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By Marinel Cruz

Inquirer on May 27, 2006

RPN 9 HAS SOUGHT THE HELP OF FORMER ABS-CBN employees to beef up its programming and get a better chance at beating rival networks as the Kasama network is No.3 in dominated like GMA and ABS-CBN, according to network president Mia Concio.

Concio identified Jing Magsaysay, former ABS-CBN assistant vice president for news operations, as RPN 9's officer in charge for news.

Erwin Tulfo, who used to anchor for Magandang Gabi Bayan, is now the host of the hour-long news program, Aksyon Balita (5 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday).

Tulfo was a regular ABS-CBN reporter for nine years. Angelique Lazo, who used to anchor the evening news program for RPN 9, has transferred to PTV 4.

As early as now, the new team is already infusing changes in the news department, Concio told Inquirer Entertainment on Friday. The shows now have more action segments. They are now more responsive to the audience and more interactive as well as local news, police report (Metro Pulis), global news (Globalita), weather forecast (Ulat Panahon), sports news (with Beth Celi) and entertainment news (Spotlight).

Also part of the new RPN 9 news team is Melo del Prado, former desk editor of dzMM (ABS-CBN's AM radio) and reporter for TV Patrol.

Leddy Tantoco, formerly a reporter for dzMM, is now a writer of Isumbong Mo! (Tulfo Brothers), a public service program aired Saturday nights from 6 to 7 p.m., along with Ramon Tulfo and Raffy Tulfo.

Also part of the spruce-up is extending the airtime of Aksyon Balita from 30 minutes to a full hour, Concio pointed out.

This is just the first phase. Viewers should watch out for more, she said. Right now, it's important that we first build a credible image for our news team. With Jing and Erwin's help, we can solidify our platform.

Since February, Concio added, RPN 9's international channel, RPN USA, has been available in key areas in the United States through cable distributor Echo Star. For this project, the network tied up with the US-based Glocal Media.

Next on the drawing board, Concio said, is the strengthening of the network's entertainment programming.

RPN 9 recently started producing shows for the female audience. It has come up with three such shows For M (Mondays 12 noon), Make-Over (Fridays 12 noon), and Go Negosyo in non-prime time slots.

Connie Sison, former ABS-CBN reporter and host of Magandang Umaga Bayan, will be hosting Go Negosyo, which premieres June 5 from Monday at 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.

The network has also consulted, Solar Entertainment, which is responsible for the prime time hours (6-10 p.m.), on how to reprogram said grid.

Concio denied rumors that RPN 9 is interested in getting senior vice president for Star Magic (ABS-CBN talent center) Johnny Manahan to help. But she hinted on talking with a director who is responsible for a number of box-office hits for ABS-CBN.

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