Puneet Varma

ABS CBN Broadcasting Center

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Status  Complete
Opening  March 21, 1969
Antenna spire  219 m
Construction started  18 December 1968
Architectural style  Modern
Renovated  1992 1999 2010
Owner  ABS-CBN
Floor count  3
ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Type  Studio, office, broadcasting
Location  Sgt. Esguerra Avenue corner Mother Ignacia Street, Brgy. South Triangle, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

The ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center (also called ABS-CBN Broadcast Center; formerly known as Broadcast Plaza from 1974 to 1979) in Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines is the oldest headquarters of ABS-CBN. It occupies an area of approximately 34,000 square meters adjacent to ELJ Communications Center. It was originally built in 1968 and was then the most advanced broadcast facility in Asia. Today it is now the country's largest and most technologically advanced media facility.

Contents

1968-1972: First era under ABS-CBN

The broadcasting center, conceptualized by ABS-CBN's then-President Eugenio Lopez Jr., was constructed on December 18, 1968 and was opened on March 21, 1969. Prior to the opening, ABS-CBN held headquarters in two buildings: the ABS building in Roxas Boulevard for ABS-CBN's Manila TV stations at that time, DZAQ-TV 3 and DZXL-TV 9, and the Chronicle Building in Aduana, Manila for its Manila radio stations. With the opening, ABS-CBN's radio and TV operations were housed in one building. ABS-CBN would soon give away the Roxas Boulevard studios to Kanlaon Broadcasting System or KBS (now known as Radio Philippines Network or RPN), which then took Channel 9 and prompted ABS-CBN to switch frequencies from Channels 3 and 9 to Channels 2 and 4.

When it was opened, it was the most advanced TV broadcasting facility in Asia. ABS-CBN mentioned that before Martial Law, it was once the training ground of TV electronics engineers from other countries. The new TV transmitter tower known as the Millennium Transmitter in the complex would begin beaming Channel 2 and 4's signals in 1969.

1972-1986: Martial law and takeover by KBS/RPN, IBC, BBC and GTV/MBS

On September 22, 1972, ABS-CBN was shut down after then-President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. All of its properties, which included the Broadcast Center, were seized from the network.

The facility was not to be used again at least until RPN, whose first facility given by ABS-CBN was destroyed by a fire, took over the facility in 1973. It also became the new home of IBC (originally from San Juan), and two newly formed networks: BBC which took Channel 2 and GTV which took Channel 4. The facility was also renamed as the Broadcast Plaza.

RPN, IBC, BBC, and GTV were all owned by Roberto Benedicto, a prominent crony of Marcos. Benedicto owned the facility without any compensation. The crony-owned networks used ABS-CBN's facilities without even paying the network's owners, the Lopezes, making the network's technologies gradually dilapidated, resulting in it losing its prestige as one of the most advanced broadcasting centers in Asia.

In July 1978, RPN, IBC, and BBC left the Broadcast Plaza for their new home in the Broadcast City, situated in Old Balara in Quezon City, leaving GTV, which at that point was relaunched as MBS, as the sole tenant of the facility.

In 1986, the complex was stormed by anti-Marcos rebel soldiers that attacked and took over Channel 4 under the supervision of ABS-CBN's former General Manager Augusto Almeda-Lopez. Channel 4 then went back on the air to serve the people and to broadcast the historic People Power Revolution that resulted in Ferdinand Marcos being ousted from office.

1986-1992: PTV/ABS-CBN era

After Marcos was deposed, MBS became PTV. The same year, RPN, IBC, and BBC were sequestered by the government from Benedicto. BBC was dissolved and its frequencies were given to ABS-CBN, which was turned back to the Lopezes and was relaunched on September 14, 1986. Channel 4 remained with PTV, while Channel 2 of the former BBC was given back to ABS-CBN.

At that time, the facility was dilapidated. The technology in the facility was very old, the center was sorely lacking in tables, chairs, and telephones, there were plants growing on the compound's walls, and some of the studios' walls were even crumbling. The network did get back the facility but it only occupied a small portion of the facility as PTV took the rest of the space. In just two years after reopening, ABS-CBN would soon regain ratings leadership and propel itself back to financial stability.

The network soon filed a case against Marcos, Benedicto, and his networks for not compensating for the usage of the broadcast technology and equipment in the facility that clearly belonged to ABS-CBN. In the same year, a fire hit one of the studios in the compound, injuring a few people and slightly damaging the broadcast equipment. It was also the site of a failed military coup in 1989 that attempted to overthrow the then current Aquino government.

