This profile was prepared when Tosca Santoso was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Tosca designed a national public radio network that he envisions as a “partner” in democratizing Indonesia. The news agency produces meaningful programs for broadcast by local member stations, most of which are small community-run operations, to encourage dialogue between citizens across Indonesia. Tosca’s radio network, KBR 68H, is changing the way local radio stations serve their audiences. Tosca brought together local entertainment-based radio stations and introduced them to the concept of radio journalism. Now, they develop high-quality programs that serve the needs and interests of their listeners as well as train local professional radio journalists. Tosca has broadened the type of content produced by radio stations to cover issues of local as well as national interest. Even the most sensitive issues, such as religious tolerance and pluralism, can now be discussed openly through an interactive program of public debate. The investment cost of building the infrastructure for radio journalism in Indonesia is relatively inexpensive compared to print and television media, given that radio can reach almost 80 percent of the population. Tosca recognizes that a rapidly changing society like Indonesia needs a fast and responsive communication medium. Therefore, he provides his clients in the radio news industry with access to satellite-based internet technology. This simple, low-cost strategy has enabled radio stations to serve their listeners much faster and to significantly increase their coverage areas. Tosca is now ready to propose a nation-wide market of radio stations and introduce exciting opportunities for advertising revenue for local stations that will help ensure the development and sustainability of the radio journalism industry.