KZIB became the second radio broadcast station to operate in the Philippines…
KZIB became the second radio broadcast station to operate in the Philippines when it began airing on 9 November 1925 in Manila.
KZIB became the second radio broadcast station to operate in the Philippines when it began airing on 9 November 1925 in Manila. It was put up by American department store owner Isaac Beck to provide entertainment and to advertise his merchandise, including radio sets and Gramophone-brand phonographs. Bearing his initials, it started broadcast at a low power of 20 watts from the Crystal Arcade on Escolta Avenue, where department store IBeck Escolta was located, then increased to one kilowatt in 1931, on 900 kc longwave and 49.67 M. and 31.58 M. shortwave. Beck, also the local distributor of the American music recording company Columbia Records, used the station to promote Columbia’s musical recordings, including Filipina diva Nati de Arellano’s Paalam sa Pagkadalaga (Farewell to Maidenhood) and Ang Dalagang Pilipina (The Filipino Maiden) pressed in California.
While KZIB was managed by an American, Al Naftaly, most of the staff were Filipinos, including his assistants. Hernandez and announcers Encarna Bascaran and Filipino-American Ira Davis. Beck himself directed some of the music programs that featured Arellano aka Tinay Arellano, Fernando Poe, Ding Yalung, Koko Trinidad, Remigio Mat Castro, Katy dela Cruz, Atang de la Rama, and other vaudeville stars who were making the transition from the vaudeville stage to radio. Half of KZIB’s programming was musical, including popular and classical music, popular dance numbers, and other foreign music such as those from Spain, South America, and China. The rest of the programs included literary readings, lectures, news, business reports, sports, religious services, and programs from the United States such as comedies and dramas.
The popularity of Filipino music such as the kundiman (love song) and the entry of Filipino blocktimers who bought airtime and produced their own programs with the support of local businesses brought Tagalog into wide circulation on radio. In the 1930s, five of the six sponsored programs on KZIB were in Tagalog and only one was in English. By 1940, most of KZIB’s entire programming was in Tagalog (Trinidad, n.d.; General Records of the Department of State, RG 59).
Like other stations operating during the period, KZIB ceased broadcasting on the final days of December 1941 as the Japanese advanced toward Manila, involving the Philippines in World War II.