Neil Ocampo, 'newstertainer'
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - December 10, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Last Nov. 8, radio listeners woke up to find Neil Ocampo’s familiar voice gone in DZMM, where he lorded it over the early morning time slot for more than two decades. Avid followers — who can’t imagine mornings without Mang Tonyo and Tongressman Manhik Manaog — patiently surfed through the radio dial. Their efforts paid off since Ocampo’s Todo Balita has a new home: 92.3 News FM, TV5’s radio arm.

It’s like the good old times all over again. Mang Tonyo has kept up with the times and evolved into Jejemang Tonyo. Tongressman Manhik Manaoag kept his Batangueño accent but now answers to the name of Partylist Rep. Abnoy. Like them, Kiskis Flavor dissects the news and bravely speaks his mind about them. They do so with such wit and irreverence, you shake off the sleep from your head and sit bolt upright in the jeepney or in the car on your way to work or school. And that’s Monday to Friday, 8 to 10 a.m.

So how did DZMM’s loss become TV5’s gain?

Ocampo’s answer is simple: “I’m no longer happy.”

He relates that DZMM wanted to give him the 3 to 5 a.m. timeslot after the radio station took Noli de Castro back on board. Neil said no way.

“Who will tune in to me in that timeslot?” he wondered aloud. “My avid listeners are still asleep at that time. So who will listen to me? The policeman salvaging a hapless guy? The guy making pandesal?

Radyo Singko (which is behind 92.3 News FM) gave him an offer he can’t refuse. The station not only gave Neil the timeslot he wanted, it even raised his talent fee.

But he wants to make one thing clear. He has nothing against Noli. He knows what happened was part of healthy competition.

Instead of crying over spilled milk, Neil chose to focus on the all-new, all-improved Todo Balita.

He promises all-new impersonations. Soon, Neil will tap taxi drivers to be part of the news team or what he calls Balita Patrol.

Neil can see it now. These cab drivers will bring in fresh inputs that will make his new segments HBO: Hambalos Banat On-the-Spot and CNN: Commentary ni Neil even more exciting.

Listeners will not only hear Neil, who wants to be known henceforth as a “newstertainer” (newsman and entertainer). Next year, his followers will finally see his face on TV for the first time. That oh-so-familiar voice will finally look televiewers in the eye once Kapatid Network launches its teleradyo version in early 2011.

“Expect meatier, more hard-hitting discussions,” Neil promises. “We will take potshots at erring newsmakers, but we will also do it with a smile.”

Feelings may get hurt, but the pain will go away soon as Jejemang Tonyo and Partylist Abnoy trade punchlines.

As Neil says, it will be funnier, better this time around.

Some mornings may see you waking up on the wrong side of the bed. But with Todo Balita, you will never want for anything to chat about once you reach the office or say hi to your barkada in school. 

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