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The Role of Celebrity Radio DJs in Contemporary Radio Industry: A Case Study of Prambors Network

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Jurnal Komunikasi:
Malaysian Journal of Communication
Jilid 35(3) 2019: 57-73
E-ISSN: 2289-1528
https://doi.org/10.17576/JKMJC-2019-3503-04
The Role of Celebrity Radio DJs in Contemporary Radio Industry:
A Case Study of Prambors Network
KARTIKA SINGARIMBUN
SITI KARLINAH
DADANG RAHMAT HIDAYAT
Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia
YULIANDRE DARWIS
Universitas Andalas, Indonesia
ABSTRACT
In music radio broadcasts, radio DJs play an important role in the success of broadcast programs.
The words and expressions used are very important in building relationships with the listener. As a
form of business development, Prambors Radio forms a network that broadcasts homogeneous
content simultaneously. For efficiency reason, the company uses national television celebrities as
radio DJs for the listeners’ needs. This study uses the commercial radio station Prambors Radio
Network broadcast in nine cities in Indonesia as an exemplar for understanding the commodity
process of radio workers. Using Vincent Mosco's key theories, the commodification of labor, to
explain how services and ideas transform into commodities or trade objects, this research argues
that Prambors Network uses national celebrity radio DJs not only to broaden the broadcast reached,
but also to attract advertisers as well. Celebrity radio DJs, in particular, are leased by the company to
the fans and are expected to increase audience number (share) for the benefit of client products.
Through qualitative interviews with radio owners, workers, and observations, this research shows
that Prambors Network has created a new strategy to build proximity with listeners by utilizing
celebrity radio DJs for AC Nielsen radio rating and number of listeners. Their fame is used in all radio
promotional materials, both on prime time morning show and promotion of the radio brand itself.
The results of the exploitation of national celebrities as radio DJs are marginalization of local human
resources and the broadcasting of Jakarta-centric information.
Keywords: Commodification, exploitation, labor, Indonesian radio network, celebrity radio DJ.
INTRODUCTION
Employing national celebrities on radio broadcasting is one of the most creative strategies in
developing a radio network. The network radio in question has branches in different regions
but uses the same station name as its parent. The program contents are identical and are
broadcast simultaneously. The extent of broadcast reach point and the diversity of ethnic
groups and languages in Indonesia have created the use of television celebrities as radio DJs
to span listeners that spread across various islands with limited broadcast areas.
The radio network has a product, a broadcast program that needs the support of
radio DJ to introduce the program to its listeners. It requires a trustworthy, reliable person
to promote program content as radio station products and radio names as brands. It is
similar with products (goods) or brands around the world with at least a quarter of the
advertisements circulating that use celebrities to promote their products (Shimp &
Andrews, 2013).
The Role of Celebrity Radio DJs in Contemporary Radio Industry: A Case Study of Prambors Network
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As the leading youth radio in Indonesia, Prambors Radio has produced many radio
talents who have become national television celebrities. But on the contrary, when forming
a networked radio, Prambors needed famous names of national television celebrities to
reach listeners in nine regions in Indonesia. Prambors radio millennial listeners in nine cities
have different characters and references to idols or role models. Therefore, in order to
facilitate and accelerate the close relationships that are built with its listeners, Prambors
chose a role model originating from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Since 1970, Jakarta has
become the center of all media in Indonesia, and the Jakarta media plays a key role in media
development until now (Hobart, 2006). The use of national television celebrities is
considered to be easier to build closeness with the listener, since their appearance, face,
and voice are familiar and known by the public through national television.
National television celebrities as radio DJs were employed when Prambors Radio
formed a network in the year of 2000. Following this, the use of celebrity radio DJs was not
only practiced by Prambors Radio. Other radio networks have since begun to utilize national
celebrity as radio DJs. This practice has long been done, but there is a significant gap in the
literature on the use of celebrities in radio companies, especially in the radio industry in
Indonesia. This research attempts to investigate the research gap, which will be explained in
the literature review chapter.
It is commonly acknowledged that celebrities are more widely used to promote of
advertiser products, as explained by Chan, Ng and Luk (2013) on a research conducted on
Chinese teenagers. They concluded that using celebrities in advertising can increase brand
awareness among consumers. Meanwhile, a research on a celebrity for advertiser products
in Indonesia has been carried out by Laila and Sjabadhyni (2017), explaining that product
purchases using celebrity are higher than the ones without. Amelina and Zhu's (2016)
research that focuses on online brands determined that celebrity’s credibility can increase
attitudes and consumer interest on the product, and this is also what the company owner
(Prambors as a brand) aspire to achieve, that the brand awareness of Prambors Radio
company is done through the use of Indonesian national celebrities as radio DJs. Based on
critical media, this qualitative in-depth research aims to answer the following research
question: how are the quality of human resources in Indonesian radio industry and the
practice of human resources commodification carried out by Prambors Radio Network? The
research objectives are to uncover the quality of radio resources in Indonesia and
investigate the practice of commodifying labor on Prambors Radio Network.
