[Live blog now up and running after the cut.] Ten years ago I listened heavily to Magic 89.9. The sung jingles, Joey and Miles doing the countdown, The Morning Zoo Crew and those random Faber Castell ads… as a high schooler it was cool to listen to it. Now, I avoid the station at all costs. It’s mostly because I grew up, and so did my tastes, but some of the reasons are surprisingly personal. (And some of the reasons are petty: if not for the Magic, 99.5 RT would still exist. At least in my mind.) But the station is still wildly popular: I have many friends who keep on referencing what’s going on in that station, and even I have to admit that it is some sort of gold standard on Manila radio today. Now, the day has come for me to face the enemy – if you’ve been following this blog from the start you know I can get really petty – and devote an entire day listening to, and blogging about, that station that claims to play today’s best music. Wish me luck. [NB]
05.11: Well, hello. We begin with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, followed by Kjwan, and a realization that our radio stations still sign off on Monday mornings. Do we still have to? I mean, it’s 2013!
05.15: That happened early. We caaaaan’t stop…
05.37: I know this is just the warm-up sequence, and regular programming doesn’t begin until half an hour later, but I’ve already heard two local tracks, which can’t be said of the other pop stations. Does the Magic still have their local music show on Sundays?
06.03: Recently my station of choice (and that’s putting it loosely) is K-Lite, and since it’s a new station, I only hear a few ads. Listening to the Magic, I feel a bit of culture shock, since I am hearing a lot of ads I have never heard before. I should station hop more often.
06.10: It’s First Thing in the Morning with Sam and Gibb, also known as the five-month replacement to the suspended Mo Twister. But considering how Noelle is now on Play FM and Suzy is back in middays, I highly doubt he’ll be back, at least regularly in the mornings (or, err, early evenings, since he’s in New York and all). Maybe I’m listening to the new world order now. As a fan of these two from their RT days, I’m happy.
06.15: This Smart ad is hashtag ugh, hashtag annoying, hashtag shut up, hashtag please…
06.26: Right now is when I admit that I haven’t seen either Breaking Bad or On The Job. There goes what’s left of my pop culture cred. (By the way, they’re discussing the idea of Bryan Cranston potentially playing Joel Torre’s character.)
06.37: Current pop music realization number one: I can’t get used to Hayley Williams essentially singing an invitation to have sex. Well, if I put it that way…
06.46: At least I’m relating to their topic of choice this morning: how to cast the potential OTJ Hollywood remake. Kinda, since again, I haven’t seen the film. But yeah, Ryan Gosling is too refined for a gritty film. The callers are just throwing out random names without much consideration, though – and this is why we are not in charge of casting.
07.04: Morgan Freeman is, according to Gibb, “the guy with lots of moles. And warts.” Their spark is still there, and they do good when riffing on particular topics, but having a lot more callers than in RT – I mean, in their old show there are regular callers, because there’s a smaller pool of listeners, arguably – is sort of diluting the fun. In other news, I am now in Ortigas and something I never thought would happen is happening: Magic’s signal is being killed by Win Radio’s, whose transmitter is roughly three blocks away.
07.33: I’ll admit, a part of me was hoping that I’ll be doing this live blog with Mo Twister in the mornings. Or, at least, I wish I listened to Mo in the preceding months. The last time I listened to him was, well, six years ago – I was still in college, he was still with Mojo and Andi and doing Forbidden Questions and setting the template for the more risky programming on FM radio nowadays. (Seven years ago I managed to interview Mo, Mojo and Andi when they did a hosting gig in La Salle. They were swarmed by fans. Also, yes, this update is an excuse to post a link to that interview.) The last time I called them, I was in a bus bound for school, and was called a “level 2 gay”, perhaps on the basis of my whiny, sorta nasally morning voice. Again, I enjoy Sam and Gibb – two intelligent talkers make a difference; right now they’re discussing open relationships, very much like they would in Disturbing the Peace last year – but I can see why Jayvee would not be fond of this whole setup. This is intelligent, but it’s not the risky kind of adventurous, and it’s not something you expect the Magic to do in a primetime slot.
07.50: That said, I like it when Gibb says something like “he has the world’s most crooked nose!” and Sam goes momentarily aghast about it.
