The COVID-19 pandemic caused many Filipinos to look elsewhere for opportunities. This is particularly true for a young security guard at a Dipolog City-based radio station when he was given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to give a long-running local radio show a fresh take on the news.
In March 2020, then 23-year-old Kuya Nash Joaquino had been working as the night-shift security guard—mostly looking for ways to pass the time—for about two years when the host of the radio station’s morning news show delivered some bad news. The host, Mike “Tito Mike” Reyes, informed the station that he would be going into isolation indefinitely to protect himself against a possible coronavirus infection and would not be able to continue his show-hosting duties until the pandemic eased up.
Though the sudden absence of Tito Mike sent the radio station’s team into a panic, show producer and station co-owner Marivic Arnas came up with an unprecedented solution to save the show: why not have their security guard Kuya Nash as the host?
Kuya Nash was already known around the broadcasting station for his sense of humor and nowhere was it more evident than when he himself jokingly suggested he take over for the beloved “Tito Mike”.
What was meant to be just an off-the-cuff remark, however, proved to be the trigger for both the birth of Flash Patrol and the radio station’s biggest risk yet. After some test recordings to see how well Nash could handle reading headlines and giving improvised commentary, it was clear that the folksy, irreverent Kuya Nash had an “it factor” no seasoned newscaster could replicate.
According to Executive and Co-Producer Victoria Billones, Kuya Nash’s lack of formal training proved to be his strength. “With Kuya Nash, we had a newscaster who understood the news how ordinary people understood it, who spoke like our audience, and wasn’t afraid to be candid,” Billones explained.
Flash Patrol takes on a format familiar to many news radio shows: one host reads the headlines of the day, with occasional guests to better dive into hot issues. Yet Kuya Nash is quick to think of jokes to lighten seemingly heavy topics. In one episode discussing COVID-19 vaccinations, Kuya Nash told audiences he was glad to finally be getting his second dose. “Salamat sa Panginoon matatanggap ko na ang second dose (Thanks to God I’ll be getting my second dose),” he said. “Balita ko daw hindi ka papayagan sa langit kung hindi daw fully vaccinated! (I heard they won’t let you up in Heaven if you aren’t fully vaccinated!)”
Despite Kuya Nash entering Flash Patrol as an amateur, Billones is proud of his impact so far. Listeners have sent in overwhelmingly positive feedback, praising Kuya Nash for still being himself despite his new role. “In a way, we’re giving the news back to ordinary people,” Billones said. “Kuya Nash has shown that it is possible.”
You can listen to Flash Patrol Monday-Thursday mornings on Magik FM stations in Vigan, Laoag, Tacloban, Dipolog, Mandalupa, Lucena and Tuguegarao and or as a podcast for free on Spotify and other podcast apps.