The study of radio labor, competition, and organizational changes from a critical
perspective makes it possible to discuss, examine, and deepen previous theories on media
work. Communication research of media work has shown how celebrity radio DJs have been
exploited to push increased work in radio industries. This risk reduces local labor, increases
management’s power, and controls overproduction. Through observations and interviews, it
will be possible to expand our understanding of how celebrity radio DJs and new
organizational principles raise marginalized local labor and how the owner's interest shapes
power relations in the everyday life of media production.
The research questions will be addressed to the radio owner and practitioner and
advertiser to comprehend a successful Prambors Network content by celebrity radio DJs
endorsement in reaching listeners that spread across nine regions of Indonesia. To the best
of our knowledge, this article is the first to introduce a research on the exploitation of
celebrity radio DJs endorsement in developing countries. Consequently, the research
findings will contribute to the “industry radio, media management” research stream
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through solving the existing literature gap by observing how effectively celebrity radio DJs
endorsement could be used in developing and emerging economies to enhance the
numerals of listeners and advertisers. The findings could be used as a ground for future
radio management in terms of public and advertiser numerals in other developing and
emerging economy with similar cultural setting.
Furthermore, the findings will also suggest practitioners (i.e. radio and advertisers)
on how to select effective celebrity endorser to generate public proximity and
advertisement and to measure the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement in radio brand
and radio advertisement. This should provide an answer on what strategy should the
marketers follow to develop successful celebrity advertisement that increases brand
awareness for both radios as media and radio advertisement. The rest of this article is
arranged as follows: section 2 discusses the existing theories regarding this topic, section 3
discusses the methodology adopted in this research, section 4 presents findings and
analysis, and section 5 contains conclusions, limitation, and suggestions for future research.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Radio host or presenter or radio DJ has the role of mediating information for the audience,
encouraging certain activities, and helping the audience to understand information, all of
which are centered on what the presenter conveys. Radio is a media, which delivers just
audio, accentuated to build the listeners’ "theater of the mind". The sight, thought, and
gestures they do are all conveyed through the words spoken. It is an acknowledgment that
the voice is an instrument of communication (Goffman, 1975). What is said and the person
who says it is important in media radio broadcasting. The communicator’s credibility is
highly necessary to build relationships with the listener. The influence of a communicator
will depend on a combination of three components: expertise, trust, and attractiveness.
Expertise is the extent to which the communicator is considered a source of valid
statements. Trust refers to consumer trust in sources that provide information honestly and
objectively. Physically attractive communicators are more successful in changing beliefs
(Ohanian, 1990), even though physically radio DJs, are not visible. But with media
convergence, the physical features of radio DJs or presenters or radio hosts can also be seen
through online media, radio websites, and social media.
Emphasis on sound, articulation, and expression is a determining factor for radio DJs.
Authenticity, like sincerity, is a quality that is important for many types of radio DJs or
presenters to exhibit. Radio presenters or DJs or hosts form personalities to build close
relationships with the listeners (Jamiah, Salasiah, Fazilah, Nurul Nabila & Mohammad Rezal,
2018). The relationship that builds an intimate relationship between a radio DJ and the
listener forms trust so that the listener is willing to share their experiences on on-air
interactions. Moreover, since the closeness between the two has been previously
established through television because the radio listeners know their faces and voices
through television, it is expected that the radio listeners’ theater of the mind is awakened
when the radio DJ conveys the words.
In recent years, media personality research has increased in media study (Banks,
2007; Bennett, 2010; Bonner, 2011). The media are not only the center of production,
circulation, and consumption (Redmond & Holmes, 2012), but they specifically show
interesting celebrities to be analyzed more closely in their way (Bennett & Holmes, 2010).
Television personalities and radio personalities differ from movie stars, who build their
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personalities with their unique media characteristics. Electronic microphones and specific
"blindness" medium open up models of personal and intimate relationships when private
voices are heard by the public (Nyre, 2008).
Audiences like easy and fun entertainment, indicated by pleasant and sensational
experiences through mood mechanisms. In this condition, the audience's relationship with
celebrities is based on imaginative activities such as fantasizing and daydreaming (Peter &
Valkenburg, 2006). When audiences embody celebrities as their emotional lines (Holt &
Thompson, 2004), it creates an illusion of intimacy with celebrities (Green, Brock, &
Kaufman, 2004). This makes fantasizing about celebrities a general form of mood
management (Knobloch, 2006).
Celebrity endorser, by McCracken's (1989) definition, is anyone who enjoys public
recognition and uses that recognition for advertising. Celebrity endorsers appear in various
communication modes. For example, celebrity supports business-to-business products and
services (Erdogan, 1999), celebrity acts as spokespersons (Michael Jordan of Nike Shoes),
and Instagram stories use actor (Brad Pitt) and celebrity as picture of brands (Bergkvist &
Zhou, 2016). The use of celebrity support in advertising is one of the most popular creative
strategies (Erdogan, 1999). Most researches conducted have shown that celebrity support is
an effective approach in marketing communication and they confirm that celebrity support
influences consumer attitudes towards brands (Amos, Holmes & Strutton 2008). In addition,
marketers believe that celebrity gives impact on effective marketing, brand recall, and
recognition (Spry, Pappu, & Cornwell, 2011).
