KZPI was one of the first radio stations to go on the air in the Philippines after World War II.
KZPI was one of the first radio stations to go on the air in the Philippines after World War II. It was operated by the prewar Far East Broadcasting Corporation (FEBC) under a new owner. With a power of 10 kilowatts on 800 kHz airing from the sixth floor of Filipinas Insurance Co Building in Plaza Moraga, Manila, with transmitter in Bulacan, KZPI went on test broadcast on 1 July 1946. Three days later, it covered live the July 4 declaration of Philippine independence and the inauguration of the second Philippine Republic, with Manuel Roxas as president, at Luneta Park. It was one of only three radio stations on the air, the others being KZRH and KZFM.
When American broadcaster Norman Paige bought FEBC from J. Amado Araneta, operator of the prewar KZRF and KZRM, he hired another American, Henry Miller, as production manager and put up KZPI—PI for Philippine Islands. He then opened another station in Manila, KZOK, and one in Cebu, KZBU. In 1948, Paige sold FEBC to the Philippine Broadcasting Company (PBC) owned by Jack Preysler, Leo Prieto, J. Amado Araneta, Jose Avelino, and Andres Soriano. Before the decade was over, Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC), owned by the Elizalde family, bought PBC. By this time call letters of Philippine radio stations had shifted from K to D, so KZPI, KZOK, and KZBU became DZPI, DZOK, and DYBU, respectively. With MBC’s DZRH, DZMB, and DYRC, DZPI and its sister stations joined what was then the largest network of radio stations. It then moved to Ramon Roces Building on Soler St, Santa Cruz, Manila, with Simoun Almario and Angelo Castro replacing general manager Ray Spencer and assistant Paul Smith, respectively. DZPI became one of the three most commercially successful radio stations in the 1950s, along with DZRH and DZMB, with top advertiser support and the most popular programs and broadcasters.
In the 1940s, KZPI’s programming was in English. In the 1950s, already called DZPI, its programs in Tagalog began to go on the air. Among the memorable programs were the game shows Double Your Money, similar to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and Parker Pens Quiz Show, which gave away Parker pens as prize. Its other programs included the radio dramas Mercedes Cruz, Recuerdo (Memento), Freedom Theatre, and Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang (Stories of Grandma Basyang) before it was moved to KZRH; and the variety–musicals Melody Club, Stairway to the Stars, Pundemonium, Radio Schoolhouse, San Miguel Brewery Hour, Jamboree Musical Filipina, Huwag Naman (Please Don’t), and Drama Musikal (Drama Musical).
Among the station’s announcers, many of whom also worked in television, film, and advertising, were Bob Stewart, Vero Perfecto, Jess Fernandez, Arling Gonzales, Norman Reyes, Ben Ildefonso, Denny Alejandro, Dick Taylor, Simeon Bonzon, Ray Cordova, Cris de Vera, Bill Martinez, Virginia Ildefonso, Frankie Wenceslao, Doreen Ma, Letty Liboon, Bessie Castañeda, Tony Yatco, Leila Benitez, Tita Muñoz, Louie Garcia, Ben Aniceto, Don Lee, Ira Davis, Ester Ilagan, Pinggoy Penson, and Eddie Mercado.