Friday, September 9, 2011

Certified Lumang Tao Newscast: RPN9 Newswatch

RPN 9 has a special place in Philippine Broadcasting history and that history is shared by RPN9 Newswatch -- which is probably the longest running English Newscast in the Philippines on free-to-air TV.

Newswatch still airs at 5:00 PM everyday on what is now ETC.

Being a sequestered TV station, RPN9 along with IBC13 was confiscated from the Benedictos.  During the Arroyo Administration, Solar TV managed to get become part owner of RPN9 through a curious process which somewhat fails to answer a few crucial issues:

-- From whom did Solar buy the shares or equity from?
-- What due diligence was performed to ascertain the right valuation of shares for the station?  How was this translated into equity?

Since RPN9 is a sequestered asset, shouldn't it have been bidded out rather than just GIVEN to Solar TV?

To digress a bit, here's an account of how RPN9 evolved from Kanlaon Broadcast System:

As the Kanlaon Broadcasting System

RPN was launched and granting the first broadcasting franchise on June 29, 1960 as the Kanlaon Broadcasting System (KBS). Kanlaon is a volcano on the Philippine island of Negros, the home of Benedicto. 

Once granted, KBS first became a radio network with its first radio station in Manila, DZBI. 

In 1967, KBS had grown into a full network, with seven radio stations all over the country. In 1969, KBS turned to television as KBS Television was launched with KBS-9 Manila and KBS-12 Baguio as its first stations. 

Help and funding for the new TV network partly came from ABS-CBN in the form of its old headquarters along Roxas Boulevard and equipment enabling them to broadcast in color. 

As a result, on its launch it was named Accucolor 9 ("Accucolor" is the name of the color technology used) as the first Philippine television network to launch in full color.

As the Radio Philippines Network

In 1975, KBS re-launched as RPN the Radio Philippines Network. 

It aired special coverages of the Olympics, Thrilla in Manila (in 1975) and the Miss Universe; and Programs such as John En Marsha, Flordeluna, Superstar

The network broadcasted a daytime variety show entitled Eat Bulaga! (premiering in 1979), and a nightly newscast titled NewsWatch, alongside anime programming (making them one of the first to do so in the country) and imports from the United States. 

RPN-9 is the first network to cover the Philippine Basketball Association games live. In 1980, RPN-9 began to broadcast primetime programs and Eat Bulaga! (when it was still with the network) through its new domestic satellite (DOMSAT) technology in which the 1980's logo resembles a satellite antenna.

Government sequestration and New Vision 9

After the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, the stock and assets of RPN, IBC and Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation's BBC-2 were sequestered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). 

President Corazon Aquino awarded BBC, through an executive order, to ABS-CBN, and RPN's and IBC's assets were turned over to the Government Communications Group. This was a period when the network lost much of its viewership to ABS-CBN and GMA Radio-Television Arts. 

By 1989, some of RPN's programming such as John en Marsha, Student Canteen, and Superstar were canceled, and TAPE's daytime programs Eat Bulaga!, Agila. and Coney Reyes on Camera moved to ABS-CBN under a co-production agreement. 

In 1989, the network relaunched as "New Vision 9", but later fell into a ratings slump due the resurgence of ABS-CBN and the recent re-launch of GMA Radio-Television Arts as GMA Network. 

In 1996, though, the network quickly re-gained its footing when it began to broadcast a Tagalog dub of the Mexican telenovela Marimar, which quickly became a popular program for the network, and setting the trend for a few years.

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