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The long, arduous, popularizing journey of Kathy San Gabriel

Kathy San Gabriel who?


Bitches may also ask, the who?


It’s common in show business that if a name is dropped or mentioned and if it doesn’t ring a bell, arched brows would taunt, “sinis?” or “sinetch?” or the direct and clear “sino siya?” The last three expressions in quotation marks are all gay lingo or colloquial meaning who the hell. It also comes in other outlandish showbiz word inventions like “sinilyama,” “sinis-ter,” “Sining Silangan (a local movie company in the 80s),” “nosi balasi (Sampaguita’s signature rock piece)” etc.


            In the realm of the social, economic, political, cultural and spiritual—ecclesiastical if not religious—ladders, popularity of one’s name is one gauge of acceptance and recognition by the public. Notoriety, though, has been gaining grounds in all domains not only today but in the past as well. Prominence is power although they may or may not know it, the public itself creates them and the makers of these names are powers in themselves as well—thus, we have kingmakers or powers behind the thrones. In other words, popularizing one’s name is a collaboration of many things.


            Marketing technology and its contents also emanates power, influence or popularity.


            I am saying this in relation to the fame or un-fame of Kathy San Gabriel, a broadcast journalist.


            Since Kathy San Gabriel pinch hits for Ali Sotto in DZBB’s morning show, “Double A sa Double B” with Arnold Clavio, the former has been my flavor of the season in many of my showbiz punditries or the attempt at them.


            It’s because during the first two days of Kathy’s stint as stand-in anchor, a viewer and a listener—because the radio program is hooked up with GMA NewsTV, a UHF (Ultra High Frequency) free-to-air TV of GMA Network and at the same time an Amplified Modulation (AM) airwave. The media platform, therefore, is both visual and audio. The viewer/listener no matter how preceding newscaster and commentator Mike Enriquez and Arnold would introduce San Gabriel before or during the show missed her name. The audience—judging from the way he texted, admired the beauty of Kathy must be a male—didn’t mention name but just described her “Ms. Pink” (meaning the lady in pink).



            It’s obvious that the man wasn’t a ubiquitous viewer/listener simply because if he was, he would have known that the lady anchor’s name was Kathy San Gabriel. By the way, I was only tuned in to the AM band and wouldn’t know if there was or no chargen (character generation—where the name is written on the small screen below the talking head) at all. Or if she was identified, it was just a flash of it once in a while and the man might have indeed missed it.


            Perhaps the viewer/listener was a loyal Kapuso of all its broadcast media outlets. He didn’t explore other channels or cable TVs.


            What I’m driving at is Kathy San Gabriel has been in the broadcast field for the longest time but the viewing and listening public has to be bombarded and reminded with her face and name that she, for Christ’s sake, exists.


            Before GMA Network, San Gabriel was already in the thick of things of ABS-CBN broadcasting gigs as a talent of the Integrated News and Current Affairs Department (INCAD) of the station. She had already moved around and about many corners of the Mother Ignacia giant network. As a matter of course, she had paired with many Channel 2 hosts.


            You may ask or argue, though.


            ABS-CBN or its Very High Frequency (VHF) free-to-air television Channel 2 had a wide and powerful range that it had reached practically the remotest households not only in the Philippines but in the diaspora or the international market as well. Why could Kathy be unknown?


            Well, maybe because she was just one of those emcees or anchors or hostesses of the Kapamilya Network who didn’t make a mark due to irregular exposures on cam. There were and still are a thousand and one talents in ABS-CBN news and public affairs (even if it was stripped off its renewed congressional franchise its social media, cable and UHF system and other multimedia affiliates are very much active in delivering entertainment and information to an array of audiences) that one to shine and get noticed must be exposed daily much more hourly. Or if one is creative enough a striking if not shocking performance can be done without incrimination or faux pas purportedly against anyone or any institution especially the mother board that it may compromise. Creativity should also be a talent of a broadcaster. It also depends on what timeslot and shows is one thrown in to the on-air arena.


            I don’t say that San Gabriel is uncreative but judging from her repartee with Arnold, she is smart, intelligent and aware of her medium.


            ABS-CBN especially when it had still its Channel 2 had been spending a lot in the marketing and promotion of its talents, in news and in production through many outlets like print—newspapers, magazines, outdoor ads, live performances like mall tours, social media adprom etc. Kathy might not be regularly promoted by herself or by her studio. In this time of dog-eat-dog, competitive world of the multimedia, massive marketing is one weapon to hold the viewing market.


            The DZBB/GMA NewsTV listener/viewer didn’t bother to switch in to the government station, People’s Television (PTV) Channel 4 because San Gabriel spent years as a news anchor for its daily primetime news program with Audrey Gorriceta. Unfortunately, the state broadcast apparatus lacks aggressive and competitive marketing and programming despite the directives of the past and current dispensations to propel its operations.


            Unfortunately, the presence in Channel 4 of popular personalities Angelique Lazo, Aljo Bendijo, Alex Santos etc. and who are considered bigwigs telecommunications aren’t felt by the most number of Filipino viewers even if these practitioners have also relevant thoughts to share with the audience.


            After PTV, Kathy had independent stints with block timers on TV and apparently she never says die despite the challenges.


            The Philippine television landscape is an arena of competition and business monopoly despite free enterprise rules.


            Kathy San Gabriel is just one of the dots to connect to other dots to create a total canvas in popularizing her and her talent. In this industry, talent definitely prevails.


            GMA Network is such a big company and its marketing is also a force to reckon and to boost Sam Gabriel’s shot in the arm for her broadcast career.


            And the Filipino people must also try to switch channels and not only be a biased army in the ratings war among Kapatid, Kapamilya, Kapuso, Kapanalig, Kasangbahay etc. There are also goldmines in other broadcast territories.

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