07.55: The other thing I like about Sam and Gibb: they don’t have to fake a whole topic just to do a live ad read. They just go “well, here’s something else you should know” and it doesn’t sound as annoying as it should. Learn something, The Morning Rush.
08.00: “Broadcasting from the great Republic of the Philip-peens.” The fact that the accent is on the wrong syllable is getting in my nerves.
08.02: Current pop music realization number two: this is, honestly, the first time I have heard Lady Gaga’s “Applause”. Granted, my approach to this is to not actively seek out the songs, but this is Lady Gaga, and I expect this song to be as ubiquitous, if not more ubiquitous, than Katy Perry’s “Roar”. But most likely it’s just me. Either that, or her song just blends in with every other pop song out there that it’s so easy to miss. Talk about being a victim of your own success.
08.16: And speaking of Katy Perry’s “Roar”, here’s Katy Perry’s “Roar”. Or is it Sara Bareilles’ “Brave”? Nope, it’s Katy Perry’s “Roar”.
08.27: “Monday na Monday, sex talk ‘to, ah!” The conversation’s about sex therapists, via whatever’s going on in Japan, by the way. The caller gets a bit giddy about this.
08.38: This Boys’ Night Out-fronted ad for Bounty Fresh is… very, very weird. Trying hard to sound like, well, Boys’ Night Out, complete with innuendo involving pulling out, err, meat. Magic listeners, tell me something: what do you think when you hear Sam, Tony and Slick’s voices on an ad, played on their radio station, but not for their radio show? Was that too confusing? Okay, I’ll say this: the scripting is just too clunky.
08.41: Okay. Now I’m hearing “Royals” on the Magic. Lorde is now a Billboard chart-topper. If I don’t see Pure Heroine on local record stores, I don’t know…
08.59: That’s it for First Thing in the Morning. You know what, it ended too early. Or maybe it’s because they were still heavily in the middle of a talky bit before the last ad break. No wind down. Just Sam going “organized chaos, over” (referencing a stager that’s unnecessarily overselling the show). Next up, it’s the show a bunch of my college-age friends are referencing: On Demand, with Boom Gonzales (who I will always associate with The Streeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch on RX) and that Carla girl whose accent I played with the first time I reviewed the Magic for the blog.
09.09: That is a six-minute ad break.
09.24: The Toilet Mix: raw, unfiltered, but otherwise just a bunch of crossfades given a marketing-heavy name to sound awesome, because not everybody has the time to sit down, edit a mix, bring a laptop with said mix to the studio, and worry about whether it’s plugged in properly. I don’t mean to sound like I’m discounting a radio DJ’s job, but having seen Kelly (formerly of the Magic) do the whole laptop thing when she was at the former Max, well…
09.33: Justin Timberlake’s “Good Foot”. Now that’s a song I haven’t heard in ages.
09.35: That said, I’ve heard four Justin Timberlake songs in the past four hours. The perils of live blogging a radio station’s whole day output and not liking high rotations.
09.47: Finally, somebody talks. Hello, Carla’s accent reading a lot of sponsor reads. Am I in Singapore again?
10.03: It’s funny that, in the ten years since I first (closely) listened to the Magic and today, they’re still using the same beds? That celebratory bell thing, this basketball-y bed… some things just never change, don’t they?
10.33: Less than two hours between two plays of “Royals”. Okay, yes, we’re in that point of the live blog where there’s really nothing to write about. Well, in my case, I have something in my head, but I’m letting it boil until I hear more. Not that I want you to look forward to it, though. Don’t want all that expectation.
10.37: Also annoying: the Shell ads emphasizing how long their fuels last by comparing it to either the sound of a school bell ending break time, or the sound your mobile phone makes when it’s running out of battery. It’s the sort of ad that would induce road rage. “What, do you think I’m stupid?” I’d scream, before crashing my car on one of the pillars of the Skyway, and said car explodes because my fuel lasts long, thus my tank is fuller than it should be. And then Katy Perry plays. “I am the eye of the tiger!”
10.42: Live ad read disguised as a conversation on how bags of chips are half air. This hour is not good to me.
10.51: I came in like a wrecking baaaaaall–
10.57: A (local) hip hop song referencing Marvin and Jolina, Bojo Molina, and this television show, and all within a minute. And I was afraid I’d only hear the same old foreign pop stuff. I’ve obviously been living under a rock all this time. That said, I can’t exonerate pop radio fully: two hour rotations is still not something, and will not be something, I can learn to live with.
