community media

demonstrates how media which is created for and by the community serve as an effective venue to express community issues and concerns, promote participation, and encourage cultural diversity.

Broadcast Media


DXCC—Cagayan de Oro City”s first radio station

Henry Canoy of the prominent Canoy family that includes former Assemblyman and former City Mayor Reuben Canoy formally established DXCC, the first radio station in Cagayan de Oro City on August 28, 1952.

However, the idea for a radio station came even before that in 1948 during several business discussions with a friend Robin Cui who was a proprietor of a radio repair shop in the city. Henry Canoy relate the incidents in his unpublished book RMN The Vision and the Reality:

“…While talking with Robin (Cui) about his problem, a thought flashed through my mind. Why not open a radio station in Cagayan de Oro City.

It was a take- off on an old idea. In the early days, RCA, Erlanger and Galinger, and H.E Heacock and Co. had established their own broadcasting stations to be able to promote and sell more radios.

I argued that…a local station would encourage the residents of Cagayan de Oro City to own radio sets. Robin would then have more radios to service.

To prove that people were ready for such station, I asked Robin to go with me to Ongkoy Padero’s Shop (a local business establishment). There, we set up a “broadcasting “ studio with amplifier, turntable, microphone and loudspeaker…

A few passerby stopped to listen. Soon a small crowd gathered. When they saw that the program was being done live inside the shop, some came in to request or dedicate a tune. Others insisted on singing a Capella “on the air”. The closed circuit “broadcast” was a smashing success.

From that time on I began to think seriously of establishing a radio station in Cagayan de Oro City.”

DXCC started broadcasting even before it could get the necessary permit and franchise to operate not knowing that these were needed. Powered by a homemade 30-watt transmitter, it started broadcasting without call letters and no license.

“…It did not occur to us that what we were doing was illegal and we could be jailed for it,” Henry Canoy recalled.

However, the station eventually was able to comply with all the legal requirements for its operations required by the Radio Control Office, the forerunner of the National Telecommunication Commission.

It got a congressional franchise upon the sponsorship of then Rep. Emmanuel N. Pelaez.

When the station finally went on regular broadcasting, it hired three part time people to its program staff and not one of them had any radio experience.

Vic Bass, an English-Spanish announcer was a high school automotive instructor, Absalon Roxas, Visayan writer and newscaster was a former town mayor, and Bob Avelino, a warehouseman at the Del Monte Cannery.

By and large, however, in 1953 DXCC was a family affair.

Reuben Canoy became the Program Director after graduating from the College of Law at Silliman University and passing the bar exams.

His wife, Solona helped out as traffic clerk, producer and host of a program for home makers (Iwag sa Pamilya) and two other programs.

Reuben also handled the English news and interviews.

The DXCC early programming, just like the other radio stations were heavily influenced by the Americans who brought the broadcast industry back to life after the Second World War. The program includes replays of canned American programs.

However, this changed later when more people managed to own radio sets. Henry Canoy said:

“…with the introduction of the cheap transistor radio, the audience demography underwent a revolutionary transformation. Now that they could afford it, ordinary folks or the so-called bakya crowd looked to radio for information and entertainment.

As set ownership continues to rise at the lower income levels, English programs gradually gave way to soap operas, news interviews, commentaries and disc jockey shows in the vernacular.”

Among the early radio stations, perhaps, DXCC holds the distinction as the only radio station that had a horse- drawn tartanilla for an OB van. Owned and driven by Tirso Daaca, the tartanilla-OB van became a familiar figure at fires, accidents and plaza programs.

By equipping it with a World War II walkie-talkie and a battery-operated amplifier and mounting a loud speaker on roof, the tartanilla-OB van originated broadcast almost anywhere in the town.

Radio programming of DXCC catered to its radio listeners who looked up to their station as a source for information and entertainment.

Viven Magdales, who began his radio career, as a movie barker was DXCC’s own version of Rafael Yabut and Damian Sotto of DZRH. He attacked politicians, businessmen and institutions with impunity.

