GMA at 65: Amazing growth (First of two parts)

KAPUSO DAY (The Philippine Star) - July 24, 2015 - 10:00am

More than being a brand logo, the heart symbolizes GMA Network’s travails and triumphs, and speaks volumes of the resilience and passion with which it has upheld its corporate purpose.

On the occasion of its 65th anniversary, the network celebrates over six decades of making a difference in the lives of Filipinos all over the world.

Indeed, the past years have been a colorful journey for the station with a heart, which began with its founder Robert “Uncle Bob” Stewart’s vision of delivering the latest news to Filipino households across the country.

What started in 1950 as a small radio station in a rented room in Escolta, Manila has since become GMA Network, Inc. The station soon moved to its present location in Quezon City as operations began to expand.

From being a one-room radio station to becoming the home of a multi-awarded broadcast station, the corner of EDSA and Timog Ave. is a testament to the success story that is the Kapuso Network:

1950 — Robert Stewart establishes AM radio station DZBB under the Republic Broadcasting System (RBS), which begins broadcasting from the Calvo Building in Escolta.

1955 — DZXX, the first music station, goes on air.

1957 — RBS moves to its present location in Quezon City and expands to the Visayas with DYSS-AM in Cebu and DYOO in Iloilo.

1961 — RBS TV Channel 7, the country’s third TV station, goes on air with just 25 employees, a surplus transmitter and two cameras.

1974 — Under the new management of Gilberto Duavit, Menardo Jimenez and Felipe Gozon, the company acquires new equipment, introduces a new program line-up and is renamed GMA (Greater Manila Area) Radio Television Arts, with a new slogan, “Where You Belong.”

1976 — DWLS-FM, the company’s flagship FM station, goes on air.

1980 — GMA Marketing and Productions, Inc., (GMPI) is established as the exclusive marketing and sales arm of GMA, providing a link between the Network and its clients, advertisers and advertising agencies.

1983 — GMA provides the lone coverage of Sen. Benigno Aquino’s historic funeral.

1987 — GMA introduces Stereovision and opens the state-of-the-art live studio in Broadway Centrum. GMA News Live, the first hourly news capsules on TV, is introduced.

1988 — The Tower of Power, the tallest man-made structure in the country at 777-ft. with a 100-kilowatt power transmitter, is inaugurated.

1991 — GMA becomes the first Philippine broadcast news organization to receive a medal from the New York Festivals in the Breaking News Category.

GMA Foundation, GMA’s socio-civic arm, is formally established.

GMA introduces the first radio-television simulcast programming.

1992 — GMA launches the GMA 7 Rainbow Satellite, making its programs available nationwide and throughout Southeast Asia.

1993 — GMA Worldwide, Inc. (GWI), the network’s syndication and distribution arm is formed.

A first among local broadcast networks, GMA wins a Gold Medal in the New York Festivals for Best Station ID.

1995 — GMA makes history by becoming the official network of the Papal Visit and World Youth Day.

GMA ventures into UHF via Citynet 27.



Alta Productions Group, established as the network’s production house, and RGMA Network, Inc., an affiliate that manages the network’s regional radio stations, are incorporated.

GMA ventures into cinema with Cinemax, which has since become GMA Films.

1996 — GMA adopts a new corporate name, GMA Network, Inc.

1997 — GMA joins the eight-group consortium and Mabuhay Philippines Satellite Corporation (MPSC) in launching Agila II, the first Philippine satellite.

GMA goes online with the launch of and

RGMA Marketing and Productions, Inc., the recording company of GMA Network known as GMA Records, is incorporated.

1998 — GMA Films, Inc. produces Jose Rizal, a record-breaking film that set a new standard of excellence in Philippine filmmaking.

1999 — GMA launches the first late-evening newscast in Filipino, GMA Network News.

I-Witness, the first full-length weekly documentary program, is launched.

2000 — GMA celebrates its 50th year.

GMA establishes its digital media arm, New Media Incorporated (NMI), a total interactive and media solutions company that allows the convergence of various media formats.

GMA becomes the sole official Philippine partner to the Global Millennium Day Broadcast and welcomes the new millennium with 2000 Today on GMA broadcast and the GMA-Ayala Millennium Celebration, which was viewed in 67 countries.

GMA wins the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for Investigative Reporting for a compilation of reports including the I-Witness documentary Kidneys for Sale and Buhay Kamao by Jessica Soho, and Jay Taruc’s story on child labor for Brigada Siete.

With its undeniable achievements contributing to the network’s steady rise to the top of the industry, GMA was gearing up for even greater heights as it ushered in the new millennium, where even bigger milestones await.

(In the next Kapuso Day, this columnist will recount GMA Network’s significant milestones from 2001 to the present year, which contributed to the company’s success.)

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