11.10: Is this really the first time today that I’m hearing Justin Bieber? Or did I just not know that it’s him singing earlier? He sounds… like… he grew up.
11.14: Boom: “Justin Bieber with ‘Heartbreaker’ on Magic 89.9.” Carla: “Do you like it?” Boom: “I have an interesting story…” Okay, fine, that doesn’t translate well written down.
11.56: After a fifth appearance from Justin Timberlake, we change shows. The Big Meal with CJ and Suzy (again, formerly of Good Times with Mo, but she did this slot prior to moving there) is next. Niko, be objective. Be very objective.
12.11: Okay, I know this is likely a Magic-sponsored event, but I’m also having enough of the mentions of this Berocca party thing at the top of every program. Oh, hi, Tin. Err, no. Suzy. Hi, Suzy. I see you’re still talking about bananas. Well, banana peels. Until you went “are you circumsized?” on someone. Unnecessary flashback: when Tin, err Suzy, was still at Hit FM – Mornings with Kelly and Tin – they had “Banana Day”, and I called in (off-air) saying that I had a banana that turned out to be raw. One guess what she told me.
12.15: Suzy sounds different. She sounds more like a kolehiyala than when she started. A backward Justin Bieber situation, if there’s such a thing.
12.33: They’re promoting a phone-in contest by being a bit ironic. What’s the best OPM rock song, and can you sing it for us? “The best rock song is Andrew E.’s ‘Andrew Ford Medina’ and I’m gonna sing it for you,” CJ goes. Does anybody still play Andrew E. nowadays? Even the masa stations? I remember seeing Andrew himself, buying food at the NBA Global Games a couple of weeks back, and I had the same question. And now Suzy tries to sing Wolfgang. It’s a bit awkward, but ultimately the problem is, the bit goes on for far too long.
12.37: Suddenly I’m reminded of what is often the final segment on Joey and Miles in the Morning, Magic’s breakfast show before Mo moved out of lates: Aren’t You Glad We Don’t Play This Song in the Morning? It’s usually followed by an April Boy Regino song.
12.56: Today, apparently, is No Panty Monday.
12.59: They’re fascinated with this caller whose last name, apparently, is “Pantee”. (The shtick, apparently, involves every caller declaring that they’re not wearing any panties; this guy’s reason is that it’s already his last name.) This is going on for too long now… what more later tonight?
13.07: Question: how nationwide is the Magic? I know the Killerbee stations across the country have been rebranded to the Magic early this year, but I assumed the provincial stations only take GTWM and BNO, alongside specialist programming. But The Big Meal‘s being plugged as from “the Magic, nationwide”, so, anyone? Okay, so I don’t expect anybody to answer this question.
13.30: An unexpected crossover: Suzy tries to imitate Chacha (of MOR 101.9) kissing. Well, the “mwah mwah tsup tsup” bit she often does with Ted Failon and Noli de Castro when she delivers the showbiz news on DZMM. The Big Meal is, well, a show that just goes on and on, huh? I’m sure some enjoy this, and I’ll admit to chuckling a few times, but mostly this show just goes on and on and on… also, they finally got a female caller (in her 30s?) to say that she isn’t wearing any underwear.
13.33: Suzy, as CJ introduces yet another phone-in game: “Gusto mong magdagdag ng bagong sponsor? The Teng Singing School.” After a good minute, CJ relents.
13.47: I honestly wasn’t expecting to be writing a lot about what Suzy says on this blog (just now, to a phone-in contestant she’s up against: “I’m good at this”; and the response she gets: “I beat you once”) but she’s the zany character, and CJ is the straight man. Not a dynamic you’d expect on FM radio – it’s often the guy who’s crazy, or both of them – but it’s… oddly interesting. By the way, Suzy did beat the contestant.
14.07: I finally realize the problem with having Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” and Katy Perry’s “Roar” sounding similarly alike: when one comes on, you assume it’s the other. Poor kids. “Shh, request ko na! Ay, hindi pala…”
14.42: I’m trying to understand why Magic’s clocks are inconsistent. I’ve been using the same clock for this live blog, and this morning the station was two minutes ahead. And then it was a minute behind. Then four minutes ahead. Okay, I am running out of observations. Maybe I should go look for the Magic’s 2003 sung jingles, which, admittedly, is why I tuned it all those years ago.
