broadcasting ethics

We Deserve Teleseryes Better

LAST MONDAY, GMA Afternoon Prime teleserye Haplos skipped the remainder of the episode to cover President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA). From the Tube’s Ralph Domingo wished that the remainder would carry over but instead they skipped the said episode entirely and moved on without the network’s public apology.

This recent incident, coupled with Albert Brian Gimao’s threefold request, made us realized why teleseryes are so relevant in the age of rising demands of quality.

The current landscape of our teleserye industry, specifically found in South Triangle, ranges from

  • Chronologically, late morning (Ikaw Lang Ang Iibigin) to evening (A Love To Last)
  • Demographically, youth-oriented (Trops) to adult-oriented (Ika-6 na Utos)
  • Generally, fantasy (Mulawin vs. Ravena) to reality (Ang Probinsyano)
  • Specifically, romance (A Love to Last) to action (Ang Probinsyano, again)

Then, tried-and-tested conformity began to swoop in with clichés (e.g. slapping scene, amnesia scene, zooming in) and cast love teams at the expense of their creative freedom juices and the intelligence of the audience — all for the sake of bottom line.

Some of their finished products are probably rated SPG (per episode basis), which is inconsiderate to children whose classes are in different shift and both networks do not focus on other genres such as crime thrillers or professional kind of shows.

What are much worse were the production staff’s repercussions; remember what happened to Francis Pasion after directing JaDine’s On the Wings of Love last year? He died nine days after the finale due to cardiac arrest for overworking fatigue. This has led to the issuance of an advisory from the Department of Labor and Employment to limit the time for TV industry workers to 12 hours a day last year but the mother network, ABS-CBN, filed a temporary restraining order – a desperate act, in the eyes of critics, of greed.

With that, last month, Twitter user @sPAULArium was not pleased with the said quality based on aforementioned state and flooded her grievances in a thread.

She suggested that teleseryes, particularly in primetime, should go on a weekly basis from daily like those in the United States and in Japan. South Korean dramas practiced it as they grouped into two: Monday-Tuesday and Wednesday-Thursday. The Turf already proposed the gradual frequency reduction from the current weekdays until it reaches up to that frequency.

While netizens mostly praised Paula with civility, actress Bela Padilla defended the local industry as her projects made millions “happy.” To be honest, Bela may have more roles to be written in her resume but she should get real by opening her eyes, hearing the other side of the audience and stop living in the confined mediocrity.

What the giants in South Triangle did is overemphasizing the usual sector of their target market: female, 35+ and pang-masa (class CDE). They do not realize that trends and preferences continue to change over time, with or without predictability.

In the end, the common goal in this unavoidable and mediocre duopoly – as indeed expressed on the netizen’s thread — is their bottom line and ratings braggadocio. Hence, we termed it as “cancer.”

This status quo of teleserye led others to defect and to find an alternative modes of entertainment.

This is why James Ty III never looked onto it and rather focused on his favorite day, Sunday.

This is why Christian Arceo no longer entertained with them after 15 years and moved on to anime and sports.

This is why Kevin Trinidad renounced and ditched them unreservedly in favor of Netflix.

Indeed, we deserve it better but the question is, “When will it ever be heard?”


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Anyare sa Ating Alamin? (and How the Palakasan System Killed It)

Kabayan, kilala mo ba siya? Ang palabas niya’y isa ring biktima rin ng sistema ng palakasan.

[This post is dedicated to Team ex-PTV & former Philippine Broadcasting Service talents.]

LAST JUNE, as People’s Television (PTV) dressed anew, one of its personalities was axed after 11 years. Ms. Kathy San Gabriel was fired through a text message without giving her the chance to say goodbye in front of the camera.

Her colleagues on the firm went on different approaches: Xiao Chua (who was given the sack with honor two months before) comforted her over the unprofessional dismissal and called on justice through different social media platforms. Snow Badua triggered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the network two years ago (between him and Alberto Marbella) and harangued insanely all over Facebook and Twitter. Atty. JJ Jimeno-Atienza kept hushed, as she is not much in the spotlight. However, Kirby Cristobal resigned quietly and voluntarily prior to the publicized scandal. In his resignation letter, he exposed the hunch that the internal “palakasan” system was revived within Visayas Avenue’s workplace culture.

