History of Radio in the Philippines

This post is for academic purposes only. Credit is to the original author(s).

Radio in the Philippines started in 1924 with the establishment of  KZKZ (AM) in Manila, Philippines by Henry Herman Sr., owner of the Electrical Supply Company in Manila.

Photo credit to the owner.

Henry Herman was an American and a former soldier who came to the Philippines to fight in the Philippine–American War. He stayed in the Philippines after he was discharged.

This was not the first test however. Archives suggest that an American woman named Mrs. Redgrave used a five-watt transmitter for a test broadcast from Nichols Field (now Villamor Airbase). This test is possibly the first radio broadcast in Asia.

Photo credit to the owner.

Henry Herman’s station originally broadcast using a 5-watt transmitter. In 1924, it boosted its power to 100 watts.

On October 4, 1924, Henry Herman transferred KZKZ’s ownership to the Radio Corporation of the Philippines (RCP), which he himself organized. 

In 1926 the company began to work on constructing two of the largest radio stations in Asia with the idea of maintaining direct Manila-San Francisco service. 

After Philippine independence, it changed its callsign to DWKZ, but changed in 1960 to DZCA.

In 1929, RCP launched KZRC in Cebu broadcasting with a 100-watt transmitter, but was later sold to store owner Isaac Beck. It is now DYRC owned by the Manila Broadcasting Company.

Early on, all radio programs were in English. This was the American Colonial Era in the Philippines. Most shows resembled American shows, even copying sponsorship.

Among the early pioneers, Francisco “Koko” Trinidad is regarded by broadcasters and broadcast teachers and students of the past three decades as the father of Philippine broadcasting.


Early regulation of broadcasting was begun in 1931 when the colonial government (of the USA) began realizing the business potential of radio, and thus passed the Radio Control Law creating the regulatory body Radio Control Board. The board examined applications for licenses to operate radio, allocated band frequencies, and conducted inspections for the office of the Secretary of Commerce and Industry.

In 1947, when the new republic was a year old, Trinidad represented the Philippines to a conference of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Atlantic City in the United States.

The current regulatory body is the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas (KBP).

Station Identification

Originally, as a colony of the USA, four letter call signs beginning with KZ– were in use.

Trinidad remembers insisting on changing the first two call letters of Philippine radio to RP, to stand for Republic of the Philippines, in lieu of the American KZ. Koko wanted the world to know about the newly independent republic through the radio call letters.

The ITU rejected the call letters RP because of the amount of trouble it would take to secure the approval of the entire international body, and the international changes that might have become necessary for such a change.

However, the ITU, which decided to punish Germany for using radio for propaganda and to advance the cause of Nazism, deprived Germany of its right to use the broadcast airwaves.

The ITU then gave the Philippines the right to use the call letter D (which had stood for Deutscheland, or the German name of Germany).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.