14.46: Lady Gaga’s “Applause” is on again, and for a song in the station’s top five, it’s been last played only over six hours ago. But that’s me being a geek. My opinion of the song will be largely irrelevant, though: the song does nothing to me. Nothing at all.
14.56: Now they’re saying it’s a minute to three. Head scratch. Anyway, Dex, your crush is coming up next, but not after that song about gorilla sex, and me thinking of the Magic DJs, virtually all of them, essentially being marketing tools rather than, well, DJs. It happens because Magic is such a big station, but – and I’m sure about this – almost half of the past six hours of programs are advertisements. The only blog-worthy content I have came from Sam and Gibb’s show, and, occasionally, the overstepping glitter-poop-filled chaos of The Big Meal. Music’s the same old, repeated ad infinitum. Everything else is an ad.
15.08: But then they play, occasionally, forgotten gems like this. Granted, it’s because Sugar Ray will have a concert here this week.
15.13: No mention of the Sugar Ray concert. Or maybe they will later? Anyway, it’s Pop Stop, featuring the girl they still call Andi 9 (aka Andi Manzano, aka one-time Multiply friend, really) and Riki Flo (aka Riki Flores, aka girl on BTV). It’s the late afternoon kids-go-home-from-school slot. It’s a surprising constant on the already-moved-past-everything-else Magic.
15.30: Justin Timberlake. Again.
15.44: That Berocca thing. Again. At least not at the beginning of the show.
15.51: They’re playing that song dropping Marvin and Jolina’s names, and I began thinking about whether the Magic had a decent number of local songs when I was a listener. “No,” I first thought. And then, “yes, but that was the heyday of local alternative tracks.” Sure, they never really touched Sponge Cola a lot, but you know what I mean, right? Of course, that never translated to the DJs talking about local showbiz. (I segue to this because Pop Stop‘s heavy with Hollywood tidbits, like the supposed connection between, uhh, Kris Jenner and Drake.) That’s always been masa station territory, although lately some shows on pop stations have touched on local gossip, like the missed The Disenchanted Kingdom on RT and, when that went kaput, the regular Showbiz Guy segments on GTWM.
16.07: It’s official: I’ve heard the entirety of Magic 89.9’s playlist for this week.
16.15: Then I realized that I subscribe to Billboard‘s top 40 online newsletter, so I check the charts there. No, I’m not going to nitpick Magic’s music policy; just trying to figure out how ahead of the curve the station is. A decidedly mixed affair, since they still play “Take Back the Night” while Justin Timberlake’s already released “TKO” as a single; I’ve yet to hear the new singles from Britney Spears, Robin Thicke and Eminem (although the latter’s likely more of Wave 891 material). But then again, the Americans have not had Paramore’s “Ain’t It Fun” as a single, and the Brits have, and I heard that twice today. Geeky time-filler over.
16.21: Current pop music realization number three: that was Ariana Grande singing Mariah Carey?
16.23: First Christmas song I heard all day. Then again, it’s just October.
16.41: I should’ve made a running tally of how many times I’d hear certain songs today. That gorilla song, anything by Justin Timberlake… hey, I haven’t heard anything from Miley all afternoon! Unless I actually missed it when I went to the toilet.
16.50: Another local track, and another one I don’t know. Our pop music’s like this, huh? Mostly melodic stuff? No wonder they don’t get played a lot on today’s chart-oriented pop stations. (The masa stations, of course, are a different thing, with their love of sing-along melodies. Miley Cyrus is an exception to the rule, and only on drive time slots.)
17.02: I was just gonna ask about Samantha. “Does she only appear on Boys’ Night Out now, being sexy and all?” was the thought in my head. Now, the first traffic report of the day. Because, apparently, you don’t need a traffic report when you’re going to work. It’s not just the Magic, though; K-Lite has nothing, and I think Play has nothing too, and RX, well, they still have it, but then again they always did it differently, not using Trapik.com while everybody else has.
17.05: That major Glee news they’re teasing is most definitely that item, revealed four days ago, about the show wrapping up at the end of its sixth season, in 2015. The Internet exists, ladies. We all know about it before you do. Anyway, chart time, and on the fifth slot is, well, the song that isn’t Sara Bareilles’ “Brave”.
