Radio Show Links Migrant Workers With Loved Ones


Kamis sore (16/9) saya menerima email dari wartawan The Jakarta Globe, Putri Prameshwari. Isinya: hendak wawancarai saya soal Radio Perantau Indonesia (RPI). Ia terinspirasi berita ANTARA tentang Radi Republik Indonesia (RRI) yang luaskan jangkauan siaran ke kalangan TKI di luar negeri, termasuk kerjasama dengan RPI. Beberapa menit setelah e-mailnya sayua balas dan kami bertukar nomor HP, ia pun mewawancarai saya via telepon. Berikut hasilnya dipadukan dengan hasil wawancara dengan Parni Hadi (Dirut RRI):

Radio Show Links Migrant Workers With Loved Ones

By Putri Prameshwari | September 16, 2010 |

A new radio show aims to connect Indonesians working abroad with their families back home via phone-ins and message broadcasts.

“Kampung Halaman,” or “Hometown,” airs live every Sunday on Pro 3, the nationwide channel of state-owned Radio Republik Indonesia.

The program is also broadcast in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan by Radio Perantau Indonesia, a network for migrant workers.

It allows listeners to send messages for their loved ones, which are then read on the air, or to phone in and get connected to family members overseas.

Asep Romli, RPI’s director of broadcasts, said on Thursday that ever since RPI joined forces with RRI to air the program, crowds of workers had gathered each week at the station’s studios in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“They want to get in touch with their families back home,” he said. RRI said it had been running test broadcasts in Malaysia and Hong Kong since May.

Parni Hadi, RRI chairman, said the program had become a “bridge” between Indonesian workers abroad and their families. “It’s heartwarming how they can connect with their families through radio,” he said.

“For special occasions like Idul Fitri, the program runs several times a week,” Parni said, adding that on those occasions, more listeners requested songs or sent messages to their families.

Workers abroad, he went on, could also talk to their loved ones on-air by phoning in to the show. “In Indonesia, we also broadcast the program on Pro 4 channel, which carries cultural and educational content, on FM, AM and SW,” he said.

Romli said the program aired on Sunday because most migrant workers had that day off.

During the hourlong show, RPI connects guests at its studios with those at RRI’s studios in Indonesia, he said.

“Sometimes we have prominent figures on the show, but most of the time we just let the workers come in and talk to their families,” Romli said, adding the connection was made through Voice over Internet Protocol.

Families can also make a collect call to the station and ask to be connected to their loved ones abroad through a phone patch.

RPI also trains interested workers to be radio broadcasters and reporters, but Romli said the single day off made it difficult to find permanent contributors.

“Sometimes they sneak out of work during weekdays and come to our studio to help with our work,” he said.

Romli said the program was also used to help keep workers properly informed in the wake of recent tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia.

“When the dispute hit the headlines, we invited Indonesian Embassy officials and Malaysian authorities to come down to the studio for an on-air discussion to reassure the families back home that their loved ones in Malaysia were OK,” he said.

More than 4.3 million Indonesians work overseas, most of them in Malaysia. Parni said in the near future, “Kampung Halaman” would be expanded to include South Korea, Japan and the Middle East, where many Indonesians also work.

“We’re working with Dompet Dhuafa on this planned expansion,” he said, referring to the charity institution established by Republika, the country’s leading Islamic newspaper.

Nisma Abdullah, a coordination with the Migrant Workers Union , said the program had been well received by its members. Previously, the farthest area an RRI broadcast reached was the Indonesian-Malaysian border town of Entikong.

The town links West Kalimantan in Indonesia and Kuching, Sarawak, in Malaysia. RRI’s broadcast reached it in 2009. “The small studio in Entikong managed to connect those in Jakarta with the people living along the border area,” Parni said.

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