Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Home of NU Rock

There in front of me is an empty stretch of a road. The witching hour is no reason to rest our weary souls. The sky is dark and brooding, but paper deliveries had to be made. A city hungers for recycled news, trash cannot wait.

Seated at the passenger seat, I command the dashboard and the FM station. The driver obeys. I am the son of his boss after all. I switch the tuner to 107.5 and catch Eels crooning to the feel-good song Fresh Feeling. Often followed by Jimmy Eat World's Sweetness, the combo leaves our mood electrified.

The station has been a travel companion over the months, and it has been a source of music ever since. The melodic beats are so contagious, the driver tunes in to the same station even in my absence. And in the loneliest and most perilous of our travels, when lamp posts deny their glare and cloudbursts blind our sight, my ears were at least comforted knowing rock music played on.

One receives a royal snub from the bohemians once you admit ignorance of the classics. In a faculty teeming with poets, eccentrics and artists, classics refer to rock music - particularly the alternative genre. These songs seldom play on the radio, only few know its first lines. There was Live, Powderfinger and Dave Matthew's Band. Goo Goo Dolls and Green Day may have gone mainstream, but there were Guster, Our Lady Peace and The Flys to claim the spot.

At a time when mp3s were just becoming a fad, everyone sourced their music from the FM station. Only one plays the classic and entire generations pay attention. We may have lived after the rise and fall of Kurt Cobain and witnessed the tragedy that is Billy Corgan, but with NU on the air, a music legend may appear around the bend.

Bands were in then as it is today. Only faces and music styles have changed. Before the discovery of NU 107, I was already breast fed to Eraserheads, Yano and Joey Ayala. Rivermaya and Smashing Pumpkins were my staple in High School while Vertical Horizon and Collective Soul were my lifeline in College. I was drawn to drums and guitar rifts like a satellite to a planet. And whenever I conjure good memories of my childhood, expect alternative music playing in the background

Age might have clouded the past, and I might not recall how or when I first stumbled and found the home of NU rock. I may fondly remember the faces of kids who say "fuck you" at the mere mention of Aqua (until the release of the song Turn Back Time) or Christina Aguilera, but I have no memory of ever going to a rock event promoted by the station. I may also remember the times I checked the rock station's website to download the song listed as the week's number 1 or follow the artists featured at In the Raw, but never will you catch me supporting the band promoting their album.

You know how kids are. Cheapskate.

Sometimes you wish that nothing ever changes as the hum of the ages make your bones grow weaker. But you can feel the heaviness with each candle blown off your cake or when fresh ideas widen your field of vision. Make no mistake however, for the burden of time reminds that something is bound to end.

The first stirrings came when Vince said that NU will be reformatted and it will follow the trend of the jologs stations. That was several weeks ago. I was incredulous of course, how can an institution be brought down when it has loyal followers? The rock awards was just days away and advertisements keep on coming. Compare that with the underground URadio or Master's Touch and u know who's reaping a profit.

A few days after Discreet Manila's revelation and I found out that NU was not a 24/7 radio station anymore. When the club radio - the other station I listen to - manage to throw a party at 5 in the morning, then the home of NU rock was really in trouble. Finally, there was Lourd de Veyra's eulogy blog. When the man tells it, doubts were cast away.

News spread like a terminal disease and there is no cure. No matter where I turn to, the wall said it all: NU will be playing its last song. Twenty three years of cultivating homegrown music and then, a final bow.

Slowly, I began to collect the dusty remains of my youth. For all those plans of writing about my favorite rock station, I would be penning the words goodbye.

Ito na ang huling El Bimbo

As I begin to count the legacies this station has gifted me, I come to the conclusion that NU shaped much of my history. I may have never attended a concert or a gig - intentionally - but expect my combined alternative mp3s numbering around a thousand. I maybe queer and all, but rock has cast me out of the stereotype. Electronica may have become an anthem these days, but when I wish to go back to what was the best days of my life, NU will always be a part of it.

And now that its over, I cannot help but quietly weep in a corner, for its demise means a permanent loss of an epoch; an age I try to recover after putting order when inner revolutions tore my life apart.

NU 107 will be off the airwaves, and as a fitting send off; the solemnest method to say goodbye, I sneaked out of my room to be at one with those whose lives has been touched by the radio station.

Just as it has always been,

for good or for bad,

beloved are those who cast themselves apart.

DWNU 107.5
October 31, 1987 - November 8, 2010


blagadag said...


canonista said...

It is really said for such in institution to fall all of a sudden. NU is incomparable, and it has been my sweet escape anytime, anywhere I am.

Goodbye NU 107. It was good having you on air, until your last radio wave.

Mu[g]en said...


I was about to text you na nasa NU station ako kanina, pero gaya nga ng sabi ko ... , gusto ko magsolo. Lalo ko lang iiyakan yung mga alaala na adik ako sa station na to.


Wala na ko susundan na bagong banda. :( Pang rocker pa naman boses ko. Huhuhu

Hungry Beast said...

Damn. Kaya pala recently ay hindi ko na makita ang station nila.

Louie said...

I rarely listen to NU, our household then was amazed with the jologs stations with a talk show format and all the old music claiming they are #1.

RX and Home radio lng madalas ko mapakinggan since sila lang ung almost 24/7 na stations, less banters, more music.

It is sad to know that an institution which paved way to open a window of opportunity for musicians of different rock genres in the country will end this way. Goodbye NU. :(

eon said...

I wasn't ableto tune in on the final broadcast. for some reason the radio couldn't find NU107. their website on the other hand, had something wrong with the volume so i could only monitor the tweets. :(