Radio ‘blocktime’ program D-Day 

By Alex P. Vidal 

“There will always be rivalry on the field. Off the field, we are friends, but on it, we have to do our job.” —Shikhar Dhawan

AUGUST 2024 is expected to be the D-Day for radio “blocktime” program showdowns in Iloilo.

The radio “blocktime” program D-Day romps off at least two months before the official filing of the certificate of candidacy (COC) on October 1-8, 2024 for candidates in the May 2025 midterm elections.

The two-month interval would be enough latitude for some candidates to reckon with and take into account their decision to pursue with their political plans.

Some of those who would be severely “wounded” in the mudslinging, name-calling and dog-biting orgies that go with the D-Day paroxysm might still turn tale and forfeit their candidacy.

We expect a “bloodbath” when the likes of Arsenio “Kamlon” Ang, “Datu” Ibrahim Calanao, Alvin Dennis Arabang, Salvador “Jun” Capulot, Roy Cejar, John Sapio, Rito Chiva, Francisco “Ompoy” Pastrana, Joel Estochi, Jofe Celeste, Florencio “Flo” Hervias, Neri Camiña, Herbert Vego, “Datu” Ranie Jangayo, Emmanuel “Manny” Alcalde, Mario Jara, among other broadcast loudspeakers in Iloilo start bombarding the air lanes to promote and defend candidates and their platforms in the 2025 election.

It may not be part of the official campaign blitz in relation to the 2025 election, but even before the August D-Day, some of the aforementioned radio “blocktime” talents have already started storming the cloister ostensibly as part of a rehearsal, trial and error, or even “warm up.”

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Like in the NBA playoffs, there will be “substitution” among “blocktime” partners prior and during the August D-Day.

All prices “are right” when it comes to talent fees. It also depends on how brutal would be the “blocktime” talent, or how ferocious and cold-blooded he can be when the goings get tough.

Although seasonal, “blocktime” talents don’t earn a pittance like what many regular radio anchormen get. Kamlon, for instance, has paraded his Mitsubishi Montero on social media even before the D-Day. Hatchback or Sedan next after the D-Day?

Iloilo radio stations with the lion’s share of the multi-million “blocktime” transactions with political candidates are dyFM Bombo Radyo Iloilo, Aksyon Radyo Iloilo 720, dyRI RMN 774 Iloilo, dySi 1323 GMA Super Radyo Iloilo, dyLL 585 Radyo Pilipinas Iloilo.

Blocktiming is the unique Philippine broadcast media practice of buying “blocks” of airtime to produce programs independent of networks and stations, according to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).

“The blocktimer sells the commercial time to sponsors and/or advertisers. Blocktime programs especially proliferate during elections, as politicians scramble for access to the voting public by, among other means, sponsoring programs through which they can have the exclusive opportunity to enhance their image and undermine that of their rivals,” CMFR stated.

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“The most disturbing implication involves the integrity of the information voters get during elections. With blocktimers in control of program time, it is a near impossibility to observe media’s obligation for balanced treatment in the news and the fair distribution of media time.”

It added: “It also becomes more difficult to determine which programs are bought and paid for by political interests and which are not.”

And “while the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas Broadcast Code does have blocktiming rules, it is unable to monitor all the blocktime programs at any given time and its power limited to member stations. As a consequence, blocktiming practice is practically unregulated,” CMFR continued.

Going back to Iloilo. Politics has been so intense that as early as May 2024, or the pre-D-day for the radio “blocktime” showdown, candidates with massive financial preparations have already started lambasting their prospective election rivals through hired “blocktime” talents, belittling their competence and ability to lead, and questioning their winnability and acceptability in public.

There are a few conjectures as to what the “D” stands for. Some have said it is an abbreviation for “departure” or “decision.” Others claim that it stands for “doomsday.”

However, according to the United States military, the origin of the popular nickname has more to do with their terminology. D-Day is an alliterative placeholder used to designate a particular day on the calendar.

The phrase “D-Day” was used by the Army to designate a specific starting date for field operations. On June 6, 1944, Allied forces invaded German-occupied beaches of Normandy, France. This significant day in history became commonly known as “D-Day,” though the actual meaning of the nickname isn’t as well understood.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)

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