The program also include Visayan drama serials or “soap operas” which were the translations of the Tagalog version written by Lina Flores, better known as Lina Flor, wife of Francisco “Koko” Trinidad.

Also among DXCC”s early radio personalities was Nestor Torre who were among the talents recruited from Ateneo de Cagayan now Xavier University. Torre today is well known for his work as a film and tv director, writer and movie critic.

DXCC introduces Wirecasting

DXCC also started wirecasting in Cagayan de Oro City, the forerunner of the present-day cable system. This was born out of a public necessity according to Henry Canoy. (The Canoy family now operates the Jade Cable System, one of the two cable tv operators in the city.)

“ Wirecasting was born out of a public necessity. In the early 50’s, the main source of information and entertainment were the newspapers and vernacular magazines from Manila.

Television was in its infancy, and radios still a toddler. The country had a few radio stations, five in Manila and 2 in Cebu,” according to Henry Canoy.

Henry Canoy wrote in his unpublished book:

“with the aim in view of bringing radio to the poorest of the poor, we introduced the wirecast system in Julao-Julao(Now Barangay Consolacion, Cagayan de OroCity). It was a depressed area where prostitution was the chief means of livelihood.

…the cynics shut their mouth when a significant social and moral transformation took place in that benighted barrio.

Today, the good people of Consolacion take great pride in their community as a model of respectability and civic consciousness. I like to think that DXCC and the wirecast system had much to do with the profound change in their values and outlook in life.”

DXCC becomes a network

In the face of growing business competition, Henry Canoy thought that the only we to stay in the business was for him to build a network. So he organized the Radio Mindanao Network and applied for a congressional franchise to operate anywhere in the country.

Radio Mindanao Network got its congressional franchise on June 17,1961. By that time RMN had already four stations. DXCC in Cagayan de Oro City, DXBC in Butuan City, DXIC in Iligan City and DXDC in Davao city.

It was then the only broadcast network based outside Metro Manila.

The RMN tied up with the Soriano group of companies that had acquired ownership of the Inter Island Broadcasting Company (IBC). This paved the way for the establishment of the first television station in Cagayan de Oro City in the 60’s—the IBC TV 13.

Also among the early radio stations established in the 60’s Cagayan de Oro City was the DXMO of the University of Mindanao Broadcasting Network of Atty. Guillermo Torres of Davao City. It was the UMBN that also established the first radio station in Mindanao based in Davao City –DXAW.

First taste of media power

DXCC demonstrated the power of mass media, particularly, radio on its first year of broadcasting on the problem of poor street lighting. Henry Canoy related the incident in his unpublished book as follows:

“ One night a fan wrote to complain about the dark streets of Cagayan de Oro. No sooner had I read the letter than the station was swamped by a barrage of phone calls on the same subject matter.

When I proposed to solve the problem by asking donations to replace the weak incandescent lamps with fluorescent lamps, the response was immediate and tremendous. A young listener kicked off the “Jambalaya Fund Drive” by sending in a peso.

Soon contributions poured in from school children, housewives, and businessmen. Before long, the civic organizations pitched in. the “Jambalaya Fund Drive,” was the first of countless community projects that DXCC would initiate or be involved through the years.”

Cagayan de Oro City had its first taste of the power of mass media to harness the resources of people to confront a problem. It was not to be the last.

Later in the 60’s, DXCC found itself again involved in a movement with other mass media entities, ironically against the city’s electric light company—the Cagayan de Oro Electric Power and Light Company (CEPALCO).

The city’s mass media reflected the sentiments of the residents against move by CEPALCO to raise its electric rates. The discussion led to a proposal to turn off electricity in the residences at a precise time to signify their protest against the proposal.

The protest action convinced the town council and CEPALCO of the vehement objection of the residents and stalled the increase of the electric rates.

Another demonstration of mass media power led to the dismissal of its City Health Officer in 1996 on charges of sexual harassment. The incident was triggered by a complaint of the victim published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro and picked up by the rest of the local mass media.

A continued discussion of the subject matter prompted the filing of the formal charges by the concerned agencies. The City Health Officer was eventually found guilty and ordered dismissed from office and served a jail term.