When The Leader Falls: The Political Economy of Radio Philippines Network

When The Leader Falls: The Political Economy of Radio Philippines Network

ABSTRACT

Ilagan, D.R.F. (2017). When The Leader Falls: The Political Economy of Radio Philippines Network, Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

This thesis examines the rise of RPN as a prestigious radio and television network in the 1960’s to its decline in the 1980’s following the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship. It also delves into the crises it continues to grapple with. The socio-political shifts in the country had definitely defined the turn of events in the history of RPN, whose once-proud tagline was “The Leader.” Sequestered for being a crony network in the Marcos regime, the fortune of RPN shifted time and again with the turnover of government from one political party to another. Now semi-privatized, ownership and control of the once monolithic network has likewise been handed over from one business tycoon to another. Interestingly, ownership has now returned to the Benedicto family that had admittedly fronted for the ousted President Marcos. An analysis of RPN’s political economy through interviews, internal documents, news articles, and books, revealed rent- seeking, cronyism, and political accommodations as reasons for its fall. More intensive gathering of data lost over time is recommended, as well as a deep study of RPN’s rehabilitation and recovery programs, and research on political accommodation in Philippine media, and labor laws. As of this writing, whatever has remained of the network continues to extricate itself from the disputes borne out of its history. And by its history, what is evident is that socio-political and socio-economic factors create issues that could drive networks to their rise and fall – and, eventually, demise.

Keywords: political economy, ownership, control, labor issues, crony, rent-seeking, RPN

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