Mornings on GMA News TV get fresh start
Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - An all-new morning broadcast is launching today on GMA News TV. Kape at Balita, airing Mondays to Fridays for an hour and a half starting at 6 a.m., brings together GMA newshounds Susan Enriquez, Michael Fajatin, Mariz Umali plus veteran radio commentator Joel Reyes Zobel in his TV debut.

The show is primed as an “alternative” addition to the morning TV landscape and not a potential competition to GMA 7’s long-running Unang Hirit, stressed the hosts.

Susan and Joel will deliver the freshest news and most pressing of issues to date. Mariz will join Susan in segments tackling women-related topics. Michael will be out on the field to check the “pulse” of the viewers.

Michael, who has been a journalist for 18 years now, said, “It’s still basically news. It’s not straight, but it’s neither laidback. News of a more personal time, that you let us into your house… There are commentaries, news articles and opinions.”

But no variety-show-like portions that are staples in the current crop of morning programs.

“It’s an alternative news program because (News TV) also has a different (audience) demographic,” Michael added.

Michael will be mostly out of the studio to scour for opinions on the issue du jour, not just from oft-interviewed sources but also from ordinary folks and other segments of society.

But just because this new assignment can be viewed as a “breather” of sorts from his regular hard news coverage being GMA News’ senior crime reporter, it doesn’t mean Michael is not in for a challenge.

 “I take this as a challenge especially since I’ll be getting in touch with the people. Also, seventy percent of this will require no script,” he said.

Mariz, who has been with GMA since 2001 right after college at the University of the Philippines, cited another quality that will make the show stand apart. “It’s tunog radyo (because the language is) more conversational. It’s not the usual news programs that we do. More on news and talk on issues of the day.”

“This is my first morning show. It’s a huge blessing to be chosen (to be part of it),” she added.

In between Kape at Balita and her reportorial duties for the network, Mariz is doing News TV Live, Flash Reports and Balitanghali Weekend (the weekday version is co-anchored by her husband-to-be Raffy Tima; they’re marrying in December).

 While her already hectic schedule has gone a notch higher with the brand-new program, Mariz sees it complementary with her other responsibilities for the GMA News and Public Affairs team.

Meanwhile, Kape at Balita marks Joel’s first time to work in front of TV cameras. He has been in the radio broadcast biz for more than two decades now and has long been courted to try on-cam work.

Finally, it’s happening. 

“Good thing my boss (Mike Enriquez) is giving me his 100-percent support,” Joel said.

When asked who was more fearless, his boss or him, he said with a laugh, “Matapang kami sa radio, pero mabait kami sa bahay.”

Will he be a little bit restrained on TV? Joel, who’s also the booming voice behind the 24 Oras rundown of headlines, admitted that his commentaries will be slightly tapered off.

“It’s because how you deliver your commentaries on radio are totally different from how you deliver them on TV. There are limitations on TV like time. In radio, you can ad-lib all you want. If you choose your words on radio, then you definitely have to choose your words on TV. So, it’s going to be a challenge for me,” he explained.

Doing Kape at Balita could result to more TV projects and Joel is keeping his options open.

“If I’m going to be a pinch-hitter on TV, I’ll gladly take it,” said Joel, who’s doing two programs on GMA’s AM radio station DZBB — a morning newscast with Mike Enriquez and Bangon Na, Bayan in the afternoon.

Completing the Kape at Balita team is Susan as the main host who brings the group together (like Arnold Clavio is to Unang Hirit.)

Because a morning show has to be an energetic wake-upper to start the morning right for its viewers, Susan makes a fitting “team leader,” whose animated personality Kapuso viewers are no stranger to, thanks to her past public affairs-lifestyle show Kay Susan Tayo.

Mariz said, “We all auditioned for this (except Susan) as this is really her show. When we auditioned, the talk was very casual and high-energy. Susan’s energy is so infectious.”


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