The company brand called "Prambors" was built in 2000 and it now operates in nine
regions in Indonesia. The nine radio branches use the same brand, "Prambors", although the
broadcast frequency differs in each region. Prambors brand is applied because it has been
proven and operating for 48 years. In fact, Prambors is able to evolve a networked station,
when the Indonesian radio industry is in decline, marked by RADEX (radio expenditure) of
only 0.9% since 2009 (Nielsen Media Measurement Research, 2018). Aside from that,
Prambors is the widest-range youth radio network in Indonesia.
The radio network systems practice in Indonesia is currently carried out through an
ownership concentration where the production and marketing of programs are performed
by one party, which in this case is the parent radio (Masduki, 2007). Radio network is a
corporate strategy for expanding business and audiences (Dominick, 2009) and a form of
corporate strategy in terms of resources efficiency. Radio network markets all radio
branches together with parent network. Content is produced by parent network and is
broadcast via streaming to the branches. Content programs are only produced by parent
network for all branches stations (Rivers, Peterson & Jensen, 2003).
For local radio, the benefits of networked radio are obtaining national advertising,
earning national stars, and having a good quality broadcast program (Lane, King & Russell,
2009). The price of radio network advertising is higher than a single radio, which is
determined based on the entire branches number of the audience (De Bonis, 2015).
According to Nielsen Radio Measurement, the highest advertisement price is placed at
prime time driving time, which are morning show (from 6-10 a.m.), and afternoon show
(from 4-8 p.m.). These are the times when national television celebrities are on air as radio
DJs to attract listeners and advertisers. National television celebrities are used as
homogeneous content program radio DJs because culturally, Indonesians are easily
influenced by celebrity endorsement and public figures (Blair, Armstrong & Murphy, 2003).
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The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (Komisi Penyiaran Indonesia/KPI) data in
2018 shows that there are currently 15 radio networks operating in Indonesia, all of which
are in Jakarta. Jakarta was chosen as parent network because, aside from the fact that it is
the nation’s capital city, it is also the epicentrum of Indonesia’s economy. Advertising
agency and the product’s principal are located in Jakarta, causing all advertising purchase
decisions are made by Jakarta offices. Radio networks are executed through collective
marketing programs (Masduki, 2007). In this case, the company makes efficiency by
reducing both production and labor costs (Lane, King & Russell, 2009).
Of the 15 radio networks operating in Indonesia, there are 6 youth segmentation of
radio networks, namely: Prambors, I radio, Trax FM, Global FM, OZ radio, and Gen FM.
Youth radio (with target age ranging from 15-29 years) can perform if it is well managed,
follows technology developments, and meets the listeners’ needs (Wan Idros & Ooi, 2017).
Millenials target is considered to have a high level of spending power (Martin & Turley,
2004). Therefore, a continuing investigation of the millenialis’ interests and needs is needed.
Although according to Lee, Aisah, Liana & Siti Suriani (2016), further bondage of listeners on
mobile phones radio is not the main thing, listeners still use the radio as a medium to listen
to music which can relieve pressure to eliminate boredom (Norshafawati, Asiah & Fuziah
Kartini, 2010). The choice factor of the song being played, the humorous elements, the
value of knowledge, and the design of the program are very influential in the selection of
radio station.
The study on Indonesian radio network is very limited, especially on radio network
that employs television celebrities as radio DJs. Research on Indonesian radio network
highlights on the promotion strategy by changing the radio tagline (Maulana, Kuncoro, &
Hikmah, 2013) and media identity selection (Suryadi, 2005). What has not been discussed in
the literature is the issue of using television celebrities as radio network workers from the
perspective of Vincent Mosco on commodification practice. Mosco, through the political
economy of communication, describes it as a study of social relations, underlining the
power relations that emphasize the production, distribution, and consumption of resources
(Mosco, 2009). Thus, the products or radio broadcasting communication objects are radio
programs, with listeners as primary resources. The emphasis of communication objects on
radio programs in which radio DJ is available is considered "solving the problem" on how to
maintain and monetize the listener. This capitalist principle is related to the political
economy of the media highlighted by Mosco, including the transformation of use-value into
a medium of exchange. The workforce is commodified so that it has a sale value, and media
owners benefit politically and economically (Mosco, 2009). By using a potential workforce,
media content is created to attract two different markets (listeners) and buyers
(advertisers) altogether (Albarran, Olmsted, & Wirth, 2006). In this case, the media
functions as a place to meet the needs of the community based on the law of demand and
supply (Croteau & Hoynes, 2001).
METHODOLOGY
This study uses a qualitative approach with critical media studies through in-depth semi-
structured interviews with the highest radio executives and central and regional regulators
of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (Komisi Penyiaran Indonesia/KPI). The selection
of research subjects is based on their central position as decision- and policy-makers (Knuth,
Kouki & Strube, 2013), and KPI as an Indonesian broadcasting observer. Hsieh and Shannon
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(2005) state that the research subjects are chosen based on their relevance to the research
topic.
