ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center

The ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center (also called ABS-CBN Broadcast Center; formerly known as Broadcast Plaza from 1974 to 1986 and current edifice formerly spelled officially as ABS-CBN Broadcasting Centre) in Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines is the headquarters of the Philippine media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corporation and the television network of the same name. It houses the media conglomerate's divisions such as ABS-CBN News, ABS-CBN Studios and subsidiaries, broadcast facilities, offices, and ELJ Communications Center. It is also where the transmitter site of ALLTV is situated which was previously used by ABS-CBN before it became inactive due to the 2020 broadcast franchise renewal dispute with ownership of the transmitter and the land where it stands remain with the network.[2] It occupies an area of 44,000 square meters including the ELJ Communications Center.[3] 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.[4] Meanwhile, ABS-CBN's production facility is located at ABS-CBN Horizon IT Park in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.[5]

ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center
ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center in May 2023
Map
General information
StatusComplete - Operational (online and cable broadcasting activities i.e. Kapamilya Channel, ANC, Kapamilya Online Live, TFC, TeleRadyo Serbisyo as well as news and current affairs offices of ABS-CBN News, entertainment, television, and film production of ABS-CBN Entertainment and Star Cinema and its subsidiaries)
TypeStudio, office, broadcasting
Architectural styleNeo-modern
LocationSgt. Esguerra Avenue corner Mother Ignacia Street, Brgy. South Triangle, Diliman, Quezon City
CountryPhilippines
Coordinates14°38′26″N 121°2′12″E / 14.64056°N 121.03667°E / 14.64056; 121.03667
Construction startedFebruary 24, 1967
Opening
  • December 18, 1968 (studios and main building)
  • January 1, 2000 (ELJCC building)
Renovated1992
1999
2010
Owner
Height
Antenna spire220 meters (Millennium Transmitter)
Technical details
Floor count3
GroundsApproximately 44,000 m²
Design and construction
Architect(s)Carlos Arguelles[1]
Other designersWili Fernandez (interior design)

Built as the headquarters of ABS-CBN, the center has since seen several management changes, such as a takeover by RPN and sister station BBC in 1973, the addition of a third tenant, the government station GTV (now PTV) in 1974, and then the departure of RPN and BBC in 1978 to Broadcast City (along with then-sister station IBC from San Juan del Monte) and the entry of NMPC and BB in 1980 which accompanied the remaining tenant MBS. From 1986 to 1992, the reopened ABS-CBN and PTV, along with PBS, shared the Broadcast Center and following PTV's departure in 1992, ABS-CBN has since regained full control of the facility.

History

edit

1968–1972: First era under ABS-CBN

edit

The broadcasting center, conceptualized by ABS-CBN's then-President Eugenio Lopez Jr., began construction on February 24, 1967 and was opened on December 18, 1968. Prior to the opening, ABS-CBN held headquarters in two buildings: the ABS building along Roxas Boulevard, Pasay (then in the province of Rizal) for ABS-CBN's Manila TV stations at that time (i.e. DZAQ-TV 3 and DZXL-TV 9), and the Chronicle Building along Aduana Street, Intramuros, 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 sell 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 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, BBC, GTV/MBS and the Bureau of Broadcasts

edit
 
The ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center as viewed from the rooftop of the main building of ABS-CBN

On September 21, 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 (then KBS until renamed it to the latter in 1975), whose first facility sold by ABS-CBN was destroyed by a fire, took over the facility in 1973. It also became home of two newly formed networks BBC which took Channel 2 and Government Television (GTV) which took Channel 4 in 1974. The facility was also renamed as Broadcast Plaza.

RPN and BBC, were all owned by Roberto Benedicto (a prominent crony of Marcos − along with IBC, in which Benedicto bought the network (including its flagship channel 13) from the Canoys, who owns RMN and the Sorianos (as Inter-Island Broadcasting Corporation) in 1975; and IBC which is still based from then town of San Juan del Monte, Rizal province (now city of San Juan, Metro Manila) at that time), and GTV was owned by the government through National Media Production Center (NMPC). 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 and BBC left the Broadcast Plaza (along with IBC from San Juan del Monte) for their new home in the Broadcast City, situated in Old Balara in Quezon City, leaving GTV, which at that point was relaunched as Maharlika Broadcasting System (MBS) two years later, as the sole tenant of the facility.

