Solo’s Radio Royal Still Making Waves, 77 Years On
Solo. Today may be known as April Fool’s Day by much of the rest of the world, but the royal city of Solo believes the date holds much greater significance.
April 1 has been declared National Broadcasting Day by the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI).
But the Solo administration plans to go a step further and ask the central government to name a former ruler of Solo’s Mangkunegaran Palace, Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Aryo Sri Mangkunegoro VII, Indonesia’s Father of Broadcasting.
“On this day, 77 years ago, Mangkunegoro VII established Solosche Radio Vereeniging [SRV], the first radio station in Indonesia,” Hari Wiryawan, a member of Central Java’s provincial broadcasting commission, said on Wednesday.
Radio broadcasting in Indonesia began on April 1, 1933, Hari said, with the Javanese royal playing the broadcast at his court, making audiences scream in fear because they had never heard anything like it before.
“It was just static, something that has had listeners screaming in frustration ever since,” Hari said.
Three years later, SRV broadcast a gamelan orchestra performance live for listeners in the Netherlands.
“It was too complicated then to organize a full gamelan orchestra to be sent off to the Netherlands,” Hari said. “The live broadcast was intended to provide the background for Mangkunegoro’s daughter, who was sent to perform the Bedaya Srimpi traditional dance at a royal wedding reception at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague.
“We have submitted a proposal to Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring to name Mangkunegoro VII as the Father of Broadcasting.”
Tifatul said he welcomed the proposal and the naming of April 1 as National Broadcasting Day.
“I do not see it as a problem. Then again, I do not really know the role of Mangkunegoro VII in terms of broadcasting,” he said.
Heru Hendratmoko, chief editor of 68H news radio, said he did not support the declaration of April 1 as National Broadcasting Day because it was based solely on the fact that SRV was established on that date.
“We need to involve historians and journalists who can do a more in-depth study of this,” he said.
Heru said the establishment of a national day should prioritize the interests of the nation and consider aspects of nationhood.
“Do not repeat the same mistakes,” he said “The government had set February 9 as National Press Day based only on the formation of the Indonesian Journalists Association [PWI]. Other press organizations do not accept that.”