Mighty Mike
24/7 (DAY IN THE LIFE) - Bot and Don () - February 27, 2011 - 12:00am

There’s something about Mike Enriquez’s voice that makes people want to listen, whether he is delivering the early morning newscast on GMA Network’s radio arm DZBB’s Saksi sa Dobol B or on the air with Mel Tiangco weeknights in 24 Oras. His threatening intonation in his parting shot, “Hindi namin kayo tatantanan!” as Imbestigador host probably ups the scare factor for people considered as menace to society.

Then, there is even his popular line, “Excuse me po!” that kids and oldies blurt in an amusing, unmistakable Mike Enriquez manner whenever they utter the polite expression.

But for Mike, it is credibility that grabs the audience and keeps it glued to the set when it comes to news and public affairs programs.

“Of course, the voice, the look, the attire, the set, the graphics, they all count because TV is a visual medium,” Mike said in an exclusive interview with The STAR. “But at the end of the day, the credibility, the perception of being truthful and balanced and not favoring or protecting anyone are the most crucial factors.”

Thus, the Kapuso news team always makes it a point to validate information before disseminating the news to the public. The continuous quest for excellence is part of the culture of GMA News and Public Affairs.

“This is the age of citizen journalism. People can text that something happened here or there. But we do not air it just because somebody texted. It’s okay if we’re not the first as long as we’re the surest. Even on radio, we have to confirm first,” said Mike who is also SVP for Radio of GMA and president of RGMA Network, Inc.

People behind news programs usually hold at least two story conferences every day — one in the morning and another in the afternoon — where the producers and editors meet. Mike keeps tabs on the different issues that interest people. The two sides of the story are presented through phone interviews for balanced and fair delivery of news.

“It’s always a collective effort. No single individual can go and rise up and claim solo credit for the product of what we do. The people decide on the result of our work, that’s why it is in our core value that the viewer is the boss.”

Mike doesn’t mind being roused from his sleep in the middle of the night on newsworthy issues on politics or natural disasters. Two wake-up calls from the station assist him to do the tough act of waking up at 4 a.m. for five consecutive days of the week and go straight to GMA radio booth for his 6 to 10 a.m. radio program.

The broadcasting profession, Mike says, requires passion and as he put it, a “ting” (short for tingaling, Tagalog for lunacy). His career started in 1969 yet he maintains the passion burning to this day.

“God didn’t design our body to wake up at 4 or 4:30 every morning unless you do Simbang Gabi but you only do that for nine mornings. Me, I need to be like that, that’s craziness. It’s really an effort to wake up that early every day.”

Another outright example of “ting,” Mike shared, was his Iraq War coverage where he vividly risked life and limb to get live reports. He was supposed to go with a cameraman but at the day of their flight, the cameraman forgot his papers and Mike had no choice but to fly solo. There, he witnessed how a missile landed on an upscale mall, merely a five-minute walk from his hotel. Instinctively, he grabbed the camera, went down on foot from his 11th floor hotel room and ran towards the bombarded area without considering his own safety.

“In the middle of bombing, it’s also admirable how our kababayan trapped in Iraq wanted to be seen on camera not because gusto nila ma-TV but to let their loved ones know they’re okay. The lunacy was there but at the same time nakakabilib talaga ang Pinoy na kahit bagsak na, okey pa rin.”

But his radio commentaries, Mike says, often earn negative reactions from those who had been “hurt” while praises and thanks pour out from those he had helped.

With the men and women of GMA News and Public Affairs who are busy working on their latest news channel GMA News TV on Channel 11

Asked if he had received death threats, Mike replied, “Let me put it this way, you don’t lose anything by making security a 24/7 concern and pag-iingat. The network takes care of my security.”

Would he recommend journalism to the young generation?

“I would recommend kids to go where their heart lies. I’d like to believe that being in this industry is also a vocation, it’s a calling. Originally, I’d like to be a Franciscan priest but I was not meant to be one, much to my disappointment. My parents didn’t like the idea. That may be God’s way of telling me ‘Don’t force it, kid.’ I may be called but not chosen.

“I was given many breaks in between but this is the thing I know how to do and people say I’m good at. Probably this is God’s way of saying, ‘I put you here because that’s where you will be of most help.’”