17.19: “Applause” is at number four and this is only the third time I heard the song. Or maybe I am confusing “Roar” and “Brave” together again. Applause, applause, applause.
17.23: Andi, slowly exasperated: “Colt 45: strong beer for real men. And speaking of real men, Freddie Aguilar…”
17.32: Same case for “Royals”: at number three, and only hearing this for the third time. It’s not really a big deal unless you consider my problems with Justin Timberlake today. And that doesn’t even make it a problem, because I am not the guy you turn to for these things.
17.35: Okay, they’re now talking about local showbiz. Specifically, Luis Manzano and Jennylyn Mercado’s split up. And the bearer of news is Luis’ cousin, Andi. “I’m not gonna defend [anyone],” but still, awkward. A bit. But it could be worse; it could be a story about Andi. Like Mo talking about a story about Mo… err…
17.38: “Wrecking Ball” at number two. Right after that item about Luis and Jennylyn.
17.48: Okay, the girls just maxed out my Christmas song tolerance. Two in a row is too much. Even if one is a request. And is that seminal Mariah Carey carol. Two in a row is too much.
17.56: So yes, the actual point of this live blog is to write about Boys’ Night Out. So why go through the trouble of listening the whole day? As a challenge. Again, I have avoided the Magic for the past six years, but you can’t blog about radio without acknowledging one of the biggest stations in Manila, if not the Philippines, and it’s mostly because of their big, risque personalities, like the still suspended Mo Twister, and the BNO boys. Everybody likes these boys but me, judging from how many of the show’s hashtags pollute my Twitter feed every night, but I needed a reason for myself to tune in. And now I’m forcing myself to. (I have heard the show a few times, though, so I’m not coming in completely blind.) By the way, top song of the day: the one where Zedd gets Hayley WIlliams to invite someone to make love to her.
18.07: Yeah, Samantha goes sexy right about now. It feels like I switched radio stations. This is a different radio station. I’m hearing ads I haven’t heard the whole day today.
18.14: And an annoyingly repetitive jingle. But why should I complain? I am the stranger here. I don’t do Manyak Mondays. I don’t do horns. I don’t do sexy traffic reports. But I’ll stick around looking for acceptance and knowing I won’t.
18.22: Even the music is different. Lighthouse Family followed by Texas.
18.42: Took half an hour for the first actual bits of the show to happen. What were the boys up to? Partying at the Masskara Festival in Bacolod. Sponsored by Smart, hosting, having fun… I already feel out of place, but then again, I was never the guy who drinks until he drops, parties until the sun rises, and everything in between. For the next few hours this is an aspirational lifestyle, which makes sense if you’re in high school, but not when you’re a yuppie. (I know that’s a dated term.)
18.46: The discussion shifts to Freddie Aguilar, and the consensus is, we shouldn’t bother him, and that it’s all sensationalized. Tony mentions Slick had a thing for younger girls (“legal!” he notes; she was 16 but he waited until she turned 18 to make a move), to which he replies, “it was my D-league.”
18.58: “Older guys have more experience,” says a girl who dated a 37-year-old when she was 19. “It’s more exciting.” I wonder if they can find teens dating folks in their 60s, or the other way around, and get them to call. Anyway, she’s trying to date guys her age. She’s never happy. As for the moves? He gave space, she says. The boys are playing cool uncle right now.
19.01: She’s a previous caller and she’s interested in Tony. Whatever that means.
19.07: She was 16 and he was 43. And a dentist. “Maraming oral examination ‘yan,” Sam says. “43 na pa-MOMOL-MOMOL lang, that’s the bomb!” Slick says. Then somehow the caller mentions Daiana Menezes. Oh boy. Also, I won’t mention the dentist chair bit Sam proposed…
19.14: The Bounty Fresh ad featuring the boys feels even weirder now that the boys are actually on air. Also, female merch voice, “Duma-getty”?
19.17: Yep, a traffic report with the sound of a shaver underneath, or in their heads, a vibrator.
19.23: Live ad read. God damn it.
19.55: Guy admits to dating an older woman for fun. Two callers later, another guy – older, deeper voiced, married – admits he was laughing at the former. “Huwag na kayo tatanggap ng ganoong callers, ah,” he said.
