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Radio nowadays is like a drug, addicting but with no good effects - Sgt. Pepper

kariristakarirista Pasaway buster PExer
This is an essay written by radio jock Sgt. Pepper/The Sarge on Facebook which underlines the current state of radio in the Philippines and its effect/s on society. He could've said it better, especially with the alarming proliferation of substandard programming.

Sharing this with his permission.



Vendor: Boss! wanna buy cigarette?
American: How much?
Vendor: Very cheap Joe, only 25 cents a stick
Vendor: I also have stork for you, perfect for cigarette
American: Hey cool, I didn’t know cigarette goes perfectly well with menthol candy.
Vendor (smiling): Only in the Philippines sir, only in the Philippines

That’s a common scene in the streets of Manila decades back.

I recall during those days when cigarette vendors who never attended school can confidently communicate to any foreigner at any given place and time. Now tell me, where did that person learned English? Well definitely neither from books nor from his family.

I would say he learned English from TV and mostly from radio. I remember when English was common language on FM radio, the Philippines was on Asia’s Top 3 for English speaking countries.

Although there have been many arguments about the preferred use of language on FM Radio since 2005, the “masa” stations have flourished and massively influence the way the common people think and talk. But our youth is suffering not only from English deficiency problem but from Tagalog language mediocrity.

Now some Tagalog speaking DJ would defend this argument saying that it is their way of communicating to the masses. I love the language with all my heart, but Tagalog is everywhere and you do not need that on radio, much more using colloquial Tagalog is degrading and “nakakabobo.” You will ask me, what about Japan who uses Japanese as their primary language? But I ask you back, have you ever heard of a Japanese overseas worker? Do we produce LED TVs, Computers, and other electronic gadgets and appliances that would skyrocket us to being a first world economic tiger? Our country’s success is our workforce.

I say, Filipinos are very adaptable to any situation, and they are always open and ready to learn anything they could pick up from the streets. So I don’t believe using Tagalog in FM stations is the best way to communicate to the masses. We should not tolerate the masses’ inability to speak the language instead let them learn not drag them backward. The issue is that Filipinos have forgotten how to speak the international and monetary language that is necessary to uplift our poor economy. And the FM Radio stations have not properly given its share towards globalization.

It is surprising to know that first year college students cannot even speak a complete English sentence without adding the word “ano”. I remember taking the public utility jeep overhearing a couple of students saying that he failed his application to a call center company. The interviewer apparently corrected him from pronouncing vegetables to “ve-ge-ta-bols.” The student ask his classmate, “mali ba yun?”

I can honestly say that my English fluency and proper diction and accent were not all products of my high school English teacher who speaks English with a hard Filipino lawyer accent; no offense but it is true. My English was aided by RADIO, Sesame Street and fortunately some English speaking friends who grew up in the states. But I speak Tagalog when English is not needed. Our surrounding is our greatest teacher, and Radio and TV surrounds everybody. That is why Radio and TV has a great responsibility in honing a perfectly adaptable English speaking nation to cope up with global economy and technology.

It is very alarming to know what most radio station owners would do just to earn more money from what they call a dying industry. If you ever meet one, kindly ask him/her if he encourages his children to listen to their “masa” station. Whether they would answer “Yes” with a smile, I could only speculate otherwise. Much worst, there is an award-giving body that tolerates and glorifies this action. It is a very sad fact that advertising agencies are the driving force for this massive “masa” reformats.

The circle is complete, and our government is numb about this issue. It is inevitable, and we will just have to wait for the negative repercussions. It will take time but it will surely backfire. This is a time where I will have to forbid my children, to listen to such radio stations for their sake. It is like a drug, addicting but hardly with good effects.

So to my fellow DJs who speak in Tagalog, my question is, where do you send your children to school? How do you communicate with them at home? Let us not be hypocrites and forsake your five year toil in college. It all boils down to radio as a mere job and not a responsibility, and that do not make you an inch of a Broadcaster.

If you want to use the Tagalog language on FM radio, then say it in a learned way. Do not murder our native tongue by turning it to below-standard colloquial terms and using it to give listeners momentary laughter. Let us harness our craft, improve it and use it for the betterment of our nation and not for momentary joy and short-term solution.

Our country needs us. Let us give them what they NEED and not what they want!

Nelson Capulso
a.k.a Sgt. Pepper


  • QT IIQT II Bee-doh bee-doh bee-doh bee ✭✭✭
    I agree with his views - it's a sad fact, but I am seeing the circle of mediocrity closing around us. First we get kiddie programming from cable channels Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon dubbed in Tagalog on our "free" channels - now it's the "masa"-ification of FM radio.

