As government-owned 104.3 Business Radio relaunches as FM2 since February 2, the FM landscape in the Metro has become more and more competitive. As for the FM brands like Brigada, Oomph, Mom’s and Wild, having a full-powered FM frequency in Metro Manila is very far from being possible, thanks to the tough competition on Manila airwaves.
Manileños even want Bombo Radyo or even 8TriMedia to set up an AM station due to available AM frequencies. So, here are the reasons why I think Brigada, Oomph, Mom’s and Wild deserve a full-powered FM frequency in Metro Manila.
The first network is Brigada News FM. They’re so close, but yet so far. Why? They’re broadcasting on 104.7 out of Batangas, transmits from Mt. Banoy from Batangas and its signal in the Metro is somewhat weak, despite its 25,000-watt transmitter power, Makati studios and prominent personalities. They’re the supposed alternative from the already-established Radyo5 92.3 News FM despite the obvious problems from PBA to reluctance to air important news stories in favor of regular programming to vacant slots filled with Easy Rock-esque music, but the signal is hampering those hopes. Brigada airs your typical news/talk format, commonly heard on AM, in the mornings and on late afternoon, and airs music programming similar to masa stations on the rest of the broadcast day, plus programs from the company-owned Brigada Healthline like Lunch Date and Drivemax Nationwide (sponsored by Guard-C and Drivemax), as well as Brigada News program (sponsored by the company’s flagship product Powercells Herbal Capsule). Brigada might be successful in areas like Metro Cebu, Zamboanga, Koronadal or its home base in General Santos, but as far as Metro Manila is concerned, it might not happen anytime soon unless one of the low-rated FM stations might consider selling their station to Brigada Mass Media Corporation. If that happens, Brigada might give Radyo5 a run for its money.
The second network that I think deserve a full-powered Metro Manila FM frequency is Viva Live’s Oomph! Radio. After acquiring Ultimate Entertainment’s franchise, Viva Live invested on Ultimate’s three FM stations and gave them a fresh start as Oomph! Radio. The three stations briefly struggled last year as they dropped Oomph! branding and began to brand as UR (in Cebu and Davao) or UE (in Zamboanga) and added classic hits, but their station in Davao struggled the most, in part due to the dominance of Wild 92.3 WT on the CHR/OPM format, and the departure of the jocks (from now-defunct 105.9 Mix FM) who made Oomph! Radio possible. The Oomph! branding returned last July and are now gaining back lost momentum. As far as having Oomph! in Metro Manila, the station might give 97.9 Home Radio a run for its money, but with the CHR market getting more and more competitive and with the impending launch of government-owned FM1 on 87.5, Viva should be cautious on investing a Metro Manila FM station.
The third network is Solar-owned Mom’s Radio. The relaunched and re-energized Mom’s Radio, now partnered with Estima, have recaptured the hearts of mommies in Cebu, Davao and Bacolod, just like the first incarnation of Mom’s Radio a decade ago, with better and newer programming. Just recently, Mom’s Radio flagship morning program “Breakfast With Moms” is also aired on Solar-owned home hopping channel Shop TV, aside from its stations in Cebu, Bacolod and Davao, and was dubbed as “the first radio program to air on national television”, but radio and TV critics were quick to dispute that claim. As far as getting a Metro Manila FM station, introducing Mom’s Radio to Manileños via Shop TV is a good start, but as far as Solar is concerned, they might wait for a right time to purchase a low-rated Metro Manila FM station soon.
The fourth network Manileños want to hear is the already-popular Wild FM, owned by Davao-based University of Mindanao Broadcasting Network (UMBN). After finding success in Davao City just years after the EDSA People Power Revolution thanks to its CHR format and the popular dance re-mixes, Wild FM expanded to places like General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Iligan, Zamboanga (now known as Mango Radio), Valencia, Bukidnon, Cebu (now known as Retro Cebu) and Bacolod (now in Iloilo), and proved to be popular in those markets. As far as Manila airwaves is concerned, Wild FM might be successful among Mindanaoans and Ilonggos, as well as Cebuanos living in Metro Manila, but as far as Manila’s already-competitive CHR market is concerned, it might easily outrank its already-established competition in the CHR format thanks to its hybrid CHR/Dance/OPM format, as long as UMBN has enough money to invest a Metro Manila FM station.
These FM networks might have a bright future ahead, but as far as Manila airwaves is concerned, they’re already overcrowded and the FM networks mentioned above might have a hard time penetrating the hearts of Metro Manila listeners anytime soon. Libre ngang mangarap, pero hanggang blueprint lang ang post na ito.