KDI TPI & Dangdut Mania

Nov 2nd, 2009, in Opinion, by

Whither dangdut mania? Financial woes of TV station TPI puts dangdut music under threat.

Dangdut Faces Disaster – TPI Down the Tube?

Having stayed up late last night to watch the tribute to Meggy Z on TPI, I am moved to comment on the merits of this seemingly doomed TV channel.

I recently had the pleasure of teaching a young lady who works for Global TV and was interested to learn from her that Global, TPI and RCTI are linked to each other within one commercial package. Each caters to a different audience, roughly categorised on social class, she said, and thus I was all the more astonished to read in the Jakarta Globe on 27/10 that TPI had been declared bankrupt.

A decision by the Central Jakarta Commercial Court to declare TPI bankrupt is cause for concern for both the television station’s employees and the country’s dangdut musicians, who receive strong support from the broadcaster. The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) said in a press release on Tuesday that the bankruptcy verdict on October 14th put TPI’s 1,083 employees in limbo.

It must have a huge audience.

Despite the silly cinetrons it shows, we watch it avidly because it offers dangdut in abundance. Other channels may not ignore Indonesia’s most popular music, but they certainly don’t give it a fair share.

TPI’s ‘KDI’, the contest to find new dangdut stars, has been good, but frequently displayed far too much dimwit comment from alleged celebrity comperes, notably a fat woman with a big mouth who appeared determined to be as contemptuous of the feelings of the young contestants as that oik Simon Cowell does on the similar programmes in the West (I try to avoid seeing the latter buffoon, but stumble on the Idol shows by accident occasionally) – Fatso’s sarky observations are overwhelmingly directed against the prettiest young lady singers, clearly motivated by jealousy, so we use her interventions as an excuse to refill the cups of kopi Jawa.

Past winner of KDI, lovely Vita

Aside from the non-singing participants, however, KDI offered a good variety of up-and-coming songsters. And the Meggie Z tribute was an excellent show, a well-deserved ode to a fine performer.

Now alas TPI is on the way out. and I’m saddened that its other partner stations have not been able to rally round and keep it afloat.

‘Goyang Sampai Basah’ on KDI

Nevertheless, according to the Globe report, “Dangdut Stars Sing the Blues Over Bankrupt TPI“, there may be hope. TPI will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. And that lovely lady Iis Dahlia says she hopes for the best in the station’s Supreme Court appeal.

I hope TPI will not go bankrupt and that the jobs of its employees can be saved. It is such a shame because TPI has such a loyal audience.

Iis added:

We are not dependent on TPI, but we are sad because TPI has accommodated dangdut and taken part in promoting dangdut in Indonesia. I wish them all the best.

I don’t pretend to understand the ins and outs of the business conflict that has brought TPI to its knees, but according to the Globe it arises from a company called Crown Capital Global Ltd, which claimed it was owed $53 million from a loan issued to the station in December 1996. The loan was due to be repaid by December 2006, but Crown took TPI to court after saying it had not received any payments.

Does anybody know any more?

30 Comments on “KDI TPI & Dangdut Mania”

  1. David says:

    I notice they dropped their old name, TPI = Televisi Pendidikan Indonesia, it became Televisi Paling Indonesia, now it seems to be “Makin Indonesia Makin Asyik Aja”, says it all really and the concerned middle class Indonesian standpoint to this is likely to be – good riddance if it does go, makes stupid people stupider.

    On their bankruptcy, seems like it will drag through the courts a while yet, this report has some details which I confess to not fully understanding.

  2. Ross says:

    Let’s hope for the best!

  3. diego says:

    Global TV and was interested to learn from her that Global, TPI and RCTI are linked to each other within one commercial package. Each caters to a different audience

    Maybe this is what the management of the broadcasting empire has in their mind:

    Let’s give them all shits. Pink-colored shits for the uppies, green shit for the middle, and brown shit for the pobres. Whatever.

  4. Ross says:

    I don’t suppose these categorisations are that different from what happens in the West.
    Seem to remember that BBC2 tried to aim its coverage at a ‘higher’ culture level than BBC1, though that may have fallen by the wayside.
    TV here can be pretty silly but from what I gather, Aussie and Brit TV with their moronic ‘reality shows,’ have pretty well reached a cultural nadir.

  5. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Seksi Mr. Ross’s Yth..

    Seeing your compassion and passion for Dangdut – I forgive you for being a Bule. What about presenting some sort of Ross-Achmad save Dangdut thread ? It could be a testament to the powers of Dangdut to heal old wounds !!

    Hidup Melly Z !

  6. Ross says:

    Ya, Achmad, why not? Flesh out a plan and we’ll see what we can do!

  7. Deta Aprilla says:

    There you go, guys….I am waiting!

  8. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Seksi Mbak/Mr. Deta Yth.,

    Am thinking, pikir dulu. Maybe some sort of manifesto – or a call to IMers to show support for TNI dangdut ? Maybe an online petition combined with sending in favorite clips, pictures and stories of dangdut singers and tales of how the Art has changed their lives ?

  9. Deta Aprilla says:

    I actually hope to see the clip of your dangdut performance, and how dangdut has changed you life……qiqiqi…

  10. donny says:

    count me in, Deta
    really wants to see Mr Achmad singing and “bergoyang ngebor”

  11. Ross says:

    This becomes an ever more intriguing tangent.