    Is it asking too much to give the majority of Pinoys without access to broadband or cable the chance to's a dire state of affairs in our society when we scoff at our call-center-employed brothers/sisters on the "affected" way they speak English.

    Try taking a long, hard look at our small screens, where half-Pinoys (and even some non-Pinoys...Daiana Menezes, stand up and be counted) get the edge over our native-born and bred talents not just because of their superior looks but also because many Pinoys find their inability to grasp the Tagalog language "cute". On the other hand, we still have "sitcoms" that poke fun at our provincial cousins because of their "accented" way they speak Tagalog - or even English for that matter.
  • j5bataj5bata There's also ONE BENILDE! ✭✭✭
    His article was written years ago on one of Sarge's old blog but even now, its relevance still make sense with the state of Manila radio right now.
  • cerberus_024cerberus_024 insane in the membrane PExer
    this is very true mass media should be responsible in educating the public. I remember back in the 80's & 90's where radio stations & tv shows are all in english. I happen to browse the tv recently & stumble upon a tagalog dubbed spongebob cartoon. napaisip ako ganun na ba ka baba ang english proficiency ng mga pilipino at kailangan pa i dubb ang isang english program to tagalog.
  • TheYoungbloodTheYoungblood My pic is self-explanatory. ✭✭✭
    I just have nothing to say. The article said it all the cons on local radio. Just :handsdown:.
  • shiningshining John Lloyd Cruzzz. PExer
    Good job, The Sarge. :handsdown:

    He's right, this reformation or the rebranding into some mass-based stations are getting sick and worse. Before, there were none, zero, as in, none. Yes, there might be some radio stations that speak Tagalog as their main language, but their music is not a headache to the ears, that was before. But look at our mass stations, now? These stations are now a big headache to us. Every funny words uttered by their callers, they laugh about it, even though it is not funny and really corny to our ears. Now, the popularity of these mass stations are really sick, at first, it was a benefit or a compliment to us, but now it is a disadvantage to our present society. Some people can not speak in English anymore and the language that they know, it's not only Tagalog, but some "jologs" and "jejemon" languages because of these stations.

    I'm asking my mind, "If today, the effect of the mass radio to us, is getting worse, how about in the next years, next generations? Are we going to see, 5-10 years from now, from the first frequency up to the last frequency is all-mass stations and stupid languages.

    If we want change, the government must solve on this issue, yes, they might argue that, "They are bringing are OPM industry alive.", yes, but the industry is not really strong unlike before, it was the Eraserheads, Jaya, Janno, and some artists who really sing meaningful and easy-listening songs, but look at the industry now, we all hear is stupid songs like "Tagalog Remakes of Umbrella,etc.", some stupid jejemon songs, etc.

    Tama si Sarge, the mass media can still speak tagalog at their radios, but teaching the people to speak Jejestyles and stupidity, is a big no-no. :)

    If we want a BOOM to our country, start to the media, it is ok to have a mass radio and a socialized radio, but these mass radio must not teach some stupid languages that make people uneducated.

    Before, this was the situation when the street vendors talk to Americans. (Credits to Sarge).
    Vendor: Boss! wanna buy cigarette?
    American: How much?
    Vendor: Very cheap Joe, only 25 cents a stick
    Vendor: I also have stork for you, perfect for cigarette
    American: Hey cool, I didn’t know cigarette goes perfectly well with menthol candy.
    Vendor (smiling): Only in the Philippines sir, only in the Philippines

    Now, look what happened when mass formats came in.
    These straight English languages from vendors, became, tagalog and stupid languages and the effect is that, these vendors can't speak straight English anymore.

    These stations are getting worse than ever.

    Media is one of the biggest contributors to our society, and they must give a big contribution to our country.

    If we want change, start it to the people who will contribute and make a huge impact to our present society. :)
  • the future of radio is internet, stations are crossing over a new media, Max Dance Radio is now online. A new station in Cebu is also starting a CHR format at

    the traditional FM band is now crowded with barriotic programming, i guess well have to leave it that way.
  • cerberus_024cerberus_024 insane in the membrane PExer
    di mo na matatawag na "Original Pilipino Music" ang mga recordings ng local artists ngayon puro remake at revivals na lang ng mga old love songs. divert your ears from mainstream music to underground and you'll find the true OPM artists there.
  • paenggoypaenggoy Member ✭✭✭
    di mo na matatawag na "Original Pilipino Music" ang mga recordings ng local artists ngayon puro remake at revivals na lang ng mga old love songs. divert your ears from mainstream music to underground and you'll find the true OPM artists there.

    Try 98.7 and 104.3, esp. "Bravo, Filipino!" for the first and kundiman and harana for the second.

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