For those stuck twirling the dial during smoggy commutes, Green Radio is a breath of fresh air for those who like their news mixed with a daily dose of environmental responsibility.
Broadcasting on 89.2-FM, Green Radio is the only news station in Jakarta whose main focus is educating listeners about the big and small changes they can make to benefit the environment.
“Green Radio was inspired by the floods in 2007 that left more than 70 percent of the Jakarta area drowned,” said Santosa, the station’s managing director. “There must be something wrong with the environment, so one day I came up with an idea to change our previous station, Radio Utan Kayu, which focused on more general issues, to Green Radio.”
The station’s tag line is “The eco-lifestyle of Jakarta,” and Santosa said more than 200,000 people tune in daily across Greater Jakarta to listen to news, environmental reports and discussions.
And the small station’s influence extends beyond the reach of its radio transmitters. Besides broadcasting a message urging environmental consciousness, Green Radio has also spearheaded programs aimed at getting their audience actively involved. “Green Radio has on-air activities and also off-air activities because we want to encourage the public, through our listeners, to get involved to save the planet and help to avoid floods in Jakarta such as the 2007 flood,” Santosa said.
And it isn’t all just talk. From day one, Green Radio has used solar panels to power its 18-hour broadcast day.
“I decided to use solar panels because they are very environmentally friendly and use an unlimited natural resource: the sun,” Santosa said.
So far, Green Radio has organized three initiatives: the Friends of the Forest tree adoption campaign at Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park, a clean-up of the area around Monas in June and a biopore creation workshop. Biopores are small holes drilled in the ground to decrease flooding.
Green Radio collaborates with private sector and government organizations as well as members of its audience, Santosa said, adding that the station has had more than 2000 individual participants take part in its greening programs.
Through its Friends of the Forest adoption program, individuals and organizations donate Rp 108,000 ($12) to have a tree planted in a deforested area in Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park in West Java. Green Radio has collected enough money to plant 7,031 trees in a 10-hectare area over the last 18 months, decreasing soil erosion at the farms that line the park’s borders.
“We’ve already got 15 big organizations and 300 individual adopters,” Santosa said. The program was created in partnership with the park and Conservation International Indonesia.
He added that the program was also helping reclaim parts of the forest from local farmers who use the park to plant crops, and trains those farmers for new careers in eco-tourism. At a cost of Rp 290,000 per person for two days and one night, the tour provides lodgings in a campground or tree house, five meals, guides, porters and the planting of a tree.
“The income goes to local farmers who help us organize the eco-tours. They prepare the food and act as forest guides and porters.” Santosa said, adding that some farmers were also given goats, rabbits and honeybees to breed.
In addition to Friends of the Forest, Green Radio has also developed a biopore program, active since July 2009.
“The biopore program is a regular training program that teaches people how to make small holes [in the ground] for water absorption. They can absorb more water in the rainy season and also can be used to produce compost.” Santosa said.
Each biopore is designed with a 10-centimeter opening and with a depth of one meter.
Through partnership with the Body Shop retail chain and Mall Ciputra, Green Radio’s program has been responsible for the creation of 1,500 biopores across Jakarta.
“We are working together with these caring communities to help reach the government’s goal of creating one million biopores,” Santosa said. “Hopefully, these biopores will help us to avoid another big flood like the Jakarta flood in 2007.”