    I have posted photos of dangdut performers I’ve enjoyed, and we could resurrect them. As for a petition, yes, why not?

    Letters to newspapers are always another option, but it could be useful too if we contact whoever is the controlling parent company urging them to use the profits from the sister-channels to bale out TPI.

    Having said that, perhaps we might suggest some of the silly programmes be excised, and the whole channel devoted to dangdut. Few other channels offer much, so that would guarantee a huge 24-hour audience.

    Just a few ideas for you all to chew on!

  12. Deta Aprilla says:

    How if it’s blended with the story of how dangdut has been going through a revolution from the previously devalued, considered as lower class consumption become a more elegant music, accepted by upper class audiences and even bring Indonesian name to the world, mostly because of TPI?
    (personally I don’t like the performance of Inul and Dewi persik, can we put them aside?)

  13. Ross says:

    Sorry, Deta, I wouldn’t put Dewi P aside except in the direst of circumstances.
    Actually, your comment raises some serious issues, viz.,

    the snobbish attitude of the prosperous classes, who regard dangdut as ‘low-class’ music. …yes. the acceptance of its qualities by sections of the upper classes has allowed it an international exposure, but the music has always been good in itself and it speaks volumes about Indonesia that, not until the snooty element condescended to like it, did it make its break-through.

    I have previously compared this to the American establishment’s embrace of Country Music, which was always wonderful and represented the real America, not the East Coast upper-crust intellectuals.
    Since rich America has now largely recognised Country’s charm, it has become commercialised and is ‘in’ everywhere, but has not necessarily improved as a consequence.
    I hope dangdut does not go down the same path.

    Inul started off okay, but has become a tad ‘respectabler’ -in that word’s worst sense – butif you stray into the kampungs, or buy vcd stuff in the pasars, you’ll see the rough and ready dangdut is still thriving.

  14. David says:

    This is Farhana on youtube, she says she’s 16 and loves Dewi Persik like mad, she commented on one of my videos, here she is….

  15. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Seksi Mr. Patoengs Yth.,


    I’d like to sign ins, but not sure what e-mail address I’ve signed up with — what’s the latest one you have ?

    I want to send you and (Seksi) Mr. The Rosses a draft Save Dangdut ! (TM manifesto. I think it would be…Seksi.

    Drs. A. Sudarsono.

  16. David says:


    When you’ve got a new password and logged in go to your profile page and change your password to something you will remember.

  17. Oigal says:

    I have previously compared this to the American establishment’s embrace of Country Music, which was always wonderful and represented the real America

    Aww..come on..This is just a lure right…please say it is!

  18. Ross says:

    Oigal, you are surely used to me by now! Things you think are merely matador’s capes to provoke reactions are generally straight from the heart.

    Country and Western music prior to its degradation by such as the Dixie Chicks etc. was exemplified by fab songs, like Merle Haggard’s ‘Okie from Muskogee’ and ‘Fightin’ Side of Me.’ If you had had the privilege of enjoying a concert at Nashville’s Grand Ole Oprey, as I have had, you’d know what excellent people most Country fans are.

    Fair enough, you may not like Country, but if you don’t think it represents the real America, what sort of music does, in your opinion?

    BTW, I also like Motown.!

  19. Ross says:

    Oya, Achmad, my sympathies with your bingung condition. I hope your draft manifesto comes through soon.

  20. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Hi Pak Ross — where do you want me to send it ?

  21. Oigal says:

    Tis not the the music part of the quote Ross me ol son, but the Country Music,

    which was always wonderful and represented the real America,

    Now what if I was to say I like the blues thet does not represent real America? What is real Amercia, Texans, old pick-ups and Ol yella?

    BTW.. Being a born n bred country boy, I do listen to a bit of country music just not that USA kind too much.. Why Sh***T We have cattle stations bigger than Texas..


  22. Ross says:

    I heard an excellent Aussie Country song when I was in Melbourne some years ago. “A Lonely Goth in a Country Town.” True forlorn tale of longing, till he found a possible soul-mate in a neighbouring (by Aussie standards – several hundred miles) settlement)

    I do think there are some genres of music that reflect a nation’s soul, even some particular songs – Edith Piaf’s surely resonated France, whereas Latin American countries’ sambas and rhumbas are uniquely theirs.

    Is America a hot-potch or does its ‘melting pot’ tradition, now under attack from the Ford Foundation multi-cult industry, remain valid, in which case Country has a claim to be the real thing.

    Ayo, Achmad, let’s have the draft up front here! Your talents and mine may well be of use, but other dangdut fans on IM should be included in the project/

  23. David says:

    Achmad, you managed to log in right? So I guess just send it me via a draft post or via PM or to Ross via PM. Depends on what it’s going to be, like a post to be published or what….or a dual post…or I don’t know.

  24. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Seksi Mr. Patoengs Yth,

    Seksi Mr. Rosses,

    Pak Ross — I’ll send it you both as a draft post – I don’t believe in committee editing. For participation, people can comment on the manifesto and you two can chop and change as you please.

    Va Va Voom !

  25. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    PM is taking too long. Here’s a draft.

    [top secret!]

  26. David says:

    Aduh, so it’s a post to be published, jesus, just for future reference HERE. Upper right of this page it says “Write blog article”. Click that. But I’ll handle it from here, I hope you’ll let me insert my favourite Dandgdut Akhir Zaman videos into it. If you want to edit it here you go – http://www.indonesiamatters.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=7336

  27. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Thank you, