Big responsibility

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Friday, January 17, 2014


“BEING a broadcaster is not a right but a privilege.” This is the line that I always hear from one of my mentors in the media industry when I first started my career in 2011. This man has constantly reminded me of the big responsibility that the media profession holds.

Meet News Anchor Ruperto Duterte Jr. a.k.a “Kasamang June” of DXDC 621 RMN Davao. June Duterte is that one person in the media that I look up to because of his credibility in the profession throughout the years. As a neophyte, Sir June has embedded in me the importance of ethics both in print and broadcast.

June Duterte has been in the broadcast industry for decades now. Right after he finished college as an AB Political Science major at the University of Mindanao in 1985, he got the opportunity to become a television newscaster of RPN 9.

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“We were 50 applicants at that time for the TV Newscaster position. I was very nervous at the same time excited because applying at RPN 9 reminded me of my ultimate dream since I was just a child, which was to become a broadcaster. Growing up in Zamboanga City, I became a huge fan of news anchors’ Eddie Rodriguez and Romy Enriquez of DXRJ. I always imitate them in front of the mirror. Never did I know, that same day will change my whole life,” he said.

June recalled how hard it was to become a broadcaster in the 80’s. “Before, everything was analog. The internet and other high-tech gadgets were not there to support our news gathering. We really need to double our efforts and have that nose for news. Kumbaga, chase the newsmaker,” he said.

June did both TV and radio in RPN 9. He went on board at DXRT radio by 6-9 am for a public affairs program, Cuentas Claras, did newscast at 12 noon, and anchored the News Watch program in TV by 5:00-5:30 pm and went back to radio from 7 to 8 pm for the Noche de Ronda program.

He had a lot of unforgettable experiences in RPN 9. He did interviews and stories among ordinary citizens, big government officials, famous businessmen, and even celebrities.

“Dili gyud nako makalimtan ang akong interview kay Lydia de Vega who was Asia’s Fastest Woman in the 1980’s. It was the height of Lydia de Vega’s career and I was star struck with her beauty and it was funny because I needed to stand on a platform to interview her because she was so tall,” he said.

Another funny incident happened to June which was caught on camera, “It was five minutes before the supposed airing time of the News Watch program, while waiting, I was combing my hair to look presentable on TV. Never did I know that I was already on cue and I’ve been combing my hair for 20 seconds already. Worse was when the camera accidentally rolled down capturing my very formal tuxedo, just paired with a “maong” (jeans). I was so embarrassed about that and it made me a laughing stock among my colleagues (until now),” he said.

RPN 9 gave him many unforgettable lessons. It was indeed one of the busiest days of his life yet in 2003, “I resigned after 18 years of service. It was never easy to leave but I have to,” he said.

The passion for broadcast did not end for June despite his decision to leave because in 2005, DXDC 621 RMN Davao opened doors for him and up to this day, you could hear him at early six in the morning for the social commentary program, “Straight to the Point”. June is also currently the program director of RMN Davao.

Having stayed in the broadcast industry for almost 30 years, June said that there were noticeable changes in the industry which were different from yesterday’s practices.

“Broadcast today is more creative. When you speak of newscast in the 80’s and 90’s, you could rarely see broadcasters smile or even crack a joke. It is a big NO before to laugh in broadcast. Today, it has evolved and new breeds of Mass Communication graduates are present in the industry which make me happy,” he said.

Meanwhile, June admits that some dirty tactics in the past are still being done by some practitioners today. “Stories of media practitioners asking or taking money from news sources really sadden me. The mistake of one person becomes a mistake of the whole industry. I always pray that it will end,” he added.

June has been advocating for positive changes in the media industry. He believes that professionalization, a closer media and academe tie up, and more training for the practitioners themselves are the key to revive the media.

“Let us professionalize the media. We are glad that we have KBP accreditation but that is not enough. This is the one profession that makes or unmakes people’s lives and if we are not serious in this craft, a lot of people will be affected. I also believe in the capacities of our Mass Communication students, and to bridge the gap, we should establish a closer tie up with the academe. Lastly, all media companies should initiate in-house-training among themselves. There are a lot of things to learn and unlearn. Dili ta pwede muundang ug tuon,” he added.

The media industry is very close to June’s heart. He is thankful to his colleagues (old and new) for enriching his life, for RPN 9 and RMN Davao for giving him the break, his parents who instilled in him the value of education and to the listeners who have touched his heart.

“I will never forget the lessons that my parents taught me. My father Ruperto Sr. and mother Demetria instilled in me the value of education. To my siblings Cora and Dante who are my source of strength, thank you! You all inspired me to do best in everything that I do,” he said.

He could have been a teacher if he was not a broadcaster but as what he told me, the media profession is a calling and maybe God called him to broadcast and express his thoughts in ways that could touch the lives of many people. “I will never be a broadcaster forever and I hope the next generation will value what we have started and remember me as a man who did his very best according to the best lights that has given me, more as a mentor,” he added.

I will forever salute Kasamang June Duterte’s passion and respect for the craft. His principles and ethics on and off air will always serve as an inspiration to all aspiring broadcasters.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 18, 2014.

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