The Golden Age Of Phil Pop Radio Pt. 1

Noon, wala pang internet.
Noon, wala pang iPod.
Wala pa ring CD.
Meron ngang mga plaka pero kakapiranggot naman ang mapagpipilian.
Kaya sa radyo lang nakatutok ang ating mga tenga. . . . AM pa!!

It’s amazing to think that just a few decades ago our music preferences were significantly influenced by the AM radio. Compared to the infinite choices made possible by present technology, the AM band’s offering then seems like a drop in the vast sea of music selections we have now. The latest foreign releases take at least 3 months to reach our shores so we listened to the same songs day in and day out..
But in spite of it’s limited offerings, that era of pop AM radio still holds a special place in our hearts. It was like home. It was a lifestyle I cannot imagine I could have lived without. All my waking hours were glued to those battery operated transistor radios. Hanggang banyo kasama mo ang radyo!

This is dedicated to those AM stations of yore.

DZBM 740
Considered the “Prince of Pop Radio”, DZBM ruled the pop airwaves like no other. Backed up by the formidable Mareco corp. whose access to foreign records were undisputable, BM had the latest pop releases always outscooping their competitors.
Their programming was a mix of pop, soul, R&B, with a sprinkling of soft rock.
A favorite of the “collegialas” so guys had to be in tune to their dates’ faves kung gusto nila successful yung “bokilyahan” pagdating ng Sabado.
Aside from the regular Top 40/Billboard hits, BM managed to include songs in their program that made the station unique, so much so that up to the present time, us oldtimers describe certain songs as “pang BM yan ha,..”

Below is a sample of DZBM’s music. Sit back, reminisce and click the links to memory lane.

Living In The Shadow Of Your Memory – Gary Paxton

Can’t Find The Tim To Tell You – Orpheus

It Was Always, Aways You – Rockflowers

One Lady – Jim Webb

For You – Honeybus

DZRJ 780 (?)
Two stations away is the station founded by RJ Jacinto. Similar to BM but leaning towards a more rock flavor. . . well more of soft rock (big bad brother UW was on the FM band, but that’s another story). Rumor had it that DZRJ’s programming was influenced by the personal preferences of the RJ rockjocks, who brought in their own personal albums for airplay. Guys like Stoneyburke, Jake Taylor, Cousin Hoagy, The Madman, really knew their stuff.
I guess a better way to compare BM and RJ’s program would be like this – If DZBM would play Guess Who’s “These Eyes”, DZRJ would play”Nashville Sneakers” or “Sour Suite”. . . Hope you get my drift.
But aside from poprock, DZRJ introduced us to jazz. Well maybe not mainstream, but more like jazz/rock fusion with artists such as Harvey Mandell, Mark-Almond, early Mangiones etc.. All of these gave DZRJ AM that distinct character which unfortunately the present FM incarnation just can’t seem to achieve.
Some samplings of RJ programming below:

Nashville Sneakers – Guess Who

I’ll Be Leaving Soon – Mark-Almond

Sweet Melissa – Allman Bros. Band

Gypsy Part 2 – Gypsy

Oh Babe, What Would You Say? – Hurricane Smith

Nowadays, choosing the music you listen to is just a mouse click or clickwheel away. We ultimately control the music we listen to. Hell, we can even create our own whole weeks’ playlist in a matter of minutes. But that element of surprise and anticipation, as to what song will play next, is somehow lost.
Yes, there still are radio stations at present but those damn computer DJs make radio listening so cold and impersonal.

When I was doing Half-And-A-Quarter-Cruise for Joey 92.3 several years back, one of the station’s big guns was touring me around the facility.
He showed me, with pride and glory, their DJ’s booth. It was a big antiseptic room with several CPU’s and a contraption in the center which he proudly claimed to be the station’s discjock.
I couldn’t help but feel sad.
Where’s that smoke-filled, album jacket-scattered squeezebox of a booth I used to know?
I guess that’s what you call progress.

Today’s system does have it’s undeniable advantages. But I can’t point a finger to it . . . somehow, somewhere I feel that we’ve lost something along the way.  A lot may not share my sentiments.  Hell. I don’t even know if I’m making any sense at all!
I just feel like I wanna go back “home”.

The days of DZBM and DZRJ will never comeback but I can say that I am fortunate enough to have been able to experience the Golden Age of Philippine Pop Radio.

Then you’d turn on the radio
And sing with the singer in the band
And your mama would say to you
This isn’t exactly what she had planned.

But you’re a legend in your own time
A hero in the footlights
Playin’ tunes to fit your rhyme
But a legend’s only a lonely boy
When he goes home alone.

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  1. […] parts 1 and 2: The Golden Age Of Phil Pop Radio Pt. 1 The Golden Age of Phil Pop Radio Pt. 2 – UW […]

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