Show Now Off the Air,
Listeners Try to Bring It Back
Two days before it was supposed to
celebrate its fifth anniversary, a radio program was suspended “until
further notice.” At first glance, it would appear to be no big deal since
radio programs tend to come and go. What makes this particular case
interesting is that the suspension happened last Feb. 24, the day that
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation No. 1017.
BY RAYMUND VILLANUEVA
Contributed to Bulatlat
THE AIR: Hosts Sonia Capio and Danilo Araña Arao during an airing of
an episode of Ngayon Na, Bayan!, which has recently been cancelled
Two days before it
was supposed to celebrate its fifth anniversary, a radio program was
suspended “until further notice.”
At first glance, it
would appear to be no big deal since radio programs tend to come and go.
What makes this particular case interesting is that the suspension
happened last Feb. 24, the day that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
signed Proclamation No. 1017, which declared the country as being in a
state of national emergency.
Was it just a
coincidence? Is it valid to conclude that Ngayon Na, Bayan! which
used to air from Monday to Friday, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on DZRJ (810 khz
AM station) was the first “media casualty” of Arroyo’s state of national
Product of EDSA
Produced by Kodao
Productions, Inc., Ngayon Na, Bayan! is considered a product of the
people’s uprising in 2001 popularly called EDSA Dos. DZRJ-AM station owner
Ramon Jacinto who also called for the ouster of then President Joseph
Estrada at that time offered a timeslot to party-list group Bayan Muna
which in turn asked Kodao Productions, Inc. to produce the program. On
Feb. 26, 2001, Ngayon Na, Bayan! aired its first broadcast.
It was logical for
DZRJ, also known as Radyo Bandido, to accommodate pro-people thinking
given that the radio station openly called for the ouster of two
Presidents, the late Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Joseph Estrada in 2001.
In fact, during the 1986 people’s uprising, Jacinto allowed the use of
DZRJ’s facilities to allow broadcaster June Keithley to continue
broadcasting when the Marcos administration succeeded in shutting down
The program is hosted
by veteran broadcaster Sonia Capio. With me as co-hosts of Ngayon Na,
Bayan! are human rights worker Benjie Oliveros, former College
Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) president Ruth Cervantes,
activist priest Fr. Joe Dizon and University of the Philippines (UP)
professor Danilo Araña Arao. Aside from our own set of reporters, we also
maintain a team of regional and sectoral correspondents and it is the only
program in its station that could field reporters especially during
Popular and awarded
According to a survey
in 2002, Ngayon Na, Bayan! was among the top five most listened-to
radio programs on its time slot despite DZRJ-AM having only a 10,000-kHz
transmitter. The show’s popularity has reached a point where its listeners
were organized into the Ngayon Na, Bayan! Crusaders for Good
Ngayon Na, Bayan!
was adjudged Best Public Affairs Radio Program in Metro Manila by the
Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP or Philippine Broadcasters
Association) 2002 Golden Dove Awards. It was a consistent finalist in the
Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) from 2001 to 2005. It fact, it is the
only awarded radio show on DZRJ.
The radio program
analyzes issues and concerns by engaging its listeners in an open
discussion. While there were several like-minded listeners, we the hosts
also had our share of threatening text messages and hysterical phone
calls. Through the years, we acknowledged the differences in opinion of
the program’s callers and texters.
Ngayon Na, Bayan!
also does village tours where we would air our episode in a specific
village and interview the residents about their plight. The objective of
the village project which began on July 21, 2001 is to know first-hand the
realities in the communities and to provide a venue for the discussion of
the residents’ concerns.
Email and text barrage
The suspension came
as a surprise and those who believe in the radio program have taken it
upon themselves to call for the resumption of its broadcast. Since the
suspension last Feb. 24, listeners have sent e-mail and text messages
urging people to call the DZRJ office (895-4546
or 897-8374) and ask what ever happened to its only award-winning
Perhaps a people
power of sorts is needed to bring Ngayon Na, Bayan! back on the
air. The only question is if the management of DZRJ will heed this call.
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© 2006 Bulatlat
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