In 1980, the Bureau of Broadcasts (BB), a radio network also owned by the government under the Department/Ministry of Public Information, was also transferred to Broadcast Plaza from Philippine Communications Center (PHILCOMCEN) building (now demolished) in Ortigas Center, Pasig, Metro Manila after the Office of Media Affairs was created to provide a unitary form of media for both NMPC and the BB.

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: Housing ABS-CBN and PTV

edit

After Marcos was deposed and when Corazon Aquino became the first female president, on February 25, 1986, MBS was changed its interim name to The New TV-4 until it was officially rebranded as the People's Television Network (PTV) in April 1986 while the radio properties of NMPC and the BB were integrated to the reinstated pre-Martial Law era Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS, through the Bureau of Broadcast Services or BBS). The same year, RPN, IBC, and BBC were sequestered by the newly formed Presidential Commission on Good 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. RPN and IBC, on the other hand − were turned over to the government (under the Presidential Communications Group). While Channel 4 remained with PTV, 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.

In January 1987, the network did get back the facility, but with an agreement with PTV (which also had to deal with the facility's outdated equipment) wherein they will share the space, splitting it 50–50 (until January 22, 1992). In just two years after reopening in 1986, ABS-CBN would soon regain ratings leadership and propel itself back to financial stability.

During the coup attempt against President Aquino on August 28, 1987, a fierce fire fight between rebel soldiers and the police raged around the compound as rebel soldiers seized PTV. Eventually, the rebels' assault was thwarted and PTV was back under the control of the government, but in the midst of the conflict, P/Sgt. Eduardo A. Esguerra of the Quezon City Police Department fell and died in the compound. A marker in his memory on the spot where he died was erected a year after the assault, and Bohol Avenue, where ABS-CBN is situated, was eventually renamed Sgt. Esguerra Avenue.

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. At this point, the facility's former tenant RPN and its then-sister station IBC, once the dominant channels, both slumped in the ratings as ABS-CBN furthered its supremacy during the tail-end of the decade.

In 1988, 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 (now Benpres Building) in Ortigas Center, Pasig, where it was relaunched in 1986 as a news and commentary station.

 
Millennium Transmitter at night

1992–1999: Second era under ABS-CBN

edit

After past five years and four months of reopening on January 22, 1992, ABS-CBN finally regained full control of the facility after both PTV and the PBS/BBS moved out of the area to a new broadcasting complex (PIA/Government Information and Media Center Building) and the new 500 ft (150 m) transmitter tower situated in Visayas Avenue, Quezon City.

The network renovated the Broadcasting Center and began the long, tedious process of updating its broadcasting technology and equipment. By the end of the millennium, the Broadcast Center had become the most advanced broadcast facility in the Philippines.

2000–present: The new millennium

edit
 
The ABS-CBN Studios and open parking lot in 2012

In 2000, the Broadcasting Center was renovated again, with its hallways turned into a picture gallery 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.

That same year, the network moved most of its operations to the newly inaugurated Eugenio Lopez Jr. Communications Center, named in honor of the network's late chairman Eugenio Lopez, Jr. It 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 - a result of its diversification 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 2003 (ABS-CBN's 50th anniversary), the National Historical Commission set up a plaque in the entrance of the ABS-CBN Broadcast Center, honouring the first TV broadcast made in the country, made by DZAQ-TV Channel 3, owned by Alto Broadcasting System, precursor of ABS-CBN.

In 2005, the Millennium Transmitter increased its power to 346.2 kilowatts (60 kW TPO), the most powerful in its history. In 2008, in honor of the 80th birthday of one of its most prized talents, the comedian 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 (220 m) and was also reinforced with powerful dipole antennas replacing the cylinder antennas.

Throughout early and mid-2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines, the broadcasting center became the site of the commemoration following the expiration of the ABS-CBN's franchise, and the subsequent rallies and noise barrages generated by thousands of ABS-CBN employees and supporters, regarding the opposition of the verdict from the House of Representatives.

