In just eight months of operations, the newly launched Win Radio 107.5 ranked number six among all stations in Mega Manila. In Cebu, the station ranked No. 4 after only five months. Big Radio 91.5 FM, which aired just June 1 this year, is also reportedly leading in the ratings game with its all-time hits-oriented playlist coupled by a good dosage of recent popular songs.
What do these stations have in common? There is the presence of Manny Luzon, the EVP/COO of the companies that carry the relatively new Win and Big Radio. It will be remembered that Win Radio used to be known as NU 107, which concentrated on rock music for 23 years before going off the air.
Luzon, who started working in radio at age 17, was once a spinner-technician for the Manila Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) stations. He himself became a DJ in 1980, got promoted as a program director in 1988, before sitting as station manager of top ranking 90.7 DZMB two years later. After retiring from DZMB, he created and transformed Energy FM into a frontrunner that for a time in the 2000s, even threatened to upstage MBC's Love Radio in Mega Manila.
Luzon says that some of today's trends in pop radio programming were his original ideas. From the emergence of DJs speaking in their native tongue to kiddie voices serving as likable promotional gimmicks, he takes pride in having influenced the way pop stations are presented today. "I'm glad marami nang stations ang gumagawa ng ilang styles na sinimulan ko noon," he said in a recent interview.
The EVP/COO asked the station's DJs to speak in Filipino, or in the case of provincial stations, in their local dialects. Before that nobody dared speak in Filipino.
Luzon also thought about putting laughter in the background while DJs are talking turned out to be popular among listeners prompting more and more stations to make use of this technique. And, while it seemed a far-out idea to have a child's voice as station plug, he risked it. The practice is now becoming common among top stations, including top ranking Love and Yes FM.
With both 107.5 Win and 91.5 Big Radio gaining ground just months after being on-air, the radio boss, is now promoting wholesomeness in the midst of widespread on-air talk and playlists peppered with sexual double-meanings. He insists, "We hope to be champions of OPM without the dirty talk which I think has become a favorite formula on FM these days."
Both Win and Big have now installed their own 24-hour websites (www.winradio.com.ph and www.915bigradio.com) that allow listeners to listen to as well as watch their favorite DJs via the web.