Sunday, April 28, 2019


Radio, as a new communication medium officially came to the Philippines in 1922 when a test broadcast was made by a Mrs. Redgrave from Nichols Air Field using a 5-watt transmitter. Early broadcasting was a strictly an American affair until the 1930s when local songs and program, started to be heard from KZIB, KZRH and KZRG Stations. In this new medium, the Kapampangan voice found its place, and our kabalens who animated the airwaves became welcome presences in every home with a transistor-- disseminating news, dispensing advice, making commentaries or simply spinning music to the avid listener.

Mila Balatbat, who started her radio career at age 15, found great success by becoming a successful independent producer of programs (a‘blocktimer’) heard on DZRH, DZBB, DZAQ, DZMY,  PBS (Philippine Broadcasting Service) and Eagle Broadcasting Corp.  She was the host of such programs as “Mila Balatbat’s Radio Stars”, “Let’s Go Shopping with Mila” (DZBB, 1960-1962).

One of the earliest peronalities to join the radio bandwagon was Angelo Ruiz Castro of Tarlac. A brother of former chief justice Fred Ruiz Castro, Angelo joined Manila Broadcasting Company at Insular Life Bldg. and was known as the “Good Time King”. In 1946, he became the chief announcer of Station KZOK. Under Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, he headed the Radio Department of the Office of the Press Secretary. Angelo’s sons, Angelo Castro Jr.(husband of June Keithley) and Naldie also became announcers

The checkered career of Angelo Y. Castro Jr. (b.6 Mar. 1945/ d. 5 Apr. 2012) includes being the anchor of ABS-CBN’s “The World Tonight” (with Loren Legarda), broadcast journalist, news manager (1986, ABS-CBN) and TV/ Film actor (Bong in “Baltic & Co,). For ANC, he hosted the travel show Las Islas Filipinas. Retired in 2009 after being diagnosed with lung cancer, he continued his anchoring duties together with Teddy Boy Locsin and Tina Monzon-Palma on ‘The World Tonight”. Married to the late TV and radio personality, June Keithley, with whom he had 2 children, Diego  and Gabriella.

The King of Over-Acting, Ben David, was born as Bienvenido Parungao, the 4th of 8 children of Enrique Parungao and Raymunda David, both Kapampangans. Baritone-voiced Ben made his presence felt with his overly dramatic signature quips: “Oh, hindeeee!”and “Hangaaal!”. He became  an announcer for DZAQin 1966, an apt host for the program ,”Ginoong Mananakot”. In 1967, he became an announcer for ABS-CBN. He produced and directed “Dear Kuya Cesar”, and disc-jockeyed for “Patrolman OA”. David also broke into the movies, debuting in “Ismol bat Teribol” , a 1957 comedy from Sampaguita Pictures. He was cast in “Da Best Show”, “Tang-Tarang-Tang”and “Buhay Artista”. His most famous character role is playing Hudas Iscariote to    the hilt.

Arminda “Minda” Feliciano (1 June, 1931) was the daughter of Manuel Valdez Feliciano, a district engineer, and Amparo Santana of Batanes. Before she became an international jetsetter, Feliciano had a brief career with radio in 1956, specifically on DZFM. She had auditioned for a single slot with Eddie Mercado and Johnny Wilson. But big boss Koko Trinidad wanted all 3 of them, so he offered all 3 to share the Php120 a month salary. Surprisingly, all three agreed. The arrangement was great for awhile, but eventually the 3 broke up ,and Feliciano moved to DZMB.with a hefty salary of Php150 monthy, plus 30 pesos add-on talent fee. The pretty announcer then moved to the U.S., to pursue an acting career. She snagged a role in the popular TV series,”Hawaiian Eye”, of Warner Brothers. Her world trips led to a chance meeting with actor Michael Caine. The two were soon engaged, but nothing came out of their affair. Feliciano was also linked with singer Tony Bennett, but a more lasting relationship was formed  with Norman John McClintock Lonsdale, an English blue blood, whom she wed in 1997.

Reynante "Rey" Magat Langit (b. 30 Sept. 20, 1948) is known for his public service radio programs that served mostly overseas Filipino workers. With his bombastic announcing style, Langit became well-known for remaining on air for 2 straight days during the People Power revolution. The multi-awarded broadcaster was the Station Manager of the AM Radio station DWIZ 882 kHz. and vice president of Aliw Broadcasting Corporation until 2016, disrupted by a foiled senatorial bid in 2016. After over 2 decades at DWIZ, he joined  PTV as anchor of programs "Insider Exclusive Kapihan" "Kasangga Mo ang Langit" and "Balitang Tanghali". He is producer of TV and radio shows under his  Heavenly Images Productions. A son,Reyster, also became a journalist, but died of cerebral malaria while on assignment in Palawan in 2005.