On September 6, 2022, a fire was struck inside the ABS-CBN compound. The fire reached the first alarm before it was declared out around 8:39 am PST (UTC+08:00).[6]

On September 11, 2022, the Millennium Transmitter was leased by Advanced Media Broadcasting System to air its flagship television station, ALLTV, after its broadcast franchise lapsed in 2020.[7]

On March 7, 2023, reports said that the Broadcast Center will be demolished to be sold to ABS-CBN's sister company Rockwell Land Corporation.[8][9] ABS-CBN and Rockwell Land Corporation later issued respective statements confirming that while it has been exploring the redevelopment of the Broadcast Center even before the COVID-19 pandemic, no agreement has yet been reached. The statements were issued to clarify several erroneous news reports that the property has been sold to Rockwell Land for redevelopment.[10][11]

Structures

edit

ABS-CBN main building

edit
 
Main building of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center, as seen in 2010

The ABS-CBN main building was originally built in 1968 and was the only area of business operations of the network until it expanded in 2000 when the ELJ Communications Center was opened. It is directly connected to the network's studios which was also built in 1968. The main entrance to the whole complex is located here. Today, it is mainly occupied by the network's news division and the Manila Radio Division which consist of DWPM Radyo 630 (AM) and MOR Entertainment (Online Radio/Podcast production) as well as the ABS-CBN News' website (news.abs-cbn.com). The ABS-CBN Newsroom which is used by the ABS-CBN News Channel and other news programs of ABS-CBN (notably TV Patrol from April 22 to May 12, 2019) for live broadcasts is located here.

There is also a historical marker at 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 2003, the 50th anniversary of ABS-CBN and Philippine television.

ABS-CBN Studios

edit

ABS-CBN's studios are the television studios of the network. It is actually a single large building that houses seven studios, with the other three studios are part of the newer ELJ Communications Center thus there are 10 studios of ABS-CBN. The ten studios were built in 1968 and 2000 for the first seven and last three, respectively, and it is directly connected to the main building and other parts of the ELJ Communications Center.

ABS-CBN Studios
Studio Production Notes
Dolphy Theatre (Studio 1) Used for theater, live shows, concerts, events, etc. It was named in honor of Filipino comedian Dolphy in celebration of his 80th birthday in 2008.
Studio 2 Shows produced: Everybody, Sing!, Sa Linggo nAPO Sila, The Sharon Cuneta Show, Sarah G. Live, Gandang Gabi, Vice, etc.
Studio 3 Shows produced: It's Showtime, 'Sang Linggo nAPO Sila, MTB, Wowowee, Pilipinas Win na Win, The Price is Right, Happy Yipee Yehey!, etc. Studio 3 is home of the network's various game and variety shows.
Studio 4 Shows produced: Your Face Sounds Familiar, Dance Kids, etc. Studio 4 houses several game shows.
Studio 5 Shows produced: Ang TV, Goin' Bulilit, Minute to Win It, I Can See Your Voice, etc. Studio 5 is the home studio of the network's various sketch comedy shows.
Studio 6 Programs of ABS-CBN News Channel
Studio 7 ABS-CBN's flagship newscasts: TV Patrol, News Patrol, The World Tonight Also known as "ABS-CBN News Center Manila".
Studio 8 Shows produced: Pilipinas, Game KNB and more. temporary studio set-up, where the props and set decorations are dismantled after the show.
Studio 9 Shows produced: Magandang Buhay, Kris TV, Tonight with Boy Abunda, etc.
Studio 10 Shows produced: ASAP Natin 'To and more. Studio 10 is also used for television specials.

ABS-CBN DTC Building

edit

The ABS-CBN Development and Talent Center building, which is also known as the DTC building, is a seven-story building that houses two studios, rehearsal rooms, a storage area, and the offices of ABS-CBN Star Magic Workshop and DTT channels, including Cine Mo!. Studios 11 and 12, which are located in the building's fourth floor, are used by ABS-CBN CPI's programs. The building was completed after 1998 and was the home of Star Magic before moving its offices to the ELJ building. ABS-CBN Sports occupied the entire 7th floor before its Technical group was disbanded and its Production team moved to a room inside DZMM.

