CAGAYAN de Oro City—GMA 7 spent P70 million to build its third Kapuso “super station,” which is expected to service over 1.4 million TV households in northern Mindanao, network vice president for regional TV Rikki Escudero announced last weekend.
Escudero, who is also head of the network’s news and public affairs expansion and production services, said it was GMA’s most expensive hub, inclusive of “a state-of-the-art studio, a technical operations center, a satellite multilink microwave system and an electronic news gathering equipment.”
The first Kapuso “super station” was put up in Ilocos in June 2012 to serve viewers in northern Luzon. A month later, another was built in Bicol, for the network’s southern Luzon audience.
The launch of the third here on Jan. 23 was attended by Kapuso executives led by Escudero. Actress Bela Padilla hosted a short program. Singer-actress Frencheska Farr and actor Mark Herras were also present at the event.
Here are excerpts from the media interview with Escudero:
Why did you choose to build the third “super station” here?
It’s the northern Mindanao trade and business hub. When you choose a hub, it should be in the center of things.
What sort of content do you expect from this hub?
Now, every year, there’s always a terrible storm during the amihan (northeast monsoon). The most important thing right now [is to be able to report] updates on weather disturbances, to help the people prepare, and then to make sure the national government is informed of their plight.
So content will be more developmental stories than mere factual narration?
The reporting will be, of course, news and information. We see that, this year, it could be more election-related, too. Of course, disasters and calamities happen. By having an originating station and a complete reportorial team, with live capability, the relaying of reports to Manila becomes more immediate and efficient.
How do you plan to beat the competition (ABS-CBN)?
The advantage that our competitor has is the fact that it started with its regional expansion well ahead. To be truly national, you really have to go out of your comfort zone. The bastion of GMA Network has always been Metro Manila, Mega Manila and Luzon. That’s why we’re venturing out to Visayas and Mindanao, which are known strongholds of the competition.
Competition makes service providers take notice and offer better service. In the end, it’s the viewers who will reap the benefits.
What can GMA 7 in the regions offer in terms of entertainment programs?
It is the priority of the network to make sure that the top stars are visible in the provinces because there is a need to go to the grassroots level.
What we do is bring our stars closer to the people in the regions. Another good aspect is, we’re more attuned to great talent in the provinces—not all good artists come from Manila. You also have to harvest local talent. It works both ways.