Radio pioneer and former ABS-CBN executive Lito Balquiedra Jr. was remembered by his family, friends, and former colleagues as a tough but generous mentor, boss, and father who had a heart for helping others in a necrological service held at the Dolphy Theater last May 22.
“He always did everything with extraordinary passion. Lito was larger than life. He demanded a lot from himself as much as he demanded a lot from his people,” said Freddie M. Garcia, former ABS-CBN president and “Pilipinas Got Talent” judge.
Lito, fondly called by colleagues as ‘LBJ’ and known as the “Radio Master’ in the broadcast media, was the pioneer of DZMM and DWRR 101.9 after they were reestablished in 1986. He served as the head of the ABS-CBN Manila Radio Division and initiated DZMM’s trademark public service programs “Maligayang Paslit” and “Oplan MM.”
Veteran broadcast journalist ‘Kabayan’ Noli de Castro called Lito his number one critic who would frankly criticize his reports and commentaries, while DZMM’s former station manager and Rep. Angelo Palmones described Lito as jolly, a good listener, and the best boss who made sure no one among his subordinates would be left behind.
Manila Radio Division head Peter Musngi called Lito a “mentor and tormentor” who could be sweet but had very exacting work standards. Maloli Espinosa, former ABS-CBN executive, recalled him as inspirational, nationalistic, and a perpetual comedian who would craft his own jokes.
Lito’s daughter Patty, who spoke on behalf of the Balquiedra family, was warmed by the tribute and expressed that while his dad admittedly spent more time at work than at home, he was a caring father whose opinion had always mattered to her.
DZMM anchor Korina Sanchez, meanwhile, said, “At DZMM, we continue to uphold what LBJ did for the station. As a person, LBJ taught me to be considerate and to care for my associations with my friends,” she said.
The past and present DZMM and Tambayan 101.9 executives, anchors, reporters, and staff were also present at the event to pay their last respects to Lito.