No, radio is not yet dead in the Philippines. But in the past years, we’ve seen drastic changes on programming and branding. Is this for good, for better or for worse? Here are some truths about these changes?
1. Stations flip to “masa” formats because it’s where most listeners are
2. High end and niche stations (e.g. NU 107) sign off because niche listenership declines
3. Class A-B audience now has internet radio, iPods, and other on-demand media for music
4. Advertisers pay more on “masa” stations because it’s where most listeners are
5. Most radio listeners prefer “masa” stations for their entertainment value
6. Most radio listeners prefer “masa” stations for MORE popular songs
7. Most radio listeners prefer “masa” stations for their use of Filipino/local dialect
8. Most “masa” format flips reasoned that they only want to extend their demos, truth is, they MORE money.
9. More “masa” flipping stations in the country means less Top 40 stations
10. Which translates to slimmer airplay for niche musicians and artists
11. This also means recording companies will have to hire and record more “masa” appealing singers and bands.
12. More “masa” stations mean less English-speaking radio stations.
13. “Masa” stations are actually more of “talk-based” programming
14. With more “talk-based” programs on masa stations, listeners will now start seeking for alternative all-music programs.
15. There’s a significant number of FM listeners tuning in via cellphone, which means FM is a part of their daily lifestyle
16. Which means, listeners need news on FM while riding jeepney going to work/school
17. This means, listeners need music on their background and not just talk while at work
18. There are still a significant number of niche radio listeners, it’s just that radio stations aren’t doing something to keep them.
There might be more truths about the exodus of radio stations to the Masa format, but we get the point. Just because this “barriotic” formats are what most listeners want, doesn’t mean you have to slam it on their face and give them loads of it. Nobody wants to have sardines as their breakfast everyday of the year.
We just hope stations give listeners variety. In an article posted online, DJ Mo is Magic 89.9 expressed his thoughts on the current radio scene. He sees that while masa stations are flourishing, English-speaking radio stations will continue to exist.
“It is like music. Just because a Filipino singer like Jovit Baldivino is popular, [that does not mean] all singers will be like him. Of course rock will exists, there will still be bands. There is Korean-Pop. We all thrive on variety, and radio is just like that,” Mo Twister told BusinessWorld.
Jeffrey O. Valisno has an interesting article about the Changing Landscape of FM Radio in the Philippines. Read here