The Department of Broadcast Communication of the UP College of Mass Communication will be celebrating 100 years of broadcasting in the Philippines in 2022.

UP Department of Broadcast Communication chair Dr. Daphne-Tatiana Canlas says that the centennial anniversary is an opportune time to reflect and revisit the rich history of broadcasting and its role in Philippine society.

“We want our students’ voices to be heard at this transformative time in history. Our students are experiencing and will likely be the first generation of graduates who will carry the lessons and insights of this unique moment in media history,” she says.

On Sept. 8, the department began its call for papers for the “Virtual Conference Celebrating 100 Years of Broadcasting in the Philippines, 1922-2022,” an academic conference to be hosted by the department together with the Philippine Studies Association, Inc. in October next year.

The conference is the highlight of a series of events to be launched by the department starting in June 2022, marking a century since the advent of Philippine radio in the 1920s.

It will be the first of its kind to be spearheaded by the department. Papers exploring issues in advertising, broadcast regulations and broadcast journalism, among others, are highly encouraged.

The organizers envision a three-day conference composed of various panel discussions, as well as a roster of keynote speakers and presentations. While specifics of the conference have yet to be finalized, the department is currently accepting research proposals from both local and foreign media scholars.

Submission of abstracts is open until November 20, 2021. 

“Fertile ground for new research”

Broadcasting professor and conference organizer Dr. Elizabeth Enriquez emphasized the importance of examining the crucial role of broadcast media in the development of society.

“Is it just a job? Is it just an industry? No, it is part of our culture,” Enriquez asserted.

The conference aims to encourage students and faculty members to engage in increasing the amount and level of research to produce new knowledge about broadcasting.

“The new environment we’re in is a fertile ground for new research. We are hoping that we can take a serious look at the issues that confront the broadcast industry today and look for solutions to what we see as problems,” she added.

For an industry that has focused on professional development in its early years, Enriquez admits that research in broadcast media is relatively young. However, she says that it is growing rapidly thanks to an “explosion of research” in the field. 

“Broadcast and other media platforms permeate our lives today,” she said. “Today we don’t even unplug anymore […] We’re constantly there so this is an important area to study.”

Likewise, Canlas underscored the importance of initiating discourse on the “quotidianness” of broadcast media.

“What we hope to achieve is a vibrant conversation among our colleagues, students and the general public about media in the Philippines, its role in our history and lives and develop an awareness of its importance,” she said.

Enriquez added that they are hoping to see papers from outside the country as there is currently a lot of interest in what’s going on in Philippine media.

A released teaser for the conference suggested possible topics for presentations. This included broadcasting in the time of Duterte, broadcasting and martial law, as well as Filipino audience studies.

Furthermore, the various challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, revolutions happening across the globe and a widening divide in media access make it difficult to ignore the urgency of producing new knowledge in media and broadcasting.

“Minsan nakatutok lang tayo sa mga karanasan natin sa siyudad, masyado tayong pribelihiyado,” Enriquez stated. “Kailangan pa rin nating maintindihan ‘yung mga mas malalalim na issues.”

Preparation woes

Canlas acknowledges the numerous challenges that come with organizing a highly anticipated event amid a pandemic. Among the department’s primary concerns are planning, managing and conducting these activities remotely.

“It will be our first time to plan such an event, but we are up for the challenge,” she said. “This event only comes once in a lifetime. You’re only 100 once, ika nga.

Enriquez said that obtaining funding and resources were among the most obvious hurdles at this point. However, both Canlas and Enriquez were confident that with proper planning and support, the department’s visions would eventually come into fruition.

According to Canlas, the department is currently turning to partner offices in UP Diliman for additional support. Additionally, she is also enjoining students to be part of the department’s initiatives.

“To be one of those directly involved in this celebration is a rare opportunity and we hope it will be one that our students will embrace,” she says.

Marking a century

Being among the oldest broadcast industries in the world, the significance of celebrating the centenary of Philippine broadcasting cannot be understated. 

For Enriquez, the number could be nothing more than an arbitrary marker since changes in the field happen all the time. However, she pointed out that marking the century could also be an opportunity to reflect on broadcasting’s role in Philippine history. 

“Maybe the 100 is a reminder that we have gone this far,” she says. “Sa tinagal ng isang daang taon, ano na ang narating natin?”

Similarly, Canlas believes that to celebrate the centennial milestone is to celebrate the history of the nation and its people— for this to come amid a pandemic makes it even more remarkable. 

“It is a critical moment to look at what we have become and what we are becoming,” she said. “Where might we be in the next 100 years, and will our descendants look favorably on us? It’s an intriguing question. What answer might we give them?” DZUP

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