To explore the research objectives of Indonesian radio human resources quality and
the practice of commodifying labor on Prambors Radio Network, this research has studied
Indonesia’s largest youth commercial radio company, Prambors Radio Network, and
conducted qualitative fieldwork (interviews and observations) in the program department
and top management during the period of 2017 to 2018. This research has combined this
approach with an analysis of air production, internal production documents, and external
texts about the company (e.g online article) at Prambors Radio Network. Through these
various materials, this research has assembled an account of how celebrity radio DJs have
affected work and production in the company.
Table 1: Research informants
No
Name
Details
1
MS
Founder and CEO of Prambors Radio Network
2
CN
Commissioner of PT. Tomasi Cipta Karya
3
II
President Director of Prambors Radio Network
4
AR
Radio Business Development Consultant of Prambors Radio
Network
5
CP
Content Director of Prambors Radio Network
6
DT
“Morning Show” Radio DJ
7
GN
“Morning Show” Radio DJ
8
IT
“Morning Show” Producer of Prambors Radio Network
9
AS
Commissioner of Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI)
2016-2019
This critical media study is used to uncover realities that are formed by a series of
social, political, cultural, and economic factors, which then crystallize into a series of
inaccurate structures (Denzin & Lincoln, 2009). The critical paradigm used in this study is not
just to criticize the system but also as a paradigm for changing systems and structures to be
more just. Research questions were posed to explore ideas from the informants through 60-
90 minutes in-depth interviews (Denzin & Lincoln, 2009), pertaining transformations in the
organization of work and labor in music radio production that have come about due to
organizational structure change, the implementation of the listeners' need in production,
and the push towards company profit orientation. This research tackles questions such as:
What effects do these phenomena have on radio organization and radio labor? What does
this mean for the creative potentials of local labor music radio work? These questions given
to regulators are the extent of supervision over the use of local human resources.
The interview guide was prepared but then shifted to specific questions, depending
on the informants' answers, and the discussion was developed based on the informant's
point of view. Such an approach helps researchers to be more flexible and adaptable in
interviewing informants (Turner, 2010). All interviews were digitally recorded and interview
transcripts were analyzed. To test the validity of the data, triangulation techniques were
used with interpretive data analysis where data reduction has been carried out since the
initial data was obtained. Data presentation was done by displaying data that has been
analyzed and are considered to be related to the research problem, including grouping data
based on the findings and thematic analyzing (Miles & Huberman, 1994).
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RESULT AND DISCUSSION
a. Radio DJs Work and Skills
Radio DJ plays an important role in managing commercial music radio (Anggrayni, Badrul
Redzuan & Chang, 2018) because of his/her role as the company’s spearhead, the face, and
corporate ambassador. Another important role of a radio DJ is to capture and maintain
listeners by building close relationships so that they are expected to be loyal to the radio
station. Radio DJ plays a role in delivering sponsors or advertisers messages aimed at
potential consumers who are among the radio listeners. Since radio DJ has an important
role, the selection process is therefore not easy. The character of radio DJ must be suitable
for the radio target listeners in terms of age, lifestyle, and social class. Another thing that
becomes a requirement of radio DJ is general knowledge and music knowledge insight,
musical tastes, and speaking style so that listeners can be connected with appropriate
characters of radio DJ (Interview with II on March 4, 2018).
Most radio stations in Indonesia recruit radio DJs without broadcasting experiences,
but music knowledge and music tastes must be met as its initial requirements. The reason
behind this is that they tend to be more easily "polished" in internal training, while
experienced radio DJs already have their own "style", making it difficult to change them into
the needs of the station according to radio target segmentation. Moreover, the required
radio DJs must follow the target listeners, causing the radio segment to largely determine
the way the announcer speaks and greets his listeners.
Radio DJs’ requirements are quite complicated, especially for radio network. All
Indonesian radio networks are located in Jakarta, broadcasting the same contents
transmitted to several major cities at the same time. The target market is wide and varied so
that the position of a radio DJ is the key to the success of radio network. The company
focuses only on morning and afternoon prime time. The listeners listened to the radio more
in both prime times as it is driving time, which is believed to capture the highest number of
listeners than any other time (Nielsen Media Measurement Research, 2018). For this
reason, the radio DJ on air during prime time hours must be special, well-known, and able to
build close relationships with the audience.
Choosing a suitable radio DJ for the network audiences segment is a challenge for
the company. Although at the beginning it was stated that the radio DJ's character must be
in accordance with the intended listener, still, it cannot be used as a definite benchmark, as
the position of this radio DJ is more determined by the owner. Although Prambors Radio
Network uses online research in determining the character of the radio DJ, the final decision
depends on the radio owner (Interview with CP on August 3, 2017).
Prambors Radio Network broadcasts in nine different regions in Indonesia. Through
this centralized broadcast model, management selects radio DJs previously known as
television celebrities. Television celebrities have been known through audiovisual media. As
such, they are expected to quickly build closeness and intimate relationships with listeners.
Their familiar faces and voices are utilized by the company to capture a wider listener.
Celebrities have the power to reach out listeners spreading across different regions in
Indonesia, as their fame is utilized to build an intimate relationship with the listeners
(Interview with CP on August 3, 2017).
