‘Kabayan’ Noli de Castro returns to free radio on Radyo 630

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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‘Kabayan’ Noli de Castro returns to free radio on Radyo 630

Veteran Filipino broadcaster Noli de Castro returns to free radio on July 10, 2023 via Radyo 630, after an absence of three years due to the shutdown on May 5, 2020 of of ABS-CBN's DZMM 630.

Screenshot/Radyo 630 Facebook

(UPDATED) After a three-year absence on free radio, former vice president Noli de Castro is back with his show 'Kabayan' airing on Radyo 630 kHz on the AM band

MANILA, Philippines – Veteran Filipino broadcaster Noli “Kabayan” de Castro returned to free radio on Monday, July 10, after an absence of three years and two months following the shutdown of ABS-CBN’s free-to-air platforms, including its radio station, DZMM TeleRadyo 630, in 2020.

De Castro, who also anchors ABS-CBN’s flagship news program, TV Patrol, hosted the morning radio news program TeleRadyo Serbisyo Balita with ABS-CBN reporter Joyce Balancio and proceeded to host his show, Kabayan, on Radyo 630.

After the network shutdown in May 2020, De Castro could be only seen on digital platforms and on cable service providers, but he returned to free TV when Brother Eddie Villanueva’s A2Z began airing TV Patrol in January 2022 on Channel 11.

O, paano Kabayan, eto na nga ho. Ang nabago lang ho sa amin ay ‘yung 630 kHz. Nasa free radio na ho kami at naririnig na kami halos sa buong Pilipinas,” De Castro said. (Countrymen, this is it. The only change is we’re now on 630 kHz. We’re on free radio now and we can be heard almost all over the Philippines.)

Aside from YouTube, De Castro also said that overseas Filipino workers can now access Radyo 630 via ABS-CBN’s The Filipino Channel and iWantTFC. Radyo 630 is also available on SkyCable and other cable service providers.

Ayun (There) welcome back sa (on) radio kabayan!” said netizen Paul Orijola on Radyo 630’s Facebook page. 

Radyo 630 also began airing dispatches from the field on Monday, including reports from former DZMM reporter Alex Calda and former DZMM TeleRadyo 630 staff Christian Yosores.

Radyo 630, a joint project between House Speaker Martin Romualdez’s Prime Media Holdings Incorporated and media and entertainment firm ABS-CBN Corporation, had announced when it launched on June 30 that De Castro would have a show, but it was only on Monday that the former Philippine vice president started broadcasting duties on the new station.

Under the joint project, ABS-CBN delivers the content for Radyo 630 while Prime Media controls the broadcasting and distribution. ABS-CBN announced on May 23 that it would shut down its DZMM TeleRadyo news channel due to financial losses. However, on the same day, it announced that it would put up a joint venture company controlled by Prime Media for radio broadcasting. ABS-CBN had hoped that all 68 staff of TeleRadyo would get jobs in Radyo 630.

FAST FACTS: Romualdez’s Prime Media Holdings Inc.

FAST FACTS: Romualdez’s Prime Media Holdings Inc.

Radyo 630 is still on soft launch and under test broadcast, and has programs only in the morning from 6 am to 12:30 pm during weekdays and 6 am to 12 noon during weekends. It started its YouTube streaming on July 3, opting to start from scratch than build on DZMM TeleRadyo’s social media accounts. As of July 8, it had 11,000 followers.

After the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered ABS-CBN to shut down its free-to-air platforms on May 5, 2020, its radio station DZMM TeleRadyo 630 could only be seen on cable TV and digital platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.  

De Castro’s return to radio broadcasting strengthens Radyo 630 since he still has a “strong following” among radio listeners, and makes the station competitive vis-a-vis other radio stations, a former network executive told Rappler. 

De Castro, who turned 74 last week on July 6, Thursday, is the most senior broadcaster on Radyo 630. Most of Radyo 630’s other anchors are veteran reporters and news presenters of ABS-CBN and DZMM including Henry Omaga-Diaz, Bernadette Sembrano, Alvin Elchico, Doris Bigornia, Tony Velasquez, Danny Buenafe, Adrian Ayalin, RG Cruz, Sherrie Ann Torres, and Johnson Manabat. 

Omaga-Diaz and Sembrano are co-anchors of De Castro on TV Patrol. Elchico, Balancio, Ayalin, Cruz, Torres, and Manabat are beat reporters of ABS-CBN. Buenafe is a former ABS-CBN bureau chief in the Middle East and in Europe. Velasquez, a former beat reporter, is a news presenter on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), and hosted a show, On the Spot, with Karmina Constantino, on DZMM TeleRadyo.

