Well, here we go again. Another radio station launch. This time, it’s U92, a pop station taking over the frequency that, as of this writing, is being held by “smooth variety” station XFM 92.3. Yup, the same station that played chillout and electronica during one of its more interesting stages, and before that, as jazz-retro station 923 Joey.
A lot’s happened to that frequency since I stopped writing about radio on the blog. The chillout format, as we all know, didn’t last, and eventually NU 107‘s Mike Pedero came in to devise a smooth jazz format. In recent months, it’s evolved into what he called a “smooth variety” format, focusing on more accessible, upbeat, yet smooth tracks targeted towards females. But financially, the station wasn’t apparently performing well, and station owners NBC were looking for new ways to generate profits. The decision was made to terminate the station and transfer programming duties to a blocktimer. Cue Francis Lumen, currently head of All Youth Networks, the company in charge of MTV Philippines. He’s taking over, with a pop format that’s obviously very much tied in to the cable channel.
The station launches tomorrow, with an interesting mix of personalities, including former MTV VJs KC Montero, Cesca Litton, Marc Abaya and Sarah Meier; current MTV VJ Sib; Wave 89.1‘s Jimmy Muna, 99.5 RT‘s Joshua Yu, and perhaps the most surprising of all, the Brewrats – Tado, Ramon Bautista and Angel Rivero, who recently headed the breakfast slot on the resurrected RT after working the late shift on three iterations of the frequency. I’ve yet to gether details – apparently a print ad came out earlier – but tomorrow, I’ll be live-blogging here, talking about the station’s first twelve hours. Surely there’ll be discussion over at PinoyExchange. Let’s see how this goes.
The push for new voters in the upcoming 2010 presidential elections has been in full swing, and for good reason: for many, there is a lot in stake in the upcoming polls, like it’s been in the past years. While registration has been more widely known unlike three years ago, things haven’t exactly gone smoothly. The following account is from Katrina Gomez, who talks about how inconsistent voters’ registration can be depending on where you are. Currently a student of the De La Salle University, she blogged about the last two Student Council elections here.
So today was supposed to be the day: voter’s registration. As in, I blocked off my calendar and all. I was told that all I needed were a valid ID and my voter’s registration form. So I brought my DLSU ID and my passport and the registration form being distributed at school. My mom and my sis did the same.
I didn’t count on the COMELEC office somehow thinking otherwise. Actually, I had a bad feeling upon entering the premises within the Makati fire station. The place looked like something straight out of Left for Dead: dark, twisting and nothing like the office of an institution seeking automation…
At the risk of sounding insensitive, I thought the procession from the Manila Cathedral to the Manila Memorial Park felt like some sort of spectator sport. A race, even.
While I expected that the final transfer of the body of former president Cory Aquino would take long – a return of sorts to 1983, when her husband, Ninoy Aquino, was laid to rest – I was somehow hoping that she get to her final destination quicker. I figured it would finally put her to rest, after a life spent on the spotlight, more so in the days before and after her death. But, I figured, it’s not going to happen, not when hundreds of thousands of grateful Filipinos flock to pay their last respects to the woman who’s made what we are as a country possible.
And indeed, it happened. As I type this, the convoy has finally entered the Sucat exit, and the final stretch of the journey. Police estimate that at least 300,000 people have come to watch this, watching by the sidelines, flashing the Laban! sign, throwing the prerequisite yellow confetti, chanting Cory’s name along the way. Many times did the convoy find the need to slow down and give everyone a chance to not just look.
It was no surprise that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address – supposedly her final, unless she actually extends her term like most fear – would end up becoming a trending topic on Twitter. I am one of those responsible, with many media outfits, political pundits and common Filipinos turning to the microblogging service to list down talking points, express their thoughts, argue with other tweeters, discuss fashion styles, and count number of applauses. Nobody got it right the first time.
Perhaps the most annoying part is, two-thirds through the speech, most media outfits have disappeared. Twitter has hourly tweeting limits for almost everyone, unless you file for special consideration. Thus, we disappeared – the pundits, the media, and heavy tweeters like me. As I write this, I still can’t post anything, and it’s been forty minutes. I call this a Twitter fail.
But it’s quite an amazing thing, being on Twitter and posting whatever we can hear. Before the feisty speech, which had more jibes (and, as Alyssa put it, blind items) against her critics than her other SONAs, I’ve been seeing many folks post (and repost) updates as they see it. The Philippine Daily Inquirer had their photographers tweet their photos. The PCIJ were throwing in bits of analysis. Pundit Manuel Quezon III was throwing in his thoughts as well. And those are just the people that I followed during the past three hours – and, in some cases, retweeted what I tweeted, or at least the stuff I heard from DZMM.
I first heard news of Michael Jackson‘s death during my daily work commute, and my mind quickly returned to my work on the previous season of American Idol, one week of which was dedicated to his songs. One idea led to another, and it culminated in this article, which was thankfully given a go-signal and eventually first published on BuddyTV shortly after his death was officially confirmed.
The feeble connection with American Idol is, of course, the very first week of the finals of the past season. “Tonight, we’re celebrating the hits of Michael Jackson,” Ryan Seacrest said, before the Top 13 kicked off their trips to stardom singing songs from the so-called King of Pop. (That episode will be aired again this Monday from 8pm on Fox.) I’m just in my early 20s, and I’ll admit to being too young during his heyday, so watching that show was quite a revelation: “I didn’t know he sang that!” was my most prominent line, once song after song after song started to sound so familiar.
I suddenly remembered that when news of the musician’s death started filtering through. The sketchy details – of him suffering a heart attack, of being found not breathing in his home, of him being brought to a Los Angeles hospital – gave way to unconfirmed detail after unconfirmed detail after confirmed detail. And then, the tributes, in 140-character bursts, from celebrities to my friends who, for the most part, were too young to have a grasp of his hits.
It was a Wednesday. As always, I was in front of my work computer, wondering how the heck I finished all of my tasks early. I got a message from Carmel – who works somewhere within DLSU – announcing that classes have been suspended until 14 June.
Actually, I initially thought that the Independence Day break was extended, until I realized that the date given was a Sunday. Was the school breaking apart? It was raining hard, after all, although the possibility of a part of the school breaking apart because of the weather was less than nil. So, obviously, I asked why.
“Alam mo ba kung bakit wala?” she responded. Those words felt like it was something pretty big.
I was looking at the screen more closely than usual. I was coming off a pretty big surprise moments ago, when my predictions – which have been right for most of the past few weeks – have gone seriously off kilter. Three people remained standing, and another verdict was to be delivered.
“Adam, you are safe.”
Yeah, that was a given. It’s always been that way for most of the past few weeks, expect for the week before, when he surprisingly appeared on the bottom three. But that wasn’t the purpose of the moment. In my five years of watching American Idol – the first two seasons weren’t aired in the Philippines – I’ve never felt so nervous about what was going to happen in the next two minutes.