The eldest of Kapampangan Aurelio and Romaman Nucum, Cesar Nucum  (15 May 1938-d. 17 May 2007) was a balut vendor and bote’t dyaryo dealer before he auditioned in Manila to become an announcer. He got a job at DZRM, only to be pirated by ABS-CBN. For his narrative program “Mga Kasaysayan sa Likod ng Langit”, he evolved thestyle of Eddie Ilarde, developing it into his signature snail-paced, monotonous delivery.Thus, “Kuya Cesar”was born., a personal used in his radio shows “Dear Kuya Cesar” and “Ikaw sa Likod ng mga Awit”. His career lasted for many decades,  halted temporarily in 1972 during Martial Law. In the many programs he hosted, Kuya Cesar gave out advice, played music, spoke in tagalog and Eglish—always in his deep, distinctive slow-paced manner.

PERRY PANGAN (Mabalacat)
The quintessential voice of Pampanga,  Fernando “Perry” Pangan. He is the seasoned voice and station manager of RW 95.1 FM that was put up in the province at the height of the lahar inundation, where he reported the most accurate information of the state of Pampanga towns. Under his helm, RW 95.1 FM rose to become one of the most respected, and most awarded radio stations in the province. In 2011, the radio station  RW 95.1 FM was selected as the country’s Best Provincial FM Radio Station. A skilled commentator and public affairs host, he heads the “Talakayan  Ngayon” with Boy Santiago and Albert Lacanlale, Son Chester Pangan became a broadcaster at the age of 19 for a rival station, GV 99.1 FM and a TV personality on Channel 3 in Angeles City, Philippines. He now hosts a morning show on radio in Winnipeg, Canada.

The 1960s also saw the rise of a former seminarian from Minalin as the quintessential voice of news and current events. Orly Punzalan took the bus to Manila and auditioned for DZFM as a newscaster for the Department of National Defense. He passed the auditions and got a starting salary of 30 pesos a week, working with the likes of Jose Mari Avellana, Joonee Gamboa and Tita Muñoz. Making the transition to TV, he became a booth announcer for Channel 3 where he met and married Helen Vela.

Gapan-born  Jose Malgapo Taruc, Jr. (b.18 Sep. 1946/d/ 30 Sep. 2017) ranks as  one of the most popular and most followed news anchor on DZRH, in which he was also the station’s senior vice president. He anchored the longest-running public affairs program “Pangunahing Balita” and  “Damdaming Bayan”, often heard interviewing high-profile politicians, including the president. Best remembered for his trailblazing role in ABS-CBN DZAQ Radyo Patrol before  Martial Law, Taruc also worked in tandem with  Dely Magpayo and Noli de Castro in a KBS morning program. from , then joined DZBB Bisig Bayan 594 (later, Super Radyo) , until his transfer in 1991 to DZRH. Taruc’s son, Jay Taruc is well-known TV documentarist.

The most influential radio personality from radio’s golden years is Rafael “Paeng” Yabut of Candaba. Growing up in Tondo, he started as a commercial reader for blocktimer Luz Mat Castro. During the Japanese occupation, he became an announcer at Star Theater along Azcarraga. After Liberation, he became a barker for “Atomic Bomb”, a honky tonk place along Rizal Avenue.In the late 1940s, he was offered by Hal Bowie, General Manager of MBC to do a daily Tagalog program called “Tayo’y Mag-aliw”. But instead of providing entertainment, he made stinging news commentaries against certain characters in the government. His program drew not only high listenership but also friends and foes alike. By 1957, Yabut had accumulated so much pulling power at DZRH that he was urged to run for president in 1957 against Carlos P. Garcia. Instead, he endorsed Manuel Manahan, then shifted to Jose Yulo. Both lost. For his political meddling, Yabut was suspended from his broadcast work, leaving behind his high-rating programs like "Ruleta Musikal", "Tatlo Lamang", "Gumising sa Pagsikat ng Araw". His most serious brush with death was when he was ambushed by a gunman after his tirades against Philippine Charity Sweepstakes. He recuperated, joined DZFM, but by then his credibility was in tatters. After the People Power revolution, he joined DZBB, only to be assigned the graveyard shift. Not long after that, Paeng Yabut died

Aniceto, Ben. Stay Tuned: The Golden Years of Philippines Radio. A Historical Perspective of Philippine Radio—its Beginnings, its Golden Years and its Suppression in Sepetmeber 1972.Atlas Publishing Co., Inc. Quezon City. © 2007
Rafael Yabut Photo: Castro, Alex R.  viewsfromthepampang.blogspot, “Pilot of the Airwaves”
Angelo Castro Jr. Photo:
Minda Feliciano Photo: wikimedia commons
Rey Langit Photo: wikimedia commons
Cesar Numcum Photo: FB page
Perry Pangan photo:
 Orly Punzalan Photo:
All others:Aniceto, Ben. Stay Tuned: The Golden Years of Philippines Radio. A Historical Perspective of Philippine Radio