Lessons from ABS-CBN’s ‘Kapitan’

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Cover of "Kapitan: Geny Lopez and the Making of ABS-CBN" by Raul Rodrigo

(Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

I loaned “Kapitan: Geny Lopez and the Making of ABS-CBN” from the company library for research. But only when I had to return it did I start reading the coffee-table book cover to cover. It took two days, one of which took an entire afternoon.
ABS-CBN 60 years of Philippine Television logo

The book’s subject matter is daunting. It squeezes 55 years of Philippine television—not just ABS-CBN—into 450 pages. Eugenio Lopez, Jr., who did not start the network but steered it to dominance, actually figures in only less than three-fourths of its pages.

The late author Raul Rodrigo begins not with the birth of Lopez, but with the conception of Bolinao Electronics Corporation (ABS-CBN’s corporate predecessor) in 1946. Likewise, Rodrigo’s flash-forward mentions go way beyond Lopez’s death on June 29, 1999.

The influence of “Kapitan” (an honorific christened him by employees) nonetheless comes up in each turn of the page, especially in anecdotes that have grown part of company lore.

In marking 60 years of television in the Philippines and the 14th anniversary of Geny Lopez’s death, here are some notes on his personal philosophy and management style:

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