Not so fast INC: CBCP has best shot at getting ABS-CBN frequency. Find out how
With ABS-CBN Corp.’s application for a new franchise dead in the water, speculation has now turned to who will get its prized television frequency?
While it’s an open secret that Iglesia Ni Cristo has been licking its chops over Channel 2, the Catholic Church has a better shot at getting the much coveted frequency.
A source from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak for the body, revealed that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has the best odds of snagging ABS-CBN’s frequencies.
CBCP, which had its radio and TV franchise renewed for another 25 years in July 2019, has long been waiting in queue waiting for its turn to have a TV frequency available.
CBCP operates the Catholic Media Network which has 29 AM stations and 33 FM stations nationwide, with Radyo Veritas DZRV 836 as its flagship station.
Although Duterte has ranted against bishops and the Church’s beliefs, the president considers the incumbent CBCP president, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, as his friend (Valles took part in Duterte’s 2016 inauguration and baptized Duterte’s apo, Stonefish Carpio, in March 2017).
Aside from CBCP, the NTC source said Manila Broadcasting Corp. of bilyonaryo Fred Elizalde has been waiting in queue for a TV network as long as CBCP.
Based on its guidelines, NTC does not bid out frequencies for digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcast service but assigned these it out based on availability. With ABS-CBN failing to get a renewal, its frequency is now available to the next franchise holder waiting in line.
The source said broadcast frequencies were granted based on the legal, technical and financial capacity and feasibility of the franchise owner.
But new players keen on taking over the Channel 2 frequency might not be able to broadcast in the country’s biggest markets immediately.
Under the NTC’s implementing rules and regulations issued on December 2014 for the shift from analog to digital, NTC cannot approve any petition or application for a new DTT service until all existing analog operators in Mega Manila (including Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Laguna, and Rizal) have shifted to DTT.
The source said as of June 2020, only half of analog TV owners have digital capacity.
Any franchise holder which gets ABS-CBN’s frequency can only be granted DTT permits outside Metro Manila during the transition period.
But if one has waited so long for a frequency, what’s another few years of waiting as long as you get the most coveted channel of all?