DZAQ-TV (lost footage of Filipino TV station's inaugural telecast; 1953)

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DZAQ-TV Print ad, dated Oct. 7, 1953

Status: Lost

On October 23, 1953, DZAQ-TV launched on the air, marked as the first official television broadcast in the Philippines. The first program aired was a garden party at the Quirino residence on Sitio Alto, San Juan. DZAQ-TV soon became a major TV channel the years after.

Background[edit | edit source]

DZAQ traces its history from James Lindenberg, an American engineer regarded as the "Father of Philippine Television". He established the Bolinao Electronics Corporation (BEC) on June 13, 1946. He applied for a license in the Congress to establish a television station. On June 14, 1950, his request was granted. However, due to scarcity of materials and strict import control in 1948, he ventured into radio broadcasting instead.[1]

Judge Antonio Quirino, brother of then-president Elpidio Quirino had been trying to get a license from the Congress but was denied, them fearing he will use it for propaganda purposes to support his brother. Due to this, he bought 70% of BEC in 1952, acquiring the franchise. He changed the corporate name of BEC to ABS (Alto Broadcasting System) combining the names of its new owners, Aleli and Antonio Quirino. James Lindenberg was still a part-owner, serving as a general manager of the station.[1]

However, the Central Bank refused to grant Quirino dollar credit saying that the venture was too risky. Quirino's tactic was delaying the station's installation so that his brother Elpidio Quirino couldn't use it on his campaign. Quirino then asked Marvin Gray, whose family is a friend of General Sarnoff, the president of Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and due to this, Quirino was able to appeal the cause of ABS and get assistance from RCA.[1] Serious efforts to set up DZAQ-TV began in April 1953.

Telecast[edit | edit source]

Before the inaugural telecasts, test broadcasts were made in September 1953, a month before the inaugural telecast. During that time, TV sets are tuned to the following places, namely: Escolta - Poulex Department Store, Kairuz Department Store, D & E Coffee Shop (T. Pinpin), Dencia's Kitchenette, Dasmariñas Street - Sun Bros. & Francis Department Store, Rizal Avenue - 15¢ & Up Department Store & Automatic Electrical Appliances Co., Raon Street - Joe's Radio and Electrical Supply, and Florentino Torres St. - Saulog Transport Ticket Office. The pre-inaugural telecasts begin at 6 pm and ends at 10 pm.[2]

With the help of RCA, four men underwent training in America.

  • Arcadio “Cady” Carandang - was in charge of setting up a TV service company
  • Romualdo “Romy” Carballo - oversaw the transmission aspect
  • Harry “Slim” Chaney - acted as a spark plug for the whole operation
  • Jose “Joe” Navarro - who learned filming techniques in television.

Television sets were imported for the inaugural telecast. Quirino initiated the importation of 120 television sets through the 60,000 pesos loan that he received from the owner of Joe's Electric and in turn, became the first to be bestowed with the right to sell television sets in the country. The 120 television sets were then distributed to prominent men, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, advertising agencies, and public plazas in order to reach as many viewers as possible.[1]

The first local TV/pre-inaugural broadcast of DZAQ-TV said by Charlie Agatep was initiated on September 21, 1953, at 6:15 pm. It was hosted by Vero Perfecto and Charlie Agatep. It aired the garden party on Quirino's residence at Guevara St., San Juan. Using only one black and white orthicon camera mounted on a tripod, the TV technician panned the camera from left to right all evening to show the more than 300 socialites gathered. Later on, the camera was panned back Perfecto and Agatep and they made jokes. It said to had 10 national advertisers. Later that evening, a children's show was aired along with classic Kundiman songs. DZAQ signed off around 9:30 pm after inviting the guests and viewers to “tune in again at 6 p.m. tomorrow for that classic movie, The Count of Monte Cristo”. This was mentioned in "Lights, Camera & How Philippine TV began" published in Philippine Star from September 29, 2003 and Crispin C. Malog's The PR Guru book.[3]

On October 23, 1953, DZAQ-TV went officially on-air. The first program was a garden party at Tony Quirino's residence on Sitio Alto. Carandang recalled that a coaxial cable was extended from the transmitter site just across Sitio Alto and the switchers and camera controls were set up on a table. Elpidio Quirino, then-president of the Philippines, was present in the program.[4][1]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

The viewers were convinced that night that the establishment of television was only meant for political purposes. DZAQ was inevitably used for Quirino's reelection bid, on which he lost to Ramon Magsaysay. The telecasts were also not received very clearly not only in Manila but also in the neighboring provinces.[1]

Availability[edit | edit source]

It is known that the pre-1972 archives of ABS-CBN disappeared after the raid of the military in September 1972.[5] It is also unlikely ABS-CBN, Lindenberg, Quirino, or any other viewer that time recorded both the pre-inaugural and inaugural telecasts. However, print ads advertising the telecast is available on the Internet.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Images[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

The History of Philippine Television documentary, mentioning the telecast.
Sa Mata ng Balita, also mentioning the telecast.

References[edit | edit source]