Is radio still relevant today?

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

Through this article, firstly I want to thank all the radio announcers who have accompanied me during my teenage era until now. From Dagienkz-Desta, TJ-Kemal, Ryo Wicaksono, Ary Kirana, Danang Darto ‘The Dandees’, until our guest star today, Cindy Lauw, and other well-known announcer names that we did not mention. Personally, I believe that radio broadcasts are not only accompanying me through Jakarta’s traffic jam, but also shaped my music tastes, my sense of humor, and my perspective about current situations.

Radio broadcasts often have a unique relationship with their listeners, even though the connection only happens through voice. For teenagers who are just growing up, radio acts like someone who understands them. For adults, radio serves as a short escape to disappear from the world. And the vital point for the broadcasts played by the radio announcer.

What is your story with the radio? Have you ever become close to someone because you share the same tastes of humor from a radio announcer? Or have you ever just wandered around and killed time by listening to your favorite songs on your favorite radio?

I once canceled a meeting with my thesis supervisor and my final research that day just to listen to the broadcast of “Desta-Gina in the Morning” from Prambors. At that time the topic of their conversation was exciting, the jokes thrown were very funny, and the music also made you lazy to get out of the car. So, I stayed in the car park and fused with their broadcast.

Our guest star, Cindy Lauw, also has a close relationship with her listeners. For example, every time Cindy posts something on Instagram, her fans often throw cheesy flirt like 'You are as beautiful as David Beckham's free-kick'. Here is a snapshot of how beautiful David Beckham’s free-kick. Cindy often responds in a friendly and funny way, because of that she successfully makes her fans feel close to her.

Today, more people slowly turn to listen to podcasts, including me. I wonder, how is the radio industry? Is radio still relevant today? Let's look at the RDPNT interview with the rising star announcer, Cindy Lauw from Trax FM Jakarta. We are very happy to have a warm convo with Cindy Lauw!

The Announcer

People know you as an announcer at Trax FM Jakarta, but actually, how do you see yourself?

Cindy Lauw (CL): I prefer to be known as a radio announcer. Because people who follow me on social media also know me as a radio announcer.

You once said that since you were chosen to be the Trax Ambassador in 2012, you already knew that your career would be in radio broadcasting. How does it feel to work according to your passion?

Yeah right, in 2012 I became Trax Ambassador. But at that time, my parents still considered it a hobby. So I entered college majoring in economics. During college, I never forgot my passion for broadcasting. That’s why, when I found a job opening at Trax FM, I went for it and the rest is history. I feel very happy about my choice because this is what I like. It turns out that my job leads to other opportunities, such as being an MC wedding, hosting a talk show, or TV artist.

What makes you love radio broadcasting?

My parents and I like to listen to the radio while in the car. We like listening to music. One day I thought, it would be amazing if my voice could be listened to by many people in Jakarta, even the whole of Indonesia. In addition, I also do not need to do makeup as if I were an artist on TV.

Why do you prefer to become a radio announcer rather than being on TV or become a news anchor?

I don't really like talking about politics and heavy stuff. So, radio and music are comfortable places for me.

As an announcer, of course, you are also actively listening to the radio. Who is your idol in the world of radio broadcasting?

I really idolized Ankatama Ruyatna, Dewi Hanafi, and Ryo Wicaksono 'BKR Brothers'. Since I first entered the broadcasting world, I learned a lot from them. I like their voices and the way they broadcast.

"In the past, listeners did not care much about the lives of their favorite announcers outside broadcast hours. However, now the interaction continues through social media."

During large scale social distancing (PSBB), were there any changes to the way you broadcast?

I broadcast from home every Monday to Friday from 1 to 4 PM. There are pros and cons. I don't have to leave the house and dress up neatly, but I’m getting a little bored because I usually can look at the view from where I'm broadcasting.

But this PSBB made me explore many new things. I started to learn to play the guitar and doing live on Instagram.

You are one of the rising stars in the broadcasting world in Indonesia. It also has an impact on increasing the number of followers on your social media. What has changed about you?

In the past, listeners did not care much about the lives of their favorite announcers outside broadcast hours. However, now the interaction continues through social media.

But I don't feel any significant change in me. From the beginning, I've posted what I want to post. The only difference is that now many followers are often asking my opinion about the latest issues.

How do you respond? Do you feel you have moral responsibilities as an influencer too?

I am more comfortable voicing the things that I understand well or to announce public awareness such as news about PSBB and COVID-19. I believe everyone must have their own specialty, so I don’t want to just ride the waves. For topics that I don't understand, I'd better not comment.

Have you ever slip tongue and had a negative impact on yourself during broadcasting?

