Berisik Radio: Airing the obscurest of them all
Andreas D. Arditya
The Jakarta Post
On the surface, Internet radio station Berisik Radio may seem to only cater to hipsters through its choice of only the obscurest of obscure bands ' but the station's founder's underlying intent is benevolent: to give bands exposure.
Founded in December 2009, Berisik Radio (Noisy Radio) streams through the website berisikradio.com. The station, which will celebrate its four-year anniversary in just a few months, has pledged to stick to its main purpose no matter what.
'We started as nobodies trying to give other nobodies a chance to be heard. This is place to learn and a place to share,' said founder Rudyanto, or more famous by his moniker Rudee Page.
Rudee said there were many good bands out there that made great music without access to a big audience. 'We like giving them a stage ' we like getting them heard,' he says.
While airing songs by no-name bands, Berisik Radio has also become a webzine for the indie circuit by posting news about the latest in underground music.
As years have passed, the station has admittedly seen a decrease in the number of streaming radios and webzines began out there, as many have been completely shut down or sold.
'It is an only too real situation with the indie scene. Many started their projects for no other reason besides to have fun but as what happens so often, things evolve and they reconsider keeping their pet projects,' he says.
'It's actually sad seeing them go. We grew and worked together.'
Berisik Radio started in Rudee's bedroom while looking for alternative ways to enjoy music after the band he had been playing with for a few years had just been dissolved.
'I always loved listening to radio; I have a radio that is on 24/7. I later found about radio streaming while surfing the Internet and immediately became interested,' he said.
Rudee then worked on establishing a radio station with childhood friends Aldy 'Keith' Fauzal and Hariyadi.
In October 2009, Rudee installed Internet connection in his home and started building the radio website using only a laptop and crude audio equipment.
'The three of us worked together writing the program, designing the website and creating content for the webzine,' said the man, who studied information technology in college.
A couple of months later, the three of them decided to take the jump and chipped in to buy a domain name and to rent a web server, which cost them a total Rp 7 million (US$616). They did not expect to get any returns.
The crackling and humming sounds that their broadcast made then lent the name to the station.
'We then went to every social media outlet to ask our friends, those on campus, those from junior and senior high schools and everybody we could contact, to listen to our broadcast.'
The trio also intensively tried to connect other people in the indie scene from across the archipelago, building a network to learn and share everything about the underground music world.
'We played demos and singles from any band we thought was worth listening to and whose songs we cold get our hands on,' Rudee said.
A year later, Berisik Radio gained a following and recognition; they did not need to look for demos anymore as CDs came flooding in. They also invited guest DJs for broadcast sessions.
'Guest DJs can be anybody: fans, musicians, music critics, filmmakers. They can broadcast their show from their respective bedrooms in Yogyakarta, Riau, even Japan,' he said. Broadcasters only need a laptop, Internet and a simple microphone to get their show going.
In 2011, the radio recruited more personnel and widened their coverage by cooperating with gigs and festival organizers to broadcast live events.
'One time we broadcasted a festival for three days straight. It was crazy, but we loved it,' Rudee said.
All the radio personnel have a day job but spend most of their time maintaining the station. Among the people behind the station are event organizers, private company employees and a civil servant.
Adrian, one of the current personnel, said they needed to constantly work on the radio to keep it alive.
'I don't think there's any other way. I guess that's why many of our scenesters decided to call it quits,' said the 28-year-old.
Adrian covers, takes photographs and writes articles on events and gigs for the radio webzine, juggling his responsibilities with his day job as a freelance photographer.
'We want continue to give a stage for unknown musicians, for as long as we can,' Rudee said.
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