Gina Lopez Building

edit

The Gina Lopez Building, or also known as the ABS-CBN Foundation Building, is a five-story building behind the ELJ Communications Center. Built during the 1990s, the building houses the offices of the programs and initiatives under AFI. The building was renovated and retrofitted during the late 2000s. The building was renamed in 2020 after Gina Lopez, who passed away in 2019.[12]

ABS-CBN Audience Entrance and Tulong Center

edit

The ABS-CBN Audience Entrance, which is located along Eugenio Lopez Drive, serves as the main entrance for audiences of ABS-CBN shows. The building houses several food stalls and a lounge for audiences before being accommodated in live tapings. The building also housed the ABS-CBN Tulong Center, which was closed following the company's retrenchment program due to the non-broadcast franchise renewal.

ELJ Communications Center

edit

The Eugenio Lopez Jr. Communications Center (also called 9501, ELJ Communications Center, or simply ELJ Center) is the newer and larger studio and office building of ABS-CBN located within the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center.[13] The building occupies ten thousand (10,000) square meters of land area and houses the network's offices, a studios, a three-level basement parking, a roof deck helipad, a film archive, a studio gallery, an exclusive executive dining restaurant, and garden. The building has a gross floor area of 101,608.32 square meters; almost seventy thousand (70,000) square meters of office space and over thirty thousand (30,000) square meters of parking space. The construction of the building, which costed 6 billion pesos, began in 1995, but was delayed due to the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. It was opened in 2000, and was occupied gradually by the network in the following years, expanding the area of its business operations. It is a PEZA Special Economic Zone, designated as an IT center.[14] It is named in honor of the late Eugenio Lopez Jr., the chairman emeritus of ABS-CBN. The dedication of the building was held on November 4, 2010, in a ceremony that was attended by the then-Philippine President Benigno Aquino III.[15]

See also

edit

References

edit
  1. ^ Paulo Alcazaren (February 13, 2010). "Wili's wonders". Philstar Global. Archived from the original on December 22, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  2. ^ "Willie Revillame, nagpasalamat sa ABS-CBN sa pagbebenta ng transmitter sa AMBS". Philippine Entertainment Portal. September 16, 2022. Archived from the original on September 18, 2022. Retrieved September 16, 2022.
  3. ^ Villanueva, Paul Michael (December 31, 2011), ABS-CBN 17-A 2011, Scribd.com, p. 18, archived from the original on September 29, 2013, retrieved August 8, 2012
  4. ^ What is ABS-CBN?, Reocities, archived from the original on October 19, 2013, retrieved March 21, 2012
  5. ^ "Pasilip sa bagong ABS-CBN Studios". ABS-CBN News. December 12, 2018. Archived from the original on April 17, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  6. ^ "Fire hits ABS-CBN compound". Philippine Daily Inquirer. September 6, 2022. Archived from the original on September 6, 2022. Retrieved September 6, 2022.
  7. ^ "Willie Revillame, nagpasalamat sa ABS-CBN sa pagbebenta ng transmitter sa AMBS". Philippine Entertainment Portal. September 16, 2022. Archived from the original on September 18, 2022. Retrieved September 16, 2022.
  8. ^ "Lopez Family to demolish old ABS-CBN building, says report". Philippine Entertainment Portal. March 8, 2023. Archived from the original on March 8, 2023. Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  9. ^ "Wrecking ball: Lopez family to demolish iconic ABS-CBN headquarters". Bilyonaryo. March 7, 2023. Archived from the original on March 15, 2023. Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  10. ^ "ABS-CBN says Rockwell Land studying 'redevelopment' of QC headquarters". The Philippine Star. March 13, 2023. Archived from the original on March 17, 2023. Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  11. ^ Rivas, Ralf (March 13, 2023). "ABS-CBN confirms talks with Rockwell Land for headquarters demolition, redevelopment". Rappler. Archived from the original on March 17, 2023. Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  12. ^ "ABS-CBN Foundation Building renamed after Gina Lopez". ABS-CBN News. February 5, 2020. Archived from the original on December 20, 2021. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  13. ^ "ABS-CBN 17-A 2011 | PDF | Television Network | Risk Management | Report". Scribd. Archived from the original on November 3, 2021. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  14. ^ "Philippine Inquirer: Inside the Kapamilya film vaults". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on January 7, 2011. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
  15. ^ "PNoy leads ABS-CBN dedication ceremony of ELJCC building". Philippine Entertainment Portal. November 5, 2010. Archived from the original on July 3, 2020. Retrieved June 16, 2023.