20.20: Sam: “Manyak Monday, pinag-uusapan natin, love.” I myself wasn’t expecting this. This is sounding a bit like… Mo Twister!
20.23: This caller is getting very passionate about all this love thing… and then it’s revealed that he’s in a long distance relationship (well, just two weeks now) and suddenly he’s null and void. They won’t last, she’s returning anyway, they still won’t last. I’ll admit, that made for interesting radio. I’m having a think about the appeal of these boys: judging from this show – and this looks like one of the more serious ones, so perhaps an aberration? – this feels like an all-night drinking session where debauchery transitions to deeply emotional conversations where terms and definitions are flung about. Which still means it doesn’t appeal to me. Anyway, the boys dare this guy, named Chris, to call in six months to update them. 21 March. Consider the date marked, or something.
20.28: This is a live ad read for Axe. I can smell it a mile away. It’s the clunky scripting: they’re discussing as in planking is still a cool thing. But I’m having self-doubt, because I am a stranger here.
20.42: Let this be the last I hear of the Berocca thing I’ve been hearing all day. Again, this is why listening to one radio station for the whole day, more so live blogging about it, is never healthy.
20.51: I wonder what would’ve happened to the Magic if King DJ Logan didn’t leave BNO to move to Max. If they didn’t poach Sam YG from Hit FM to the studios next door. If they didn’t decide to move BNO to early evenings from its late night slot. You can argue that BNO, not Mo Twister, is what made Magic what it is today: a nationwide juggernaut. Killerbee as a brand would still be around. These stations would still have lots more local programming. The Magic here would still have broader appeal. Now, things have changed, and FM radio in the whole country has changed as well – just think of Papa Jack.
20.56: Also, well, yes, I listened to Boys’ Night Out in its very early days. I left because I never liked Sam YG. Never did, not even when he was fresh off the Magic’s student jock program, and held the late night slot on 99.5 RT.
21.00: Speaking of Papa Jack, they are now really sounding like Papa Jack. It’s not a bad thing, though. What a difference the Filipino language makes.
21.04: This is Ramon Bautista, right? I know he’s a semi-regular, but does he just pop up like that?
21.07: Ramon, to a caller who says she tweets him because she admires him: “Baka naka-protected ang tweets mo? I-unprotect mo! Mas masarap ang unprotected!”
21.12: The obvious difference between BNO and True Love Conversations on Love Radio is that the latter’s more welcoming, while the former’s very much exclusive. And by that, I mean the boys are not against talking about the perks of the job – the trips, the parties, the friends. The caller in the previous update actually called because she didn’t get an invite from Sam for one of those Berocca parties. Disclaimer: you’re talking to a so-called radio critic, so this will all sound biased, but this whole exercise leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I get being aspirational, but this just feels like showing off. But it’s all within the show’s personality. What do people in a drinking session do, after all?
21.16: How much do you love your wife? Fuck off, I don’t have one. I am starting to dislike this pointlessly sleazy ad.
21.27: How much does a spot ad on this show cost? You have arguably good content but it’s broken up by all these live reads, sandwiched between ad breaks, and listeners waiting for the next gimmick to roll by just tune out of all these promos. Same goes with all the other radio stations, really (another Love Radio example: the 15 minutes of ads that precedes an edition of Tambalan).
21.35: Another semi-regular introduced without fanfare, or, err, without anything, really: this Jojo guy. I know I saw him mentioned on Twitter, but I cannot remember anything.
21.38: I didn’t realize Tado was also here. I should’ve known. It makes a lot of sense. I feel totally out of place now. I’ll end this live blog at ten, just as I planned, although I doubt Boys’ Night Out would be over by then. I need a good concluding statement…
21.51: Really? Another ad break?
22.00: Well, nothing much happened. I’d blog about the Pinoy Henyo-style game but I was really just losing interest. (Not to mention they had to put an ad break in between. How much are the boys earnings from this?) All I know is, I need a beer – well, I can’t have a beer, but let’s stick with the metaphor – and I just want to go home. And that’s what I’m doing. That’s it for today’s live blog. If you stuck around, thanks, I guess. Seventeen hours is no joke, but I’m oddly glad I did it… because now I don’t have to tune in to the Magic again. At least for the next six years.