(From left) Ms. Rikki Escudero, GMA-7's Vice-President for Regional TV; Mark Herras, Geoff Eigenmann, Jackie Rice, and Jennica Garcia were among those who graced the recent launch of GMA Ilocos.

Photo: Jocelyn Dimaculangan (Ms. Escudero) / Courtesy of GMA-7

GMA Network is expanding its reach in northern Luzon by establishing a broadcast facility in the Ilocos region.

GMA Ilocos, which goes on air starting June 18, is expected to service an estimated total of 208,110 households.

This is the 5th originating station of GMA-7 after establishing stations in Dagupan, Iloilo, Cebu, and Davao.

GMA Ilocos will be seen via Channel 5 in Ilocos Norte and via Channel 48 in Ilocos Sur, as well as parts of Abra and La Union.

Starting June 25, it will broadcast local newscast Balitang Ilokano in Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and parts of Abra and La Union.

Balitang Ilokano will be broadcast Monday to Friday from 5:05 pm to 5:55 pm.

Last June 8, Mayor Nancy Tabanda of the Municipality of San Vicente, Ilocos Sur graced the ribbon-cutting and station blessing ceremony that was facilitated by Msgr. Roque Reyes.

GMA Ilocos will be the first to use the multi-link system designed by Engineer Elvis Ancheta, who is the Vice-President for GMA-7’s Transmission Regional Engineering Department.  

Engr. Ancheta explained this in detail during the June 8 media briefing held at the broadcast facility located in Brgy. Bayubay Sur, San Vicente municipality in Ilocos Sur.

“GMA Network has budgeted over P100 million for engineering Cap Ex [capital expenditure] alone,” revealed Engr. Ancheta. “In this two-camera studio, GMA will be running local live news, which is Balitang Ilocano, and will be contributing to national programs such as 24 Oras, Saksi, Unang Hirit and programs in GMA News TV.

“GMA Ilocos is equipped with a satellite uplink facility that allows the station to beam any of its chosen content to Manila or to any of the other originating stations.

“GMA Ilocos is the first originating station outside of Manila that will implement the dynamic, multi-point link system. To reach our viewers, we have three transmitting stations operating in the region: one in Mt. Caniao in Bantay, Ilocos Sur; one in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte; and another in Abra.

He later added: “May connectivity solution kaming i-implement sa Solid North…at hindi na nila kailangan itransport physically yung tape from Ilocos to Manila.”

INVESTING IN THE NORTH. According to Ms. Rikki Escudero, Vice-President for Regional TV, they have been preparing to open this broadcast facility for over a year.