa More

GMA Fantaserye

GMA Telebabad in 2017 marked the sprout of fantaseryes as the 24 Oras’ lead-out show.

After the successful Encantandia requel in 2016 came another with Mulawin vs. Ravena.

Then came the second season (book) of Alyas Robin Hood (portrayed by Dingdong Dantes), the controversial fantaserye that copied CW’s Arrow, premiered and finally, Super Ma’am (portrayed by his wife, Marian Rivera) took over the timeslot thus forming a conjugal back-to-back fantaserye block until ARH’s shorter season ending.

Possible Reactions & Reasons

  • Haha: Repeatedly, critics already made the verdict: aside from relying on old guns, fantaserye spending would take the toll on other rooms for improvement in Timog Avenue, such as digital television testing.
  • Sad: In DongYan’s seryes, it would have been nice if the couple crossed over to make the best story to satiate new taste but it’s just mere wishful thinking since crossovers are not part of the Philippine television culture unlike those in America.

Radyo Kontra pero Pirata

Radyo Kontra Droga 98.3

In May, two suspicious radio stations were DXed in the Metro Manila area, Radyo Kontra Droga 98.3, and Radyo Kontra Weeaboo 107.1. The latter is reported to be split into two in Metro Manila with 89.5 on the North — affecting the frequencies of Wave 89.1 and Magic 89.9.

Possible Reaction & Reason

  • Angry: We have called out NTC for lack of attention and its powers to stop both suspicious stations, the easy payment of fines and light sentences. The solution seems so obvious: well-defined regulations, stiffer fines, and penalties on the concerned laws against such radio piracy.

 

Part II of the series will continue on Friday. Stay tuned.

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10 comments

  1. 1. Competition is good, but too much of a good thing could be bad for you. It would be nice to see some cooperation between the networks more often.
    2. Radio’s going well, but RP1 should have balance. Get Leni Robredo to have a show there and Bob’s your uncle.
    3. PTV sucks up to the president (and going by a recent tweet, former ones – whether to rub him in or no is a question for another day). And I didn’t watch much Xiao Chua, but he was good and entertaining. Security of tenure on PTV should be a must – maybe they can demand it on their contracts?
    4. So lucky. How they managed to get the money, I will never know. (Nothing against JIL, though; they had the biggest anti-pork barrel protest in 2013.)
    5. AlDub fans can be very fanatic, like some members of the alt-right. (Speaking of which, did any of them ever mistake their “white rally” for a “white nationalist rally”?
    6. I have a few fanfictions about MCGI’s media outlets, mixing the situation with a theoretical acquisition of Nine Network Australia (and through that a number of other stories), plus I am formulating a script involving the station with some TV show characters (not telling what). But seriously, this station is good; the question is who’ll be the first to replicate it outside the country?
    7. Making good progress, but if they really want to make it out of the hole, they should get some foreign programs (or at least rerun their library). Monetary equity is also a must – get some foreign investors. As for DBS, they should give up: as Bo Sanchez says, “When life becomes painful, it means God is saying, “I have a better plan for you.” (There was a better quote I saw on a fridge magnet for sale, but I don’t remember it anymore: the essence of it is that if you still can’t do it, it’s a sign from God to give up and do something else.)
    8. Ah, the evolution of firearms on the show. And the memes. As for production, there is big concern of burnout among everybody. But the show has the potential to become the seed of a Mystery Science Theater 3000-style clip show lampooning teleseryes.
    9. Fantaseryes would be better with crossovers, indeed, but it’s not my problem if they don’t get serious about digital television and 16:9 aspect ratios.
    10. Try as you might, our government is inept, and pirate radio is admired in some countries (especially among the far-left in the U.S.).

  2. @Ryan Ortega:
    2. Unfortunately, VP Leni has a weekly radio show on RMN since May.
    3. Few employees have security beyond a presidential term (observed by one plug that an employee worked for 21 years). Others say otherwise.
    4. Tithes and charitable donations, perhaps?
    5. For foreign readers, it can be.
    7. The privatization process is still FREAKING SLOW but in order to get investors, as you wishfully think, it needs CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. On DBS, I would agree and move it to the main subchannel but Bro. Ryan’s gonna kill you and me for this.
    9. Blame it on the nasanay na pandering to the masa’s mindset tactic.

    @Miko: That’s only for a movie. The issue here is on TV.

    1. I know it requires a constitutional amendment to allow foreign investment in the media sector. I say it because it would be useful to gain a foreign partner. But of course, the onus is on the national government to decide whether to go for it.

  3. I agree with Miko Gaid. Encantadia did a crossover as the two characters of the series, Pirena and Lira helped the Mulawins in 4-5 episodes of Mulawin vs Ravena.

    Crossovers was a thing in GMA shows at the time they aired the Anna KareNina reboot, Mundo Mo’y Akin, and My Husband’s Lover in 2013. They should have done that to both DongYan’s respective tv series.

  4. We have another story regarding ASAP themselves that can be included in Part 2, the dominance of ASAP despite the potential loss of the Birit Queens and Soul Sessions segments after the launch of ASAP Jambayan.

    1. Despite that happening, I’m sorry to say this but it won’t be included in Part 2 in a few hours because I wanted to focus on significant findings of other networks but thanks for the contribution.

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