His Good Samaritan ways reflect in his personal advocacy on education and alleviating poverty. He gives financial support to a parish church in Sta. Ana and Kapuso Foundation.

“Whenever I received honorarium in speaking engagements pero di ko yun hiningi ha, I issue a personal check kasi nakapangalan sa akin ’yon and it automatically goes straight to the foundation where I am a member of the board of trustees.”

He also partly shares his every achievement to his staff, always believing in the credo: There’s no limit to what one can achieve if he does not mind who gets the credit.

Beginning tomorrow, Feb. 28, hourly newscasts, live coverage, in-depth documentaries and hard-hitting investigative programs can be accessed on GMA 7’s News TV aired on Ch.11.

GMA News TV kicks off with Dobol B sa News TV, simulcast from Mike’s radio show on DZBB, airing from 6 to 10 a.m.

On the personal front, Mike finds time for leisure.

“Fortunately, ’yung mga personal pursuits ko do not require booking a ticket or making a reservation. I either go to a coffee shop or stay in the comfort of our living room. I have a lazy boy in our house and a den where I turn the air-con full blast and read a book. I’m a very intense and passionate reader.”

He also loves watching movies on DVDs. Among his favorites are Saving Private Ryan and Gladiator.

“I’ve watched Gladiator five times already pero intro pa lang aliw na aliw talaga ko lalo sa tunog ng espada kaya tinotodo ko talaga yung (audio) system at dumadagundong ang buong bahay. Lately, I’ve also watched documentaries about the Air Force 1, the Secret Service and the Vatican and those from the National Geographic.”

His wife usually interrupts his “movie marathon” through the intercom telling him, “Kakain na!

“And we have a rule in the house: My wife doesn’t cook on weekends so we are forced to eat out.”

But life was different when Mike and wife Lizabeth were just starting going out on dates 34 years ago. “Wala kaming pera nun kaya sinegwelas lang at asin ang kinain namin. Ayos na, date na yun.”

Now that he is at the peak of his career, is there something more he wants to do?

“I’d like to read more books and watch all my favorite DVDs. In short I want to slow down; I’ve been working since I was 19. I think I deserve the break. ”

With various tasks on his shoulders, find out how Mike gets through the day from the time he rolls out of bed until he shuts off his eyes at night:

4 to 4:30 a.m. — I wake up, take a bath and leave the house while everyone is asleep.

5:30 to 5:45 a.m. — I’m inside GMA premises and the first person I see is Rommel Seva, the senior radio desk editor. He’s a combination of producer, alaskador, asar and supporter. We go over the news before the show starts.

6 to 10 a.m. — I’m onboard in Saksi sa Dobol B.

10 a.m. — I turn off my radio anchor switch and turn on my switch as senior officer of GMA. My main job is to oversee the radio business of GMA, ‘di nila ko kinuha para maging anchor, kulang lang sila nung 1995. Itong mukhang ‘to sa palagay mo pang TV ito?

12 noon — Usually I have a working lunch with the advertisers. We talk about campaigns, about how we can serve their needs because I don’t look at them as customers but partners for us to grow together.

1 or 2 p.m. — Back in the office to check e-mails, attend meetings and sometimes talk with the bosses. If the schedule is light, then I take power nap.

I also do voice-overs for Imbestigador on radio.

5 to 5:30 p.m. — I start moving to the newsroom and get in touch with the people who run the station and occasionally with Tony Magsumbol, my executive producer.

5:30 p.m. — It’s makeup time because they say it takes the longest. GMA spends a lot in my makeup. Ask my makeup artist Ara, ’yung iba isa o dalawa lang, yung akin lima at dalawang klaseng concealer pa kasi daw di kaya.

After the makeup, I go over all the stories of 24 Oras assigned to me.

6:30 to 8 p.m. — On the air as news anchor.

8 p.m. — Go home. Then I put on my gym clothes and head to a fitness center for my 45-minute cardio exercises I do treadmill and yung bike.

After, I take a quick and light dinner.

10:30 p.m. or close to midnight — I’m flat until the next four hours.

(On weekends, Mike wakes up at 7 or 8 a.m. then leisurely takes breakfast out with wife while reading. Every two or three weekends, he usually has a haircut with his mom, sister, wife and his wife’s family. On Sundays, he visits the grave of his dad and his grandparents.)

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