MANILA, Philippines?Be part of Philippine broadcast history by tuning in to an AM radio frequency that reflects today?s date: 9-9-0.
DzIQ Radyo Inquirer 990 kHz?the broadcast arm of the Inquirer group of companies?marks its official launch today, beaming across the airwaves as the newest member of a leading multimedia organization that Filipinos have trusted for a quarter-century and counting.
?The reach and immediacy of radio and the credibility of the newspaper?I believe it will be a winning combination,? said Radyo Inquirer 990 president Paolo Prieto.
?We?re the only radio station with a print background; it is not a substitute but a supplement to the written word,? Prieto added.
Being the radio counterpart of the country?s No. 1 broadsheet and online news service comes with some built-in advantages, among them a vast news-gathering network and an editorial support system already in place.
On weekdays, Radyo Inquirer 990 signs on at 4 a.m. with ?Dyaryo sa Radyo,? a two-hour all-Inquirer newscast in Filipino based on stories appearing on the paper, sister tabloid Bandera, and INQUIRER.net, plus field reports from the dzIQ news team.
Two more 30-minute newscasts air at 7 a.m. and 12 noon.
By dawn, Radyo Inquirer 990 reporters would have fanned out to deliver news-you-can-use items, from weather and traffic reports, brownout schedules, to a price watch on basic goods?a way of revving up for the day?s biggest stories.
Inquirer correspondents strategically deployed around the country are also on call for breaking news and follow-ups 24/7.
Listeners can expect dzIQ anchors to discuss Inquirer reports and opinion pieces for the appreciation of a wider mass audience, ?advancing? the issues through incisive interviews and giving them that unique AM flavor through colorful banter and repartee.
Radyo Inquirer 990?s initial offering includes the morning public affairs show ?Tapatan? (6-10 a.m.), a perk-up brew of news analyses and interviews served hot by veteran broadcaster Jay Sonza and co-anchor Cecille Lardizabal.
The afternoons are essentially the turf of hard-hitting Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo, who is reviving his public service show ?Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo? (1-3 p.m.) and introducing the commentary program ?TNT: Target ni Tulfo? (4-5 p.m.). DzIQ newscaster Reysie Amado co-anchors both programs.
Prieto likened Sonza?s and Tulfo?s return to the airwaves via dzIQ to ?listening to an old friend, a familiar voice, in the same way you enjoy your fresh copy of the Inquirer when you start turning its pages.?
A help desk and forum for the concerns of overseas Filipino workers, ?Bantay ng OFW? (3-4 p.m.) by dzIQ news director Marvin Javier and co-anchor Hannah Seńeres, completes the afternoon slate.
The tandem of Inquirer Libre editor in chief Chito dela Vega and dzIQ deskman Willy ?Mang Kanor? Matawaran weigh in on the day?s top headliners on ?Kumpadres? (5-7 p.m.) The after-work rush-hour program also serves as a teaser for the Inquirer issue coming out the next day.
Javier returns later in the evening, this time joined by lawyers from the Public Attorneys Office, for the legal service program ?Kakampi Mo Ang Batas? (7-8 p.m.).
The busy day winds down on a light, relaxing note with the music program ?Dear Heart? (8-10 p.m.) hosted by dzIQ station manager Ciro Songco, with Amado co-anchoring.
Weekends on dzIQ offer a menu of specialized programs focusing on health, business, show biz and, soon, a leisure and lifestyle show by Tessa Prieto Valdes.
Data from the Radio Research Council of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas show that AM listeners in the Philippines mostly come from the low-income Classes D and E. These sectors alone make up about half of the daily audience.
The high-income Classes A, B and C1 account for 20-25 percent, while the middle C2 market can represent up to 30 percent of the listeners.
In the morning time slots, about half of the AM regulars are in the age bracket of 40 years old and above. Listeners between 30 and 39 years old make up the next biggest grouping at around 25 percent. Those in their teens and twentysomethings split up the remaining 25 percent. The percentages slightly vary in the afternoon and evening.
?I know there is room for another player (in the AM competition),? Songco said. ?We can be competitive in all components, from production, programming to staffing. We have enough power and reach.?
Radyo Inquirer 990 studios are located in the newly constructed Media Resource Plaza Building on Mola and Pasong Tirad Streets in Barangay La Paz, Makati City. It?s a walking distance from the Philippine Daily Inquirer building on Chino Roces Avenue.
Second look at radio
The studios come complete with backup booths and recording facilities suitable even for bands. The building also houses the offices of Inquirer sister companies INQUIRER.net, HIP Publications and MegaMobile.
Guests, especially those who seek help from the public service programs, may find the dzIQ premises as offering perhaps the coziest visitors? lounge among all media companies in the country today.
?There will be challenges, but you can clearly see that we?re here to build a long-term relationship with AM listeners,? Prieto said.
?It is good that a big company like the Inquirer believes in the power of AM radio, its reach, popularity and (ability to) generate an immediate response. You can close your eyes but not your ears?that?s how powerful and even hypnotic radio can be,? he added.
?To the advertisers, I hope they take a second look at radio, especially those who are already loyal to the Inquirer and who have trusted the brand.?
Center of attraction
While still on test broadcast and online streaming the past few weeks, Radyo Inquirer 990 has been drawing listeners to the very center, literally, of the AM band?away from the older giants whose frequencies are mostly found on the left side of the tuner index.
Jupiter Torres, dzIQ?s official voice and creatives team chief, therefore gives both a spatially accurate and symbolic description of where Radyo Inquirer 990 stands whenever he declares in the station plug: ?Nasa Gitna ng Lahat (in the middle of everything).?
During the dry run, the growing buzz about the new station already became evident when dzIQ current affairs and public service shows steadily attracted a regular queue of callers even without running a formal ad campaign other than that aired by the station.
The fan base expands even (or especially) during the so-called ?newsic? hours or music programming in between news breaks. For the past Saturday evenings, for example, the studio landline and cell phone line burned with calls from listeners requesting songs or extending greetings on-air.
The callers said they were getting clear dzIQ signals within the Mega Manila area and in provinces as far as Tarlac up north, Mindoro down south, and even the Bicol region on the southeast.
To cater to a wide spectrum of listeners, Radio Inquirer 990 will satisfy the audience?s appetite for variety in terms of entertainment programs, Prieto said.
And one more Inquirer mainstay will soon make its debut on dzIQ.
?We?re still searching for a voice?that perfect voice?that will give life to Guyito,? Prieto disclosed, referring to the newspaper?s wisecracking carabao mascot whose one-liners add spice and sting to the Inquirer front page.
Talk about a print-to-radio crossover. Where else can you make it loud and clear, quick and credible but on dzIQ Radyo Inquirer 990.
DZIQ hotlines: 519-1875/519-1876;