A History of Broadcasting in the Philippines From World War II to the Birth of Philippine Television
One of the most significant events that shaped the nation was the birth of the Philippine radio. In June 1922, a couple of 50-watt radio stations were established in Pasay and in Manila by Henry Hermann. During that time, the Filipinos readily accepted radio news and entertainment programs, and local businessmen, who recognized its profitability, established their own radio stations to advertise their products and services.
In 1924, the first two call letters “KZ” was assigned to all radio stations in the Philippines in accordance with the laws of the United States of America applicable to the country, which was then an American colony. KZKZ, a 100-watt radio station, replaced the 50-watt radio stations established earlier by Hermann.
In 1929, KZRC, Radio Cebu, opened in Cebu and introduced radio broadcasting in the province. However, it was closed down because shortwave relay signals were unsuccessful between Cebu and Manila. It reopened after a decade and fearlessly went on air with the guerilla movements.
Promulgated in 1931, the Commonwealth Act No. 3840, also known as the Radio Control Law, created the Radio Control Division, the regulatory body of the broadcast industry under the supervision of the secretary of commerce and industry. Later, it was renamed Radio Control Office that lasted until 1972 when President Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081 and “placed the entire country under martial law” and when the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters sa Pilipinas was established “to police its own rank.”
Shortly after the bombing of the Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Japanese airplanes bombed Manila and attacked Davao, Baguio, Clark Field in Pampanga, and the American Naval Base in Cavite. The Japanese Imperial Army diversionary forces landed in Legaspi, Albay; Aparri, Cagayan; and Vigan, Ilocos Sur and the main invasion forces landed in Lingayen, Pangasinan. President Manuel Quezon, Vice President Sergio Osmeña, and Lt Gen Douglas MacArthur left Manila and departed for Corregidor.
During that time, six commercial radio stations were already established, and these were KZEG, KZIB, KZRC, KZRF, KZRH, and KZRM. Only one of these radio stations, KZRM, stayed on the air for a very long period since 1927.
On December 28, 1941, three weeks after the attack of the Pearl Harbor, the United States provided a shortwave relay station in the Philippines. Radio programs were compiled in Washington, sent out through the NBC network, relayed through the KGEI in San Francisco, California, and beamed to the five radio stations in Manila and to the radio station in Cebu. This long but cumbersome shortwave relay station lasted for six days and was discontinued when the Japanese forces entered and occupied the City of Manila on January 2, 1942 after General MacArthur declared Manila an open city to avoid further destruction and loss of civilian lives. The following day, Gen Masaharu Homma, the Japanese Imperial Army commander in chief, announced the end of the American occupation, the imposition of martial law, and the establishment of the Japanese Military Administration.