Freeze | What I Learned at DXWT FM

DXWT FM, also known as Wild FM, WT or Wild 92.3 WT FM, of the University of Mindanao Broadcasting Network (UMBN) is now 30 years old. It was the brainchild of brothers Willie and Nicky Torres. Using only a local “Galang-made” low power radio transmitter, the station delighted the audience in July 1988 and snatched the throne from 93.9 XL FM as the top pop music station in Davao City in less than one year.

Keys to its phenomenal success may be gleaned from some of the station’s slogans. “The only station that goes an extra mile for your musical satisfaction” and “Guaranteed 20 minutes of nonstop music, twice every hour” clearly defined Wild FM’s promise to its listeners. 1a

The Torreses’ programming philosophy was akin to what I learned from the late Atty. Ed Montilla of Manila Broadcasting Company when I worked for DXGE AM Davao and DYRC Cebu between 1980 and 1982. I asked Mr. Montilla about his formula and he simply said, “Play what the competition plays – and more.”

Contrary to popular belief, DXWT did not invent the beatmatched non-stop dance format on radio. The DJs of 93.9 XL FM were already live mixing records whenever possible then but too many advertisements prevented them from doing it consistently. Commercial overloading was the weakest point of the so-called “Pride and Joy of Davao City, 93.9 XL FM.”

DXWT played what 93.9 XL FM played and the Torres brothers regularly added hard-to-find extended play (EP) records from the U.S. to its arsenal. Napster, mp3, and commercial compact discs were not yet available then. While other radio stations relied on record supply from record companies, DXWT invested on imported vinyl materials to beef up its music library. That was an extra mile.

The Wild Boys during its reunion at Acropolis Super Club (before the dance club was renamed as WAV Entertainment Central)

The Wild Boys during its reunion at Acropolis Super Club (before the dance club was renamed as WAV Entertainment Central)

Also, its default commercial load was limited to two minutes per break or eight minutes every hour (93.9 XL had more than twice), which allowed DXWT to deliver 20 minutes of nonstop beatmatched dance mixes twice every hour. That was a lot more than what the competition played.

Some of those US records had dubbed out versions or cuts without vocals. They’re called “minus one” in local parlance. Those instrumental materials served as vehicles for me to produce parodies in Cebuano. I turned “Xtasy Xtano” by Chimo Bayo into ‘Lekasi Tapsilog,” “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice into “Ways Ways Sapi,” and “Short Short Man” by 20 Fingers into ‘Nganong Ga-Short Shorts Ka,” to name a few. The audience enjoyed the Bisaya adaptations. In a way, BisPop was born at DXWT.

Some of the original cast of DXWT

Some of the original cast of DXWT

When DXWT operated an FM station in Cebu, I wrote two original Cebuano songs: the controversial “Bisan Pa (Baho ka ug Tiil)” ballad and the pleasant upbeat “Cebu Cebu” to woo the audience. In about two days, the Cebuanos were already searching for the radio station that was playing the “Baho’g Tiil (Smelly Feet)” song.

When Prospero Nograles ran against Benjamin de Guzman for mayor of Davao City, DXWT produced “Si Boy ug Ben (originally For You I Will by Monica)” Cebuano parody to explain the difficulty of choosing between the two candidates.

Stoked by the positive reception of modern Bisaya music, DXWT introduced a rap contest in Cebuano and discovered Thavawenyoz (Jay Lagnayo and Boonie Batuto) with their ‘Hubag” material which eventually won Best Regional Recording in Awit Awards when Alpha Records produced the duo’s commercial album.

By the way, although the Park View Hotel Jingle (words and music by Johnny Holiday, arrangement, keyboard, and vocals by Rannie Yu) was not done in Cebuano, it has become the most familiar jingle in the Visayas and Mindanao because DXWT and its sister stations promoted it well. The jingle is a lingering testament to the power of consistent promotion.

I am no longer privy to the current programming philosophy of DXWT but I hope that it continues to produce songs and radio jingles by local talents because they are among the proven “extra miles” in radio entertainment.

Staying competitive for three decades is no mean feat. Congratulations to the management, staff, and talents of DXWT for keeping up the fight to remain as one of the most respected music stations in Davao City.

 

 

 

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