Radio DJ is highly depended upon to build closeness with loyal listeners. The
company expects radio DJ to be able to raise the radio rating and share (number of
listeners) (Interview with CN on May 4, 2018). Their role, as influencers or KOL (Key Opinion
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Leaders) in communities becomes the asset which can gain masses (Interview with II on
March 4, 2018). As the 250 million people of Indonesian population spreading across the
archipelago have differences in language, religion, class, gender, age, and interests (Hobart,
2006), Prambors management hires well-known celebrity to more efficiently tackle with the
differences. Primetime radio DJ must be a star or an idol for millennial listeners in the nine
regions. This means that radio DJ who greets millennial listeners during prime time hours
has a sale value for the markets of Prambors Radio Network, which are listeners and
advertisers.
By employing celebrity radio DJ on prime time programs broadcast jointly to all
network branches, Prambors Radio has ignored the creativity and the existence of local
human resources. Local information is not explored in the content, because it is determined
by the parent network and contains more Jakarta-centric information. This is not in line with
the existence of radio and broadcast licenses which were issued for the benefit of local
communities, not for the people of Indonesia in general (Law 32/2002 on Broadcasting).
One reason why it is difficult to think critically about the media, especially radio, lies
in the c ollusion between the media industry and the political and economic elite. This
assumes that broadcast content and reception are determined by the production process
and population survey. This is especially important because the capitalists concentrate on
increasing the number of audiences which will have an impact in improving the ratings on
the AC Nielsen survey and increasing advertisers' buying time.
Vincent Mosco's theory of the political economy of the media addresses the
commodification of labor concept, in which commodity process occurs (Mosco, 2009). The
use-value becomes the exchange value. This finding was in agreement with Mosco (2009)
which states that labor is utilized to provide economic and political benefits for the owner.
Celebrity radio DJ uses his/her fame to greet and build the intimacy with the listener on the
entire Prambors branches with the aim to increase radio ratings and the number of
listeners. The findings of this study also indicate that the radio DJ's background previously
known as television celebrity is used as a force to reach a wide-spread listener. In this case,
the owner only carries out his interests both economically and politically. Celebrity radio DJ
is used by the owner of Prambors to maintain the company's existence. Mezzadri (2016)
states that exploitation and commodification cannot be separated; they are two sides of the
same coin. In this case, Prambors exploits television celebrity as a radio DJ to reach
Prambors Radio’s millennial listeners in the nine regions of Indonesia. Media and
communication resources have become commodity-products and services sold by
companies to buyers or consumers for profit (Wasko, 2014).
b. Celebrity Radio DJs Endorse Wide Audience and Advertiser
The radio industry employs specialists especially radio DJs or presenters or radio hosts who
are not fulfilling their vocational potential, particularly on the aesthetic potential of popular
music and broadcast programs. The key organizational units in the radio industry are related
to the concept of format, with more emphasis on individual job descriptions on the role.
Radio professionals, especially programmers, music director, producer, and program
director responsible for the overall sound of a station are motivated to achieve these
fifteen-minute "highs". It is indeed a widespread aim of many of those whose vocation is on
music radio. The fifteen-minute time must display the creativity of the program team when
all factors such as music, presenters, event features, and advertisements come together to
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produce fifteen minutes of audio which perfectly compliments a certain mood or scenario
(Interview with MS on November 7, 2017).
The Indonesian radio industry and advertising rely on the results of AC Nielsen's
research rating. Advertising agencies in Indonesia use AC Nielsen Media Survey as a reliable
measurement tool in choosing the media for promoting their clients' product. The radio
broadcasting is competing to make their company in the top 10 radio rankings from the AC
Nielsen survey. However, ranks 1-5 are the safest way to get ads. In the rating business, the
most important thing is detaining listeners. The listeners, who listen to the radio for eight
minutes without switching frequencies, are considered as a fifteen minutes audience or a
one-quarter hour audience and are recorded as cumulative audiences (Interview with CN on
May 4, 2018). "Cume" illustrate audience size, as they estimate the unduplicated number of
people reached by a station at least once during a particular period. Share of the audience is
the percentage of total radio listening audience during a given time tuning period to a
particular station. Share is a station's average audience expressed as a percentage of the
total radio audience for the same period.
The radio industry tends to prioritize the economy, which is reflected in the activities
of the employees who are encouraged to treat music and broadcast content as a means to
and an opportunity to strengthen the station's brand identity. Prambors Radio, with the
largest reach in the millennials Indonesian group market, is exemplary. It is marketed by
drawing its brand identity tagline as an "Indonesian number 1 hit music station" that will
make the listener "Gaul" (literally means "sociable"). Gaul has been emphasized by the role
of Jakarta as a reference point for upward and outward-looking youth in many areas of
Indonesia (Ibrihim, 2007; Smith-Hefner, 2007).
Radio broadcasting stations may provide initial work. After work on television
decreases or even disappears, the media career continues on film as an actor or dubber.
Media work is conducted to maintain public appearances, names, and personalities in public
groups nationally (Bonner, 2011). Prambors Radio Network employs two radio DJs
previously known as a national television program: Gina, nicknamed "Jeng Kelin" comedian
and Desta, a movie actor, drummer, comedian, and currently presenting a national
television weekday program entitled "Tonight Show" which has been running for five years.
