One thing I don’t like about masa stations in general is how they all sound the same: DJ’s with names that are as ridiculous as their supposed on-air “personalities”, playlists containing the same set of old yet overused songs from the last 3 decades getting played just about every hour day in and day out, and of course the giggling raksasas creeping in the background and stingers of women sexually hungry for an orgasm.
Of course, one particular station has been an exception to the rule. DM 95-5/Pinas FM has been on the air for a few years now and is a rare case among masa stations as it’s not all into gimmickry nor is into the habit of insulting the intelligence of its listeners, a regular weekday playlist that’s more up-to-date than those countless cycles of A1’s “Like a Rose”, and most of all, its on-air personalities are more real hence a lot natural sounding than anyone from the other masa stations combined (sorry Papa Jack, isa ka pa. May tiyanak kang nakatago sa ilalim ng booth mo).
I can’t say the same thing with one that has recently joined the masa-fold. Aliw Broadcasting’s 97.9 Home Radio Manila, as well as its entire FM network underwent a major retooling by ditching out its well-known easy listening format (soft adult contemporary) to a masa-based one (hot adult contemporary). Complete with a mostly retained line-up of jocks whose names were altered to fit with the new format, as well as a tagline to boost (“Natural!”), the new Home Radio is certain to not break the barriers at all in a top radio market that is heavily filled and dominated by an oversaturated radio station format (shared by at least more than half a dozen FM stations serving Manila-based listeners alone).
I’m someone who is actually easy to please but the last thing I want to tune in to from my mobile radio is another station that’s not gonna offer anything new nor exciting to the table except sex jokes, and not so natural spiels. For the past five years, I have lost as a listener quite a number of iconic radio stations that were scrapped by the higher powers in favor of a format that is sure to bring in revenues. I didn’t expect Home to even change face at all as I’ve read that it had a fairly good standing in the ratings. I guess the operating costs of maintaining Home have exceeded the revenues Aliw is earning from its FM division. But this is no reason to justify all the unnecessary changes in order to keep up with the competition.
For starters, WHY the need to keep the Home Radio brand instead of going for a new name? Brand recognition, perhaps? It’s not gonna be brand recognition anyway when all existing Home Radio listeners hear is something that’s completely off-brand in the first place.
Home as a brand is identified to long-time listeners as representative to the station’s signature sound, which in Manila alone is its easy-listening format. In markets such as Cebu and Davao, Home there leans more on Top 40. Thus, sticking with the name yet departing on the format on which the brand was built on is such a head-scratcher. Are TPTB really expecting for existing listeners to keep holding on to a station they barely recognize now? Sure, there will be those who will just condone and keep supporting the station in reasons that “It’s still Home Radio guys. It still has the same DJ’s but with different names now”.
I call BS on that line of thinking.
Betrayed listeners are disenfranchised listeners. Nothing’s gonna change about that but for management to still keep the name over a new brand to represent the over-all format flip of Home Radio is adding insult to injury, like a kilo of salt poured over an open-wound, bleeding out continuously to death.
In the days leading to the format-flip, I kinda ripped Home Radio’s Facebook page to shreds, calling them out and giving them a piece of my mind. Not just on Home Radio Manila’s page, but also that of Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro’s.
I didn’t expect any of those pages to respond actually as I’ve long convinced myself they will not answer to anyone who post anything that aren’t accepting to the changes. But lo and behold, this morning (26 March), the admin of the Home Radio CDO’s Facebook page have responded to my post on their timeline.
This is likely coming from Home Radio CDO’s station manager who may have had free time to check out the only reply posted under one of their more recent message threads. He gave me an explanation, I replied to him back. He responded again, and I fired back in return. Funny that by my latest response that day, he no longer answered back as either he realized it’s not worth arguing with me or I may have just raised my point and that simply shut him up (the page itself is barely active but it is definitely legit). Time will tell if I’m gonna hear from him again.
Radio as a whole has to evolve to remain relevant and competitive. In order to do so, it needs not to lower itself and insult its audience through antics and gimmickry but just being real. Let us be clear that I have no problems with stations using the local vernacular as an on-air language, but what gripes me is everything else that makes masa radio so toxic and cancerous.
Flipping to a more profitable format may get the people running Home Radio some much needed quick cash, but it’s going to further destroy what’s left in Manila FM radio’s decreasing variety, destroy much of whatever’s left of the musical taste of the new generation of listeners and probably lead us to a society where everyone is going to sound like one b!tchy Nicolehyala.
Manila radio alone is going to dogs if those radio executives can’t get their shizzles together.