This gave the Turf the reason to reflect Cristobal’s exposé but it will focus on one of the TV programs than the personalities of the station for another case.

Look at the example of Ating Alamin – the 36-year-old agricultural, livelihood and entrepreneurial show that crisscrossed four TV networks by Adolfo “Ka Gerry” R. Geronimo. How is the show now and how it became a victim of the palakasan culture?

(more…)

Of Radyo Kontra Droga 98.3 FM and of the Anti-Pirate Radio Law

[Requested by Ian Santos]

[DISCLAIMER: This post is neither associated with Radyo Kontra Droga nor with the National Telecommunications Commission. It is for information and educational purposes only.]

Ron Cruz (sitting, in white) is the mastermind behind Radyo Kontra Droga 98.3 FM in Manila. The station was acclaimed as pirated upon receipt from the PHRadio Group.

IS THE WRITING on the wall happening for a pirated radio station?

According to a post shared in the PHRadio Group this past week, a letter from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) was received dated April 19. However, the originating post from the Facebook account (not as a page) obscured the content of the letter. Members of the group answered it either as a note of final warning or a letter of cease and desist (C&D) order.

Patrick Chin shared this post from Kontra Droga (as an account) showing the letter from the National Telecommunications Commission.

However, the exposed preliminary parts of the letter were given the suspicions. The recipient was addressed to a certain Mr. Ron Cruz who owned “Radyo Kontra Droga” 98.3 FM in Paco, Manila. The e-mail address obviously used those from his actual business, Ultralite Solar Power Hauz, on with the same location, which was promoted in Unang Hirit (GMA) and Bandila (ABS-CBN) more than two years ago.

Delving on the web, the Metro Manila’s FM frequencies are all occupied and 98.3 MHz is not even registered and licensed to permit by the NTC, not given a legitimate franchise from Congress and no publicity was ever recognized to the public.

The Turf reasoned deductively that when their daytime operating hours of the solar panel establishment is done, they would be converted into an underground radio station, commencing daily operation from 9:00 p.m. until the wee hours of the morning.

According to Ian Santos, he believed that they are not classified as a low-power station (≤20 watts) as he estimated the transmission power of 250-500 watts.

In short, they operate a clandestine pirate station. They are illegal under Act No. 3846 and it may interfere their neighbors’ frequencies. In this case, it may affect Home Radio 97.9 and the classical music station DZFE 98.7.

So, how will they stop and taste the arm of the law?

Learn from the news item from UNTV’s Ito Ang Balita last July 8, 2013.

The police and the NTC will raid and padlock the premises and confiscate their equipment. If the erring personnel have been named and have been known, they will be fined 300 pesos and will be sentenced for three months in jail.

In this case, so much for being the die-hard supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte (or DDS) like Mr. Cruz that they can’t even discipline themselves, especially in complying the common broadcast laws. That said, their new slogan upon their hopeful prevailing justice will be taunted vocally, “Kontra droga pa man, pirata pala naman” or possibly place a cardboard written in a permanent marker, “Pirata ako, ‘wag tularan.”

However, the Turf is not done just yet, because we need to share the thoughts on how that anti-pirate radio law is working this year:

It’s lamentable how the said penalty imposed a ridiculous amount and term is fined and served right now since it was passed back then: P 300 before is worth thousands of pesos in today’s terms and three months — classified under arresto mayor — is rather a short sentence for an imprisonment over this nominal delict.

Although the Congress has the constitutional right to amend the existing law to impose even more stiff penalties on radio piracy, the author thinks that they have to serve progressively up to prision correcional (up to six years).

Nevertheless, the monitoring of unexpected happenings in the radio spectrum shall not cease after this case is solved.


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Photos courtesy of Facebook. Screenshot courtesy of the author.