Searching for “sariling atin” on our airwaves

OPM albums

Ten years ago, Filipino music was everywhere, and a wide range of it, too. There was a resurgence of alternative acts, from veterans such as Rivermaya and Bamboo, to (then) up-and-comers such as Sponge Cola and Hale. Pop acts such as MYMP, riding the acoustic wave, and Jay-R, who represented the R&B front, dominated the charts. The indie scene had groups like Up Dharma Down waving the flag. And, of course, the usual pop acts were still there. The slow rise from the beginning of the noughties, to its peak sometime around 2006 – it was, indeed, a good time for local music.

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Arvin “Tado” Jimenez, 1974-2014

[Updated with a video of Tado I took back in 2007, when he was a guest on Hit FM’s Mornings with Kelly and Tin.] Before Ramon Bautista became the darling of ad executives and the Twitterati, it was Arvin “Tado” Jimenez who captured the imagination. As the lead character in the UNTV cult hit Strangebrew, his chilled out yet blistering take on the world was refreshing to a generation already jaded by the old conventions of the mainstream networks. Maybe it’s his activist background. Maybe it’s his odd jobs. Maybe he’s really just naturally skewed, and we just haven’t seen his sort break out. Strangebrew survived in reruns and Tado became a presence on television, but his career – and his “driver” on the show Angel Rivero’s, and yes, Ramon’s – saw an uptick after 99.5 Hit FM took a chance and gave him a radio show. “Your radio is not defective,” he would always say during every talk set. “It’s just us.” His skewed perspective proved to be a hit with both the masses and the classes; a rare example of a radio personality that pierces through every demographic, as judged by the Brewrats surviving two reformats on 99.5 MHz, and a year-long stint at the ill-fated U92. Before his death today, at a tragic bus accident in Mountain Province that killed 13 others, he was still a regular radio presence, appearing occasionally on Magic 89.9’s Boys’ Night Out. I will miss his demeanor – I met him once, when he guested on Hit FM’s Mornings with Kelly and Tin, a Junior Jock braiding his hair during an interview, him totally cool with it – and his subtly punchy take on a world that slowly disillusions more and more. [NB]

Live blog: A day listening to Magic 89.9

[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]

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The Mo Twister suspension, a month after

Good Times with Mo, as a show, was always teetering on the brink of suspensions, sanctions and lawsuits. They were successful and were raking in ratings with funny and oftentimes offensive segments like Forbidden Questions, Yabang Mo, Chick Republic and Showbiz Bro so everything was good.

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Disturbing the Peace… on the Magic?

With Mo Twister suspended (again) for five months (yes) for a sex-related topic (not a rape joke, he insists), Magic 89.9 suddenly has to replace him without replacing him. The solution: do a Disturbing the Peace reunion. Sam Oh has left The Playground on Play FM (temporarily?), moved to the next room, and reunited with the supposedly retired Gibb for First Thing in the Morning – and the idea of one of radio’s most underrated morning shows somehow returning is making me feel things. I haven’t had the chance to listen to a good stretch – I only listened to a three-minute bit where they discussed what torquing is, prompted by “We Can’t Stop” – but anybody who listened to DTP will find themselves at home. A morning show that doesn’t always revert towards giggling to be funny, you know? And now the Magic is reuniting a pair that anchored 99.5 RT’s second life, a station that they resurrected and never really supported as much as they should, a station they only used as a training ground for their own station… these things I feel, it must be resentment. [NB] (We’re finally on Twitter: our name is @earthingsblog and we’d be happy to have you follow us.)