Dynamic radio broadcasting formats

By : Uriel Quilinguing Mindanao Today/10:09:17am 07/27/2021


(Note: This news article was published in the print edition of Mindanao Today on July 13, 2021)

In the last decade, the top spot in media ratings among FM radio stations in Cagayan de Oro, released on quarterly basis, was between two radio stations--either Magnum Radio or MOR of ABS-CBN. Aside from the two, those in the upper half of the 14 broadcasting stations, are almost predictable.

Unexpected events in 2020, however, are making radio broadcasting formats this year, and the months ahead, even more interesting to watch.

First, the closure of MOR (99.9 DXEC-FM) as a consequence of lawmakers refusal to renew its mother company’s legislative franchise opened its audience of avid listeners and advertisers to other players in the local market.

Second, the suspension of face-to-face classes due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, particularly in basic education, provided an opportunity for radio stations to share a captive audience though radio-based self-learning modules.

And, third, restrictions in gatherings to contain Covid-19 infections compelled many churches to go buy airtime in radio and television stations, aside from going virtual through social media, to reach their church members and devotees.

Now, for Magnum Radio (DXRK 99.9FM) to top Kantar Media Ratings during second quarter (Q2) this year could be a forgone conclusion even before its 49.94% share of FM radio stations audience was disclosed. Nielsen Media Research also placed Magnum Radio on top in its ratings during the first quarter (Q1) this year.

With MOR out of contention, the second-rank in the Q2 was anybody’s guess. Kantar has iFM (DXVM 99.1FM) on it with 17.33% share and Wild Zee (DXWZ 94.3FM) on third far behind with 8.63% share of listeners. But it was the other way around in Nielsen’s during Q1 with the latter on the No. 2 spot.

The 4th and 5th rankings were a bit tight with Win Radio (DXNY 107.9) getting 6.93% and Marian Radio’s Radyo Bandera (DXBC 103.9) ) with 5.17% while Mellow Touch (DXBL 95.7) and Home Radio (DXQR 93.5) took the 6th and 7th, respectively.

Not in the top 7 of Kantar ratings are Strong Radio (90.3), Brigada News (102.5), and Radyo Ultra (1188) which used to be on the upper half of all FM radio stations. Aside from these, there are Radyo Natin (106.3), Magic (89.3), and Campus Radio (100.7).

Views from the South finds Radyo Bandera in the top 7, for the first time since it went on air four years ago, of utmost interest.

“We’re so happy to be No. 5 even without promos,” Fr. Juliano Retiquez, the founding chairman and station manager of Marian Radio said.

Fr. Retiquez said that aside from experienced broadcasters, live broadcasts of religious activities during the Lenten season and the regular airing of daily masses, must have improved listenership.

He recalled that Marian Radio had a marathon coverage, from Last Supper to Seven Last Words, then Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and finally “Sugat”—all covered and aired live during the Holy Week.

The archdiocesan director for social communications, Fr. Der John Faborada shared Fr. Retiquez’ claims, saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has not only encouraged the elderlies, persons with disabilities and even teens to hear masses via radio broadcasts and online but the general public as well.

“Since the start of the (Covid-19) lockdowns, our daily morning and noon masses at the Cathedral are aired live through Marian Radio,” Fr. Favorada said.

More and more used to be churchgoers have been reciting this: “My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already here, and unite myself wholly to You. Amen. ”

Views from the South can now say that those behind the Kantar Media Ratings for Q2 must have factored these live coverage of religious activities in, hence Marian Radio finally made it to the upper half of all FM radio stations in the city in the Q2.

In the coming months, radio broadcasting formats may have to be re-examined. Aside from the three enumerated earlier, there is a need for balancing acts on day-to-day reportage and commentaries on the forthcoming electoral process and unfolding of partisan intramurals, notwithstanding the airing of political ads and block-time programs.

Relevant and timely news, commentaries and airing of Covid-19 related discussions must be sustained, other than those that have already captured listeners’ interests, including music and sound effects of their choice. These would have bearing on succeeding radio broadcast ratings and listeners’ survey results.

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