The cool jocks of NU 107

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For the past 16 years, the cool jocks of NU 107 have been the valiant vanguards of the Philippine rock scene. They have been in the forefront and on the cutting edge of rock.

From New Wave in the late ’80s to Grunge in the early ’90s, from the explosion of local alternative music in the mid-’90s to the current resurgence of independent bands, NU 107 has always been riding the wave of the rock zeitgeist. "For as long as there are rock bands, for as long as there is rock music, we will be here to play their songs," declares Mike Pedero, vice president of Progressive Broadcasting. For as long as there are young people out there, NU 107 will always be on the side of the hard-rocking, head-banging youth.

Truth be told, NU’s most loyal listeners have grown up with the station. "Those who have been listening to us since day one are now part of the work force," asserts Mike Ochosa, business manager. "If they were teenagers 16 years ago, they’d be in their early 30s by now. But our mantra is, once a rocker is always a rocker. So even if they are now bank presidents or doctors or lawyers, they will still be listening to rock music and NU 107.

Indeed, NU 107’s listener base is constantly expanding and evolving. And to reflect this never-ending growth, the station has also endeavored to evolve with the times and to develop with the new rock genre.

NU 107 has always been proud of its line: "Home of New Rock." "We play anything that’s new," Pedero explains. "That’s what we are."

In a lot of ways, NU 107 is just as dynamic and diverse as rock itself. "We have shows about different kinds of rock music," Pedero affirms. "There’s Time Bomb, which is basically about punk rock. We have a classic rock and blues show called Crossroads," volunteers Cris Hermosisima, station manager. "It’s anchored by Cousin Ogie who is one of the big names in the old DZRJ".

Variety is the name of the game. NU 107 also airs a slew of new radio talk shows that speak the language of rock, the language of today’s youth.

"Newspaper columnist Jessica Zafra is back on air with us," Hermosisima remarks. "Her show Twisted has quite a following among the young ones. Our anchor show is called The First Show," Ochosa relates. "It’s the morning show and it’s hosted by Trish and Mondo."

Ochosa himself serves as host of the aspirational and inspirational talk show, Secrets of My Success. "It’s an interview show," Ochosa elaborates. "We address a young audience and we interview ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their lives. It’s our way of helping today’s kids plan their future."

Sticking closely to its goal of encouraging the youth to find their voice and role in society, NU 107 has also come up with a unique "amateur rock band show" that discovers fresh talents from Cebu, Davao and Iloilo, even the US. Dubbed In the Raw, the show is hosted by The Dawn drummer Francis Reyes. The popular radio show has spun off to a TV version aired on Channel 37 UN-TV and Channel 4, according to Pedero.

"We actually welcome unsigned, unknown bands to send in their demo tapes," Pedero pipes in. "And if Francis finds them promising, he will feature them on In the Raw. Aside from guesting and performing on the show, they are bound to learn a lot because Francis will also give his comments and share professional tips to help the neophyte bands improve their craft." In the Raw is one of NU 107’s important contributions to ensure the growth, if not the survival of Pinoy rock.

Yet another is the highly anticipated annual event, the NU 107 Rock Awards, which is now on its 10th year. More than a fun party, the NU 107 Rock Awards has actually fulfilled its mission to become a vital force in elevating the standards of local rock.

This year’s Rock Awards gave local bands distinction in the following categories: Sugar Free as Best New Artist; Parokya ni Edgar as Band of the Year; Soul Searching by Urban Dub for Song of the Year; Sa Wakas by Sugar Free for Album of the Year; Daisy (7 Foot Jr.) directed by Pedring Lopez and Kiko Po for Best Music Video; Parnaso ng Payaso (Pan) design by Ulysses Veloso for Best Album Packaging; Kevin Roy of Razorback as Vocalist of the Year; Ira Cruz of Kapatid as Guitarist of the Year; Rommel de la Cruz of Barbie’s Cradle as Bassist of the Year; Allan Burdeos of Kamikazee as Drummer of the Year; Barbie’s Cradle and Angee Rozul for Barbie’s Cradle’s Playing in the Fields as Producer of the Year; Narda for the Raw Award; Kamikazee for the Listener’s Choice Award and The Eraserheads for the Hall of Fame Award.

"Because of the NU 107 Rock Awards, local bands actually started exerting effort to strive for quality," Hermosisima points out. "It’s not only an event," Pedero declares. "It has become the benchmark."

On its 10th year, the NU 107 Rock Awards hosted a retrospective show which turned the spotlight on the old and new strains of Pinoy rock, on the very best local bands that have come out of the scene in the past decade or so. Among those who performed were The Dawn, Razorback, Rivermaya, Cynthia Alexander, Sugarfree, Kamikazee, Urban Dub and many more.

"We presented the best of then and now," Hermosisima states. "These are the brightest that have made, are making, and will make a mark in the local rock scene," Pedero professes.

By presenting the past and the present of Pinoy rock, NU 107 is hopefully heralding its vibrant future.

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