School's out; Everyone's sad
- Gian Lao () - November 13, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Twenty minutes before the final episode of Rock Ed Radio went on the air, co-founder Gang Badoy entered the DJ booth to have a nice chat with DJ Cyrus Fernandez. She shared an anecdote of when she first met him; how he had just been a junior jock more than a year prior, how time flies by so fast.

It was obvious to me that they’d had the same conversation a few times in their lives, albeit with other people: during their first break-ups, or the moment they finally moved out of their parents’ houses  the way they kept calm, went on with their jobs and grasped for a civil way to display their sadness in public.

Their conversation would set the theme for the night.

Gang put on Hello Hello by her co-host’s band Radioactive Sago Project to open the show for the last time, and began wondering where the rest of the Rock Ed crew was. It was 9 p.m.; nearly everyone was late, the radio station was cold, and the booth was filled only with echoes of her voice as if it was, at that moment, an empty heart.

The song on the radio, however, was eerily prophetic. Lourd de Veyra’s voice would sing along to the hellos of the newly-arrived co-hosts Adel Tamano, Jiggy and Jonty Cruz, and interviewer Howie Severino, who, in fact, had a very easy time. There was only one question everyone wanted to answer.

“What was your favorite memory?”

And they shared it. It was like a high school reunion  and the thing about high school reunions is that the people who attend them are never really interested in anything new  they are always about the old stories. And their best stories? Why, you had to be tuned in then. The memories were, all at the same time, mean (some would say fearless), hilarious, discursive, and best of all, honest.

Surprisingly, no one was sad.

“When one is in denial, one doesn’t feel anything,” Gang recalls. “I don’t think I allowed it to sink in until after [the show], mainly because I wanted the final show to be a good recap, expressing gratitude towards all who’ve helped us make Rock Ed Radio a reality.”

The only sad thing about the show’s going off-air is that they are the kind of crew that is sure to have more reunions in the future. The old stories, while they will not have changed, will become funnier and funnier, but they won’t be on the air.

But surely, just like the station it was aired on (NU107.50), Rock Ed Radio has changed something. “…the number of participants texting or tweeting or posting or e-mailing during the episodes certainly rose exponentially,” Badoy shares. And it was evident as the hosts read message after message, all “I’ll miss you”s and “I’ve learned so much from you”s, which is exactly what the Rock Ed organization wanted to, and still wants to, achieve in the first place  to be unneeded.

“The goal is not immortality - the goal is for the practice to be absorbed and the unusual rhythm of frank conversation becomes statistical norm,” and Rock Ed Radio was unbelievably successful in doing this.

After signing-off for the last time, the crew took photos, and at around midnight, looked as if they were ready to begin a night (or morning) full of laughter and camaraderie developed through the years. No talk about the future yet.

“That question [on the future] is like asking a new widow if she wants to date already.  That’s inappropriate!  Why’d you ask me that?!” Badoy joked.

But like widows, a week after the grand finale (on Thursday, especially), most of Rock Ed Radio’s hosts and listeners find plenty of reason to be reminiscent, if not sad.

“It [Rock Ed Radio’s vision] is also a legacy our late colleague Alexis Tioseco left with us  a hope that Filipinos will some day be used to healthy criticism without taking it personal.  Or something like that.”

Which leaves us with the reassurance that it is right to be sad. Rock Ed Radio’s job wasn’t done when it went off-air. The show’s hosts, listeners, and, most of all, its potential listeners, have all lost something very valuable.

Gang Badoy leaves us with her words of wisdom: “I believed and still believe in the medium that is radio.  I believe in using the listening skill.  It certainly works out something in the brain that is not usually stretched in our ultra-visual world.  So there.  I think Rock Ed Radio trained many of us to listen.  What a valuable verb in this day and age.” 

She tells us all that whether we have followed the show or not, whether we knew of the tragic end of a show that tried to do something meaningful or not, we must communicate. We must talk. We must listen.

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