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7th ABU Radio Asia conference in Jakarta opens with record participation

Speaking to more than 250 delegates at the conference opening, ABU Secretary General Dr Javad Mottaghi called on the industry to “look to the latest ideas to continue to be sustainable and influential in [the Asia Pacific] region”, reports Steve Ahearn.

Host broadcaster Radio Republik Indonesia’s President Niken Widiastuti said broadcasters must demonstrate both the ability to deliver creative content and the ability to deliver it on many platforms.”

Opening the conference, the Indonesian Communications Minister explained the impact of media in his country: “Indonesia has 230 million people spread across an archipelago of over 2 million sq kilometers. Communications infrastructure across our country is a challenge.”

Indonesia is currently rolling out a fibre optic backbone to major islands, but the nature of the country makes that a difficult task and means that radio is still an extremely important medium throughout the country. Indonesia has its national broadcaster, RRI, plus community stations and 1250 private commercial broadcasting companies.

“The challenge for radio in the information age is to continue to deliver content with substance, across a range of platforms due to this age of convergence. With new radio you can download, discuss and connect,” said the Minister.

Indonesia has chosen DAB as the national digital standard for the country’s switch to digital. Digital radio is considered a solution to the high demand for FM channels, because it will make more channels available for new and existing licensees. 

Three workshops were held during the first day of the conference. 

Mike Adams from the UK’s Rapid Response Radio Unit  shared important information on how to handle emergencies in his morning workshop titled Rapid Response Radio: Life Saving Information in Disaster.

Steve Ahern, from the International Media & Broadcast Academy  held a workshop for program directors and managers on how to get the best from their staff. In most countries in the region, regular air checking is not common, so Ahern showed workshops delegates how best to deliver airchecks. He encouraged managers to give clear guidelines for their personalities’ public profiles, especially in social media. 

Madanmohan Rao, Research Advisor with the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) conducted a workshop focused on the impact of social media on radio, designing hybrid “social radio” forms of media with traditional and digital communication in a session titled Social Media: Leveraging Online Communities for Radio.