[REQUESTED BY Jebi Tiong Dela Cruz]
LAST RIZAL DAY (December 30), the smooth jazz over Crossover 105.1 (DWBM-FM) stopped playing after a quarter of a century (roughly the same age as the author), stunning loyal listeners and radio enthusiasts as they were not even notified through social media. Today, you can hear them as Q Radio under a different format (possibly, a Top 40 CHR).
For ordinary listeners, they considered it as a “plot twist” at the cusp of the decade but for media professionals and enthusiasts, there is one term that can best describe that move: stunting.
This broadcasting tactic is commonly found on radio broadcasting where a station begins to air content uncharacteristically to what they would usually play. Depending on the station’s situation or management’s preference, it can last between a few minutes to a few weeks before a new format is formally launched or it can happen on a certain day or part of the year.
There are four common types of radio stunting:
- Continuous loop. A station may stunt by playing the same song or songs over and over before introducing it into a new format.
- Temporary format. The station with an outgoing format will stunt into a transitional format — which may or may not be related to the incoming format. This is where 105.1 is undergoing. Perhaps, this is also the practice that neighboring 105.9 had about a year ago.
- Usage of sound effects. As a prelude to a format flip, a series of sound effects may be played to signify the “building” of a new station, the death of an old format and the birth of another.
- Playing all-Christmas music. For the most wonderful time of the year, a station veered away from their intended format to play this specific music; in the Metro Manila market, only RJ 100.3 FM has practiced this.
In television, this is prominently practiced on April Fool’s Day in cable channels but it’s not much found or applicable in the Philippines as doing so could mean complaints and fines.
In the end, stunting is intended as a publicity stunt to generate the sudden attention of every hearing observer.
All right, so where did all that smooth jazz go? For the Metro Manila listeners, it’s on their official website and on their mobile app. For the rest though, the Crossover stations will continue to play that genre but they will soon follow.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Mareco Broadcasting Network