As of July 10, these were the weekday programs of Radyo 630:

  • 6 am to 7:30 am – Gising Pilipinas with Alvin Elchico and Doris Bigornia
  • 7:30 am to 8 am – TeleRadyo Serbisyo Balita with Noli de Castro  and Joyce Balancio 
  • 8 am to 9 am –  Kabayan with Noli de Castro 
  • 9 am to 10:30 am  – Pintig ng Bayan with Johnson Manabat and Joyce Balancio 
  • 10:30 – 12 noon – Tatak: Serbisyo with Bernadette Sembrano and Winnie Cordero 
  • 12 noon 12:30 pm – Headline Ngayon with Tony Velasquez, Johnson Manabat, Ahwel Paz
  • 12:30 pm to 6:30 pm – music 
  • 6:30 pm to 8 pm – TV Patrol 
  • 8 pm to midnight – music

Radyo 630 weekend programs Saturday:

  • 6 am to 7 am – Ano’ng Ganap with Adrian Ayalin, RG Cruz, and Sherrie Ann Torres
  • 7 am to 9 am –  HOD: Headlines of the Day with Henry Omaga-Diaz
  • 9 am to 10 am – Iwas Sakit, Iwas Gastos with Dr. Luisa Puyat 
  • 10 am to 11 am –  Win Today with Winnie Cordero 
  • 11 am to 12 noon – Wais Consumer with Alvin Elchico 

Radyo 630 weekend programs Sunday:

  • 6 am to 8 am – Ano’ng Ganap with Adrian Ayalin, RG Cruz, and Sherrie Ann Torres
  • 8 am to 9:30 am – Aprub Yan with Danny Buenafe
  • 9:30 am to 11 am – Panalong Diskarte with May Valle Ceniza and Salve Duplito 
  • 11 am to 12 noon – Wow Sikat with Lyza Aquino

De Castro topped the senatorial election in the 2001 elections, and went on to win the vice-presidency in the 2004 elections when he ran with the then-incumbent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. 

De Castro, the Philippines’ most successful broadcaster, earned then-President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s ire with some of his commentaries.

Although he did not name De Castro during TV Patrol’s 25th anniversary on July 27, 2012, Aquino criticized a TV Patrol anchor who was an ex-government official. 

“Napaisip nga po ako: ‘yung nagkomento nito, hindi ba’t anim na taon ding tumangan sa renda ng gobyerno? Sabihin na po nating minana lang din nila ang problema; ‘di hamak mas luma naman ang ipinamana nilang problema sa amin.

(It made me think. The one making the comment, wasn’t he holding the reins of government for 6 years? Let us say that they also just inherited the problem; the problem they left us was even older.)

“Anim na taon ang ipinagkaloob sa kanya para tumulong sa pagsasaayos ng mismong inireklamo niya. Pero ngayon, tayo na nga ang may bitbit na problema, tayo na nga ang tutugon dito, pero masakit nga ho, may gana pang hiritan ng nagpamana?”

(He was given 6 years to help fix what he was complaining about. But now, we are already carrying the burden, we are the ones responding to this but what is painful is that, the one who passed on the problem still has the gall to criticize.) 

Aquino’s dislike of De Castro is believed to be one of the reasons why ABS-CBN opted not to seek a franchise renewal during the presidency of Aquino. Former foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. had tweeted back in 2020 that Aquino was against a franchise renewal, and the former ABS-CBN talent said it had a better chance of getting approved under Aquino’s predecessor, Arroyo.

Aquino died on June 24, 2021 at 61.

With its franchise set to expire in May 2020, ABS-CBN sought a franchise renewal during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte. But the former Davao City mayor made sure the Lopez-led company would not get it after he felt the network unfairly treated him in the 2016 elections. Duterte’s allies in House of Representatives rejected ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal in July 2020, causing the publicly listed company to bleed financially. Around 5,000 workers of ABS-CBN lost their jobs in the aftermath as advertising revenue shrunk.

De Castro sought to run again for a Senate seat in the 2022 elections under Aksyon Demokratiko but changed his mind five days after filing his certificate of candidacy. Aksyon Demokratiko’s presidential candidate, former Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, lost badly in the race, finishing fourth.

De Castro returned to ABS-CBN on November 8, 2022, and resumed his radio show, Kabayan, on DZMM TeleRadyo, and anchoring duties on TV Patrol. – Rappler.com

The politics of radio: New station DWPM Radyo 630 is born

The politics of radio: New station DWPM Radyo 630 is born

(Disclosure: The author is former editor-in-chief of ABS-CBN’s general news website, news.abs-cbn.com. He is not related to Noli de Castro.)

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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.