Desta became a Prambors radio DJ in 2002 to 2008. He then continued this role in 2013
until now. Gina, on the other hand, has been a radio DJ since 2011. In 2013, Desta and Gina
were conjoined in morning show prime time program (Interview with DT and GN, August 3,
2017).
The name of the prime time morning show program of Prambors Radio Network
uses the two television personalities' name: "Desta and Gina in the Morning". The program
name works as a basis for their interpretation message to be conveyed and to change the
delivery of the message each time it is spoken, which is usually 6-7 times an hour, in the
form of "liner". The mention is no longer focused on the name of the station or frequency,
but the name of the radio DJs as the program’s hosts. It is important to note that Prambors
delivers the same content at prime time morning show program in nine different regions in
Indonesia, where each region has its frequency number. In this case, the frequency number
is ignored, meaning that it is not stated by radio DJs which they usually do. It is instead
being replaced by brand names. Prambors Radio Network, broadcasting from Jakarta to its
nine radio branch cities, uses the same brand name and station called "Prambors Radio".
Apart from the 6-10 a.m. prime time morning show and 4-8 p.m. prime time afternoon
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show, Prambors Radio Network imposes a policy of 4-6 times per hour mentioning the
"Prambors Radio, Indonesia’s number one hits music station" liner, which is not mentioned
on the prime time morning and afternoon show.
The radio liners must comply with the company policy. It has to be "clear, concise
and conversational", which means practicing and editing words before opening the
microphone fader, without losing the sense of spontaneity. Experienced and confident
presenters will be able to "do the sell" from the liner without practice, besides promoting
advertiser products or other features or with the target listener in mind, including a
Jakarta's reference, news story, joke, or information. Radio DJs are free to create, but there
is pressure from top company management to stay within the format rules. Producers,
music directors, and program directors who act as program controllers oversee every sound
from the radio DJ's microphone. They do not allow them to make mistakes because this can
reduce professionalism, which is a key aspect of the station's brand identity. Hence, the
tendency for broadcasts to be safe results in a consistent and functional construction.
Although radio DJs are allowed more freedom to develop their radio personality, they are
still television personalities who are recruited to present radio shows.
The marketing focus of Prambors brand is only in morning shows, using television
personality as a radio DJ. Radio brands make people aware of a company's product, in this
case morning show program, which becomes an important aspect of the radio station. The
number of listeners is needed to ensure the proportion of the sample so that a mass
audience is sought. The search for a mass audience means adopting policies, which means
encouraging popular music plays and well-known hosts to encourage a large number of
listeners. The fact that competitors also adopt this policy and the fact that audiences are not
visible mean that the clarity of a company's brand identity is a key factor.
The media profile of radio DJs like Desta and Gina as prime time morning show hosts
is a key factor. Since Prambors Radio Network broadcasts in nine regions, large-scale and
extensive marketing is required. All branches of Prambors Radio, namely Jakarta, Bandung,
Medan, Yogyakarta, Solo, Semarang, Surabaya, Makassar, and Manado are simultaneously
marketed by the parent network. Company operational cars, billboards, elevator mall, and
other public places are used in Prambors Radio prime time morning show program's
promotion. A radio consultant's statement mentions that in the contemporary music radio
industry, a strong and successful brand image is built on two factors: the perceived quality
and consistency of the sound product available to the audience at all times. These are
important to make a strong brand position (Interview with AR on February 15, 2017).
Exploited comedian television personality in media that only displays audio,
minimizes the listeners’ gap with radio DJs. The advantage of employing television
personality is that their identity, face, and voice are well known through television. When
their voices are heard in a radio broadcast, the listeners acknowledge and form their
"theater of the mind". The audio nature of the radio presents the stage of the mind to each
listener so that the words of a radio DJ become a different fantasy for each listener. As such,
the radio DJ can make the listener feel comfortable, close, and intimate. This closeness is
built through interactive topics related to the radio DJ's personal story to provoke the
attention and interaction of live call on air with the listeners (Interview with IT on August 3,
2017). For example, the topic of disappointment is most often done by a partner.
Interaction opens with the celebrity radio DJ's comments on topics related to his/her
experiences. Listeners are interested in hearing their personal stories that will not
necessarily be published through other media. Celebrity radio DJs must open their personal
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lives, making the information or topics delivered a bridge on their personal stories needed
by the listeners and are the result of an internal online survey (Interview with CP on August
3, 2017).
Even though the radio DJ lacks music knowledge, particularly international music,
the management still considers that they can build close relationships with listeners through
"theater of mind" since they have the talent in entertaining audiences on television
(Interview with II on March 4, 2018). Since Prambors Radio Network focuses on
international music, by playing a percentage of 80% of international music, the DJs’
knowledge on Indonesian music is not highlighted despite the fact that they know more
about Indonesian than international music. The international radio consultant who acts as
Prambors Radio Network FM business development consultant described that Prambors
Radio Network needed to adopt the principles of proven successful radios in the United
States and Australia, which entails placing the all-important factor of music firmly within a
formatted structure (Interview with AO on February 15, 2017).