Once, not a big deal, just a misunderstanding between me and football fans in Jakarta. At that time they were celebrating the winning of their favorite team. Lots of people were convoying on the streets. At that time, I appealed to the public to avoid the streets to avoid congestion. But the fans thought that I called them troublemakers. Whereas, I was just trying to give information about traffic. Maybe my way of saying isn't quite right but that’s it. Now it’s over and I really don’t like conflicts.

By the way, many of your followers on Instagram often throw cheesy flirting at you. Some people might be uncomfortable with that. But why do you respond so casually?

I think that is a form of attention to me. The fact that they have to think of words to say when they comment on other people's accounts they don’t even know. I think that requires effort and time, and they amused me. Luckily, I have followers who give a positive aura and their behavior is very entertaining, so I reposted their content as an appreciation for them.

However, for comments that lead to physical or sexual harassment, I will immediately block them.

How big are career opportunities for women in the broadcasting world?

Oh, it’s wide open! Women have their own uniqueness and special places in the broadcasting world. From public relations, human resources, account executives, announcers, marketers, to music directors all have a female role. So the opportunity is ranging and wide open.

In fact, women have a wider broadcast topic range. For example, if you are a young unmarried woman, you can connect to young people. After marriage, you can relate to a different group of people, like talking about family, career, or parenting.

"The fact that they have to think of words to say when they comment on other people's accounts they don’t even know. I think that requires effort and time, and they amused me."

About Radio & Podcast

Radio plays a big role in shaping someone’s personality, musical taste, and sense of humor in people. What do you think?

Each radio certainly has its own characteristics and target markets. Maybe that's why radio can shape people's music tastes. The music they often listen to is the music we play on the radio. And vice versa. The music that we play on the radio will eventually be liked by them.

How do you determine the songs to be played when broadcasting?

We have a music director who will determine the playlist. Before on-air, radio announcers must study the songs, starting from the singer, the lyrics, or the tone. Especially if there is a new song launched by a famous singer.

Also when arranging the playlist, usually the music director has to pay attention to the arrangement of the singers. For example, after playing songs from soloists, we will play songs from certain bands. Or if previously it is a song from a male singer, then the next song comes from a female singer.

Does the broadcast hour determine the theme the announcer will talk about?

Of course, broadcast hours are very important. Like when in prime time (morning or evening), announcers will interact more with listeners. Because most listeners are on the road and stuck in traffic. For day and night, announcers will play more songs so that listeners can still focus on their work.

In choosing songs to be played, does radio have more role to make music trends or just follow the music that is being played often?

We do both. There are 2 types of radio, trend follower, or trend maker. When a new musician releases a song and we feel the music is good and in line with the characteristics of our radio, we will play it. However, we also follow the kind of music that is being liked by the public.

What is the condition of the radio in 2020?

Like most businesses in general, COVID-19 has a major impact on the radio industry. Our income is clearly decreasing. Ramadan’s moment usually becomes a source of profit because many brands will promote their products on the radio. However, this time the target was not reached. Hopefully, COVID-19 ends soon.

Many people began to actively listen to Podcasts. What do you think? Does this phenomenon make radio fans switch to Podcasts?

The podcast is a new wave in the current era, as the EDM music circa 2010-2013. However, that doesn't mean you don't listen to the radio anymore. Like even though you listen to EDM music, you’ll still listen to pop or rock music too.

Podcasts and radio are not competitive because they have different characteristics of listeners. Podcasts usually have a longer duration so it is more suitable to accompany a long-distance trip. Meanwhile, if the trips are short distances and people want to stay entertained, they will prefer to listen to the radio.

However, we also have to keep up with the changes. So, Trax also makes Podcasts that we use to rerun the broadcast or promote our products.

"The podcast is a new wave in the current era, as the EDM music circa 2010-2013. However, that doesn't mean you don't listen to the radio anymore."

What has the radio provided for you as an announcer?

The experience of being a radio announcer opens doors for other career opportunities. Now, I am also an active MC wedding and host. I get chances to explore the broadcasting world and enjoy my passion. This experience also lets me expand my networks, like meeting artists and bands. Radio also taught me to be loyal to one place. The negative side, I feel this routine is a bit monotonous when compared to other friends who often change their careers.

What is your biggest achievement as a radio announcer?

Because of radio broadcasts, I once got a job as an mc for the world cup in a mall for one full month. Even though at that time I didn't understand football at all. In addition, I also get a chance to interview many famous musicians in the country like Raissa. That kind of new experience is very challenging for me and I want to cherish every kind of challenge that awaits me in the future.

This interview with Cindy Lauw makes me feel nostalgic about the times when I actively listened to the radio every day. We hope your career will also be as beautiful as David Beckham’s career!

Words : Arya Dharmaputra (@dharmaputra_arya)

Editor : Giovana Briggitte (@giovanabriggitte)

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