First up. Happy Easter to one and all! Just got back from that six-hour stay in Baguio where I was able to witness the lakeside Easter Sunday service at Burnham Park (photos to follow).
And on that same day (Easter Sunday), a new and totally different concept on FM radio in the Metro was born. A radio station devoted solely to playing chill-out, trance, some house and not-so-heard alternative tracks, something we won’t see on other radio stations (the most these could do, even its predecessor, is to have them as segments).
Enter 92.3 xFM.
It takes the place of 923 Joey, an easy-listening-oriented station which has been on the air since 1998. (I won’t fret because Joey lately has lost its touch, being beaten out by rivals 105.1 Crossover which recently changed its programming thrust to start catering to a younger audience as well and 106.7 Dream FM, that’s why I must say xFM is an upgrade from Joey.)
While on my way back to the big city, I first tested with the thought that Joey was still on-air (since during the Holy Week holidays, they neither opted to go off-air nor play specialized programming; hence they went on their regular programming and commercials). And lo and behold, even while the bus I was with got stuck in Tarlac traffic (partly because of the swarm of people heading back to Manila after the break), I noticed an evident change with the kind of music they play, which was more of Anton Ramos faves and trance acts. It only became clearer once we got past Pampanga and the new station ID was played.
At first I dreaded the reformat — I dreaded the word itself — because local radio has already been witness to the reformat of three FM stations, starting with Quest pulling the plug on K-Lite and delivering the death blow on 99.5 RT (which Quest renamed as Hit FM), and the most damning of them all, GMA executing Campus Radio 97.1 LS-FM (which was bad then but I could bear the format and some of the selections they play) and changing it into the detestable Barangay LS Forever! Well, change may be the only thing that’s constant in the world, but with these three changes in radio, I hoped whatever would be done to Joey then (which I read on the boards) would only be for the better. And yeah, it was for the better, since it’s an upgrade.
Since then, my cellphone radio preset has been stuck with xFM and I swear that my ears would be stuck with the kind of music they play.
Surely enough, with the tracks they play and the fact that the management didn’t turn into sell-outs, xFM is clearly a good reason why I should stay tuned into FM radio.