Prambors radio DJs are not very knowledgeable in international artist’s news. To
work their way around this, they only mention the song title and the artist's name that are
printed on the computer screen in front of them. However, radio DJs, whose duties are to
play music and indulge in an element of aesthetic creativity when it comes to the choice of
music, have to be in accordance with the economic industry. Their previous competence to
entertain television audiences was utilized to foster close relationships by opening their
personal stories to reach wider listeners. The knowledge and experience on international
music to cater the needs and interests of Prambors Radio listeners are in this case ignored.
Radio DJs employed on prime time morning shows are television celebrities, who are not
very knowledgeable in international music. This does not meet the listeners’ needs to gain
information on international music. In this case, KPI who is responsible for broadcasting
supervision is aware of the “Local” regulation. “Local” is defined as local production for the
local public using local resources (Interview with AS, March 18, 2018). However, KPI does
not impose sanctions on the grounds of limited resources both on broadcast monitoring
tools and human resources, making it difficult to prove violations.
Capitalist relationships are determined by their unique shape of labor. In this
context, labor is employed as a factor of production, as a workforce. But historically, they
are artists or individuals with unlimited creativity and talent (Banks, 2007). As social objects,
creative workers are used to the greatest extent possible by capitalists. Creative workers are
encouraged to see themselves as autonomous and creative. These creative workers prove
to be very tolerant of oppressive working conditions as a result of the efficacy of the
company discourse, which is invested only through work, where freedom can be obtained.
In relation with this concept, the fame factor of the two radio DJs (Desta and Gina) is used
not only through prime-time morning show, but also to connect with social media
audiences, through Prambors Radio Instagram account. Their video activities, artist concert
news, and radio advertisements are presented by celebrity radio DJs. Their creativity is
exploited to the maximum extent to grab audiences not only through program content (on
air) but also through off-air and online activities (Singarimbun, Karlinah, Darwis & Hidayat,
2018).
Littlejohn (2009) describes labor as a form of "expenses" that must be reduced so
that the company owner gets more benefit. By exploiting two television celebrities as radio
DJs to convey prime time morning show program simultaneously to all Prambors branches,
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the company has closed the opportunity for local human resources to become Prambors
Radio DJs in all its branches or local radios. The local potential labor has been marginalized,
and at the same time, workers who are at the parent network are exploited with a
centralized production system. Radio broadcasting companies must provide benefits and
use-value for the local community and not merely become an exchange value for the
dominant group because they have also been given a free broadcasting permit by the
Indonesian government, which should be returned in a content radio program that is useful
for the local community.
Based on the results of this research, the following is the model of labor
commodification of radio network:
Figure 1: Commodity of celebrity radio DJs
CONCLUSION
In this article, we have shown how commercial music radio broadcasting uses television
celebrities who are known nationally as radio DJs for networked stations. This strategy is to
respond to the business competition and it is counted for as company efficiency. This has
spurred radio companies (Prambors Radio) to develop new models to captivate and capture
audience. Within this reorientation of the established modes of business models, the role of
radio DJs has been transformed. In a multiplatform media environment, celebrity Radio DJs'
role is increasingly encouraged as an engine to regulate the flow of the audience to create
an economic surplus. Celebrity personality systems that have been formed previously
through television are radio company strategies to overcome the specificity of the target
media market. Celebrity radio DJs are developed as resources that contribute to the
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increase of audience response and to the decrease of production costs. Aside from the
identical and simultaneous content of network program, less time is spent on adaptation
and innovation. The relationship previously built through national television and it is used to
attract the audience's attention based on rapport and their reputation. Credibility, fame,
and the radio DJ's personality are tools to keep audiences on the channel. And above all,
their presence can motivate them to stay on the program.
Furthermore, in the spot advertising orientation, the existence of celebrity radio DJ is
increasingly important as a resource for corporate brands and broadcast content to create
bonds with audiences that can be used for commercial purposes. Although this certainly
creates new problems, when the need for national television celebrity for radio companies
is elevated, there will be an increase in wages and benefits.
The strategists and managers of commercial radio companies are emphasizing the
importance of new music with high rotation specifically for youth or millennials
segmentation. This covers particularly on the importance of celebrity radio DJ's presence
that is trusted, well-known, and preferred by the audience to share information and greet
them across the nine regions of Indonesia. As such, the credibility of celebrity radio DJ can
escalate the audience's share and AC Nielsen radio rating that is connected with airtime
purchases by advertising agencies. In the future, Indonesian radio economics may be more
focused on radio DJ's personality to grab its audience.
Meanwhile, from the workforce side that is considered specific, unique or irregular,
with more emphasis on creative work such as radio DJs, actors, and comedians, Indonesian
government creates policies to address the specific conditions of their creative work.
Despite the fact that Indonesia already has an Indonesian Creative Economy Institution
(Badan Ekonomi Kreatif Indonesia/BERKRAF), which was formed in President Joko Widodo's
era (2014-2019) that manages and actively promotes Indonesia’s creative industry, until
now there are no policies that have been issued regarding creative workforce.
