More FM Networks Manileños Want To Hear

This is part two of my series regarding provincial networks that Manileños want to hear.

Everybody was surprised last June 30 when Home Radio went back to the thing that they were known for – being the #1 easy listening station, just three years after the ill-fated attempt to reformat to the masa format, and didn’t click at all after few months, and later becoming a CHR local station, but with varied results.

Without further adieu, I will continue with the series, with an update on one of my entries, concerning a certain station of Viva Live.

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After a disastrous attempt on being a Top 40 station, Viva Live decided to reformat Oomph! Radio into an all-OPM FM station named Halo-Halo Radio. (DISCLAIMER: The photo used is from 105.1 Halo-Halo Radio Cebu) (SOURCE: Viva Live)

Last time, I mentioned that Manileños want to hear Oomph! Radio just five months ago. Oh well, times have changed. Enter Viva Live’s Halo-Halo Radio. Similar to Pinas FM 95.5 of Eagle Broadcasting Corporation, Halo-Halo Radio plays only OPM hits throughout its broadcast day. It is currently available in Metro Cebu, Metro Davao and Zamboanga City. If Viva Live managed to secure a full-powered FM station in Metro Manila sometime in the future, we’re sure that Halo-Halo Radio will surely give Pinas FM its only all-OPM competitor.

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Puerto Princesa-based Radyo Bandera Network, founded by Elgin Robert Damasco, a former radio personality of RMN Gensan and Brigada News FM Puerto Princesa, emerged as the biggest threat to Brigada News FM’s superiority on the provincial news FM market, expanding to both big and small markets across the country within just over a year. (SOURCE: Radyo Bandera Network)

Another news FM outlet. Do I need to say more? Enter Radyo Bandera (no relation to the Inquirer-owned Bandera tabloid). It is actually based in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, founded by another anchor-turned-media conglomerate owner Elgin Robert Damasco. After working in various radio stations in his native General Santos City and Puerto Princesa City (including a stint with Brigada News FM Puerto Princesa, owned by another Gensan native Elmer Catulpos), he launched Radyo Bandera and was serious to take on the news FM outlets in Puerto Princesa. He even expanded his network across Palawan and Mindanao (including his native General Santos City), put up a TV station in Puerto Princesa, and expanded his output in Visayas and putting one within Metro Manila’s doorstep, in Olongapo City. The closest station Manileños will hear a Radyo Bandera News FM station is in Olongapo, and is at 107.1 MHz, but good luck trying to receive that station, thanks to a pirate FM station invading the airwaves in Metro Manila, at 107.1 MHz playing Japanese music and even freaking Morse Code. The name is Radyo Kontra Weeaboo. Back to Radyo Bandera, since the airwaves in Metro Manila is way too crowded, they should do the same stop-gap solution Brigada News FM employed in Metro Manila with stations in Batangas, Pampanga and Olongapo, should they decide to expand to Metro Manila. Good luck with that anyway.

Just like the stations I’ve mentioned in the first part, I wish them the best of luck in trying to deal with Metro Manila’s already-overcrowded FM dial.

More FM Networks Manileños Want To Hear

Brigada’s Success Explained

Looks like 2016 really is a good year for Brigada after all. For anyone curious on what station they really are, Brigada News FM’s format is actually a hybrid of an AM station and a FM station airing the Hot Adult Contemporary format, well-known in the country as “masa”. Brigada Healthline might be their main advertiser, it is also sought after by advertisers after they heard the success of some of their stations.

If you wondered why Brigada News FM is considered an underdog by listeners in the Metro thanks to their weak signal, we need to take a look further on their success elsewhere.

The signal of 104.7 Brigada News FM National might be weak in parts of Metro Manila, it dominated the airwaves on its home market, Batangas, where the frequency is currently licensed. BNFM National proved on the 2015 Kantar Media survey to do just that.

Following the success in Batangas, the success went to the south and found its way to South Cotabato. 95.7 Brigada News FM Koronadal dominated the airwaves after that station was proclaimed overall #1 radio station on that market, based on the 2015 Kantar Media survey, besting more established names like RMN, Love Radio and Bombo Radyo.

Afterwards, the success found its way to Zamboanga. Just last February, 89.9 Brigada News FM Zamboanga became the overall #1 radio station on that market, also based on Kantar survey. It even beat some established names like RMN, Yes FM, MOR, iFM and Star FM. The news FM market in Zamboanga might be competitive (89.9 BNFM vs. e-Media News FM 105.9), but Brigada proved its worth.

And it continued on the place that started it all, General Santos. Just last summer, Nielsen proclaimed 89.5 Brigada News FM as the overall #1 radio station on that market. Not just that, it even defended that title as Nielsen proclaimed just last November that BNFM Gensan is still the overall #1 radio station. It even bested RMN, Bombo Radyo, Radyo Ronda, iFM, MOR, Home Radio, Wild FM, Love Radio, Barangay and Magic to do just that.

And it even continued to the Queen City of the South, Cebu City, considered as one of the largest and most competitive radio markets in the country. 93.1 Brigada News FM Cebu proved to itself last November that the said station became the #1 FM station in Metro Cebu, besting Barangay RT and MOR, who were battling for the #1 spot for years. Not even that, Brigada even destroyed Radyo5 101.9 News FM Cebu out of the Top 10, based on data from Kantar Media. RMN might dominate Cebu’s airwaves, for now, but other stations have considered Brigada News FM Cebu as one of the competition on one of the most competitive radio markets in the country.

Perhaps we should tell the story of Brigada’s success in markets where they’re not the #1 FM station, preferably the ones where they dominated the news FM category. In Davao, on the recent Kantar Media survey released this month, MOR might be #1 on the market, 91.5 Brigada News FM Davao, despite being ranked #7 on the FM band based on the station’s ratings, it even beat Radyo5 101.9 News FM, as the news FM leader on the most competitive news FM markets in the country. Not just that, they also beat 94.7 One Radio – Radyo Ni Juan, 105.9 Balita FM (reported to be inactive since end-September), and 98.7 Home Radio News FM (recently entered on the news FM market this year as a hybrid news radio/Top 40 station). BNFM Davao knocked out its competition out of Top 10 on Kantar survey, even behind Top 40 stations Monster Radio BT 99.5 and Magic 89.1, who ranked #11 and #12, respectively. In Kidapawan, North Cotabato, 97.5 Brigada News FM Kidapawan, despite being #2 overall where 88.7 Happy FM became #1 based on Kantar Media survey last February, they dominated the news FM segment on that city, beating 107.9 One Radio – Radyo Ni Juan and UMBN’s 92.9 Radyo Ukay (simulcasting its sister station Radyo Ukay 1089 AM).

There are some signs that 102.5 Brigada News FM Cagayan de Oro might beat 99.9 Magnum Radio, but time would tell if they did just that.

Manila will still think that Radyo5 have set the standard of the news FM station in the country and they still think so. Radyo5 might have started the trend back in 2010, but an unknown brand out of General Santos City, Brigada News FM, did revolutionize the news FM format that the people loved. Dumarami nga ang mga news FM stations na nagsusulputan like Muews Radio (with stations in most minor markets and Iligan being its significant major market), One Radio – Radyo Ni Juan (based in Davao and has stations in Davao Region and in North Cotabato) and Radyo Bandera (based in Palawan with stations in Puerto Princesa, General Santos, Bukidnon and Sultan Kudarat), but no one can match the success Brigada has achieved in the past two years.

For Manileños who still doubt Brigada’s success in the provinces, time will tell when Brigada would make an impact on the already-crowded airwaves. I repeat, time will tell, and a full-powered frequency to boot.

Brigada’s Success Explained