DZMM, ABS-CBN's flagship AM radio station, soon moved to the Broadcast Center in 1987, along with DWRR, its flagship FM radio station. Prior to this, DZMM was once housed at the Chronicle Building in Ortigas Center.

1992-1999: Second era under ABS-CBN

After six years in 1992, ABS-CBN finally regained full control of the facility after PTV moved out of the complex for a new broadcasting complex and transmitter tower situated in Visayas Avenue. The network renovated the Broadcasting Center, and in 1993, a historical marker was issued on the network's entrance, commemorating the first TV broadcast in 1953 which was made by ABS-CBN, in celebration of its 40th anniversary.

It wasn't long before ABS-CBN regained its technical superiority as the Broadcasting Center's studios, broadcast technology and equipment became more and more technologically advanced. In 1999, the Broadcasting Center was renovated again, with its hallways now adorned with pictures of the network's stars and personalities, and the transmitter in the complex was relaunched as the Millennium Transmitter, increasing its transmitter power to 120 kilowatts.

By the end of the millennium, the Broadcast Center had become the most advanced broadcast facility in the Philippines.

2000-present: The new millennium

In 2000, after many years of using the Broadcast Center as its office, the network moved most of its operations to the newly inaugurated Eugenio Lopez Jr. Communications Center, which was named in honor of Eugenio Lopez, Jr. (he steered ABS-CBN to its glory days in the 1960s, late 1980s and 1990s, and died on June 28, 1999). The new building became the new home of the offices of many of the network's operations as well as four new technologically advanced studios (including Studio 10, the biggest studio in the complex, and the home of ASAP, ABS-CBN's longest-running Sunday noontime variety show). The building was accredited by PEZA as an IT zone in 2003.

The building was built mainly to suit ABS-CBN's growing demands because at that time it was gradually evolving from a broadcasting network to a media powerhouse engaging not only in radio and TV broadcasting but now also in movie production, records, merchandising, cable and UHF TV, international services, and post-production. The Broadcast Center is still being used as the headquarters for the network's news division and its nine studios are still being used by the network's entertainment programs.

In 2005, the Millennium Transmitter increased its power to 346.2 kilowatts (60 kW TPO), the most powerful in its history. In 2008, in honour of the 80th birthday of one of its most prized talents, the late comedy king Dolphy (who was with ABS-CBN for most of his showbiz career), Studio 1 was renamed as the Dolphy Theater. In 2009, the Millennium Transmitter increased its height to 720 feet and was also reinforced with powerful dipole antennas.

ABS-CBN main building

The ABS-CBN main building was originally built in 1968 and was the main headquarters of the whole ABS-CBN network for decades until 2000 when the ELJ Communications Center was opened. It is directly connected to the ABS-CBN Studios which was also built in 1968. The main entrance to the whole complex is located here. Today, it is mainly occupied by the news division ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs and the Manila Radio Division which consist of DZMM Radyo Patrol 630 (AM) and MOR 101.9 (FM) as well as its ABS-CBNnews.com website. The ABS-CBN Newsroom which is used by the ABS-CBN News Channel for live broadcasts is located here.

There is also a historical marker in the building's entrance which commemorates the first TV broadcast in the Philippines which was made by ABS-CBN on October 23, 1953, which was issued by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in 1993, the 40th anniversary of ABS-CBN and Philippine television.

ABS-CBN Studios

The ABS-CBN Studios are the oldest television studios of ABS-CBN. It is actually a single large studio that is further divided into ten smaller studios. It was originally built in 1968 and it is directly connected to the main building. Studio 1, now called the Dolphy Theatre is named after the late comedian-actor Dolphy. Studio 2 is used by Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky (season 7) for its eviction nights. It is also used by the comedy shows, Banana Sundae. Studio 3 currently houses the noontime variety show It's Showtime. Studio 4 houses the game shows Family Feud and Minute to Win It. Studio 5 houses the shows of O Shopping, The Bottomline with Boy Abunda and the religious program The Healing Eucharist. Studio 6 houses the programs of the ABS-CBN News Channel, while ABS-CBN's flagship news programs TV Patrol, Bandila, and News Patrol airs live from Studio 7. Studio 8 houses the showbiz talk show Tonight with Boy Abunda. Studio 9 houses the lifestyle talk show Magandang Buhay. Studio 10 houses the musical variety show ASAP. It is also used for the Middle Rounds and the Live Shows of the now defunct reality singing competition Pinoy Boyband Superstar. It is also used for the Blind Auditions, The Battles, The Knockouts and The Sing-Offs of The Voice of the Philippines and The Voice Kids.

References

ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center Wikipedia


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