Some limitations of this study need to be recognized. As a new research endeavor,
the underlying entertainment mechanisms (e.g., the nature of play, mood management,
and boundary loosening between audience and celebrity) need further research. Future
research could also further delineate the different levels of engagement for various
audience groups. Exploration of these issues and replication of this study in different
cultures may help develop a more comprehensive theoretical base for understanding brand
endorsement effects, as a central piece of a brand's advertising strategy.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This research is a part of a doctoral project on media studies in the Faculty of
Communication Sciences, Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung-Indonesia. The case study is a
part of a dissertation titled “Prambors Network Domination towards Local Radio in
Indonesia: A Critical Study of Prambors Network”. This research did not receive any specific
grants from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or non-profit sectors. The
researchers would like to express their gratitude to the reviewers.
BIODATA
Kartika Singarimbun is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Communication Sciences,
Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia. Email: kartikasingarimbun@gmail.com
Siti Karlinah is an Associate Professor in Media Studies at the Faculty of Communication
Sciences, Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia. Email: siti.karlinah@unpad.ac.id
Dadang Rahmat Hidayat is the Dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences, Universitas
Padjadjaran, Indonesia. Email: dadang.rahmat@unpad.ac.id
Yuliandre Darwis is the Chairman of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI). Email:
yuliandre.darwis@gmail.com
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Abstrak Kajian eksploratori ini bertujuan mengenalpasti faktor pendorong dan kepuasan yang diperolehi daripada penggunaan portal berita dalam kalangan belia di Malaysia menerusi tiga perbincangan kumpulan fokus dan satu forum dalam media sosial di antara bulan Mac hingga Mei 2015. Dapatan kajian mendedahkan peningkatan populariti telefon pintar merupakan penyumbang utama belia memilih untuk mengakses kepada berita dalam portal berita berbanding saluran lain seperti televisyen, akhbar dan radio. Faktor pengaruh kawan telah mendorong mereka untuk turut memiliki telefon pintar yang mana telah melahir suatu trend penggunaan media yang baharu khususnya memudahkan mereka berkongsi maklumat dan bertukar pendapat. Portal berita Bahasa Melayu dan bahasa Inggeris akhbar arus perdana merupakan pilihan utama informan. Faktor utama yang dikenalpasti mendorong belia menggunakan portal berita adalah mudah, pantas, menjimatkan kos, fleksibel, mudah diakses, mengisi masa lapang, pembelajaran, mengetahui isu-isu semasa, dan keunikan portal berita itu sendiri. Mereka berasa lebih berpuas hati dengan portal berita kerana lebih mudah dan cepat untuk memperolehi maklumat tambahan yang diingini menerusi enjin pencarian seperti Google. Ciri-ciri berita dalam portal berita yang dipautkan dengan video kejadian selain berita-berita berkaitan yang lain menjadi daya penarik kepada belia memilih portal berita di samping tabiat golongan belia yang suka berkongsi informasi yang menarik dengan rakan-rakan menerusi aplikasi seperti WhatsApp. Bagi penuntut universiti, kesukaran mengakses kepada saluran-saluran media tradisional menyumbang kepada pemilihan portal berita. Perkhidmatan wifi yang disediakan secara percuma dalam kawasan kampus untuk pelajar menjadi sebab utama pemilihan portal berita. Bagi belia yang telah bekerja pula kekangan masa menjadi pendorong utama mereka memilih portal berita. Secara keseluruhannya dapat disimpulkan tabiat pencarian dan perkongsian maklumat itu masih sama, hanya bentuk berita yang diakses telah berubah kepada pendekatan yang lebih mudah dan jimat. Kata kunci: Portal Berita, Perbincangan Kumpulan Fokus (FGD), Teori Kegunaan dan Kepuasan (U&G), Berita, & Belia Malaysia. Abstract The purpose of this exploratory study is to identify motivations and gratifications from the uses of news portals among Malaysia youths through three focus group discussions and a forum in social media that was carried out from March to May 2015. Findings reveal that the rise of the smartphones popularity has contributed tremendously to the youth's preference to access to the online news portal compare to television, newspapers, and radio. Friends' influence and the sefulness of smartphones itself has contributed to the new trend of media usage by which saw it is easier for them to share and exchange information. The Malay and English mainstream newspapers news portal are informant preference choice. The main reasons behind informants choosing the news portal are because it is easy, fast, cost-saving, flexible, easy to access, leisure time activity, education, follow current issues, and uniqueness of the news portal itself. They are satisfied with the news portal because it is faster and easier to access to the additional information when it's required through the search engine such as Google. The characteristics of the news portal itself that are linked to the video and related news emerge as the attraction to the youth beside it is easier to share the information with their friends through social media such as WhatsApp. For the university students, the difficulty of access to the traditional media in the campus encouraged them to choose news portal. The free wifi in the university also plays significant role why they prefer news portal. As for the working group, the time constraint is seen as the main factor contribute to the uses of online news. Overall it is seen that the information seeking behaviors is still there but the form of the news changed to approach that is much easier and cheaper. Keywords: News Portal, Focus Group Discussion (FGD), Uses and Gratifications Theory (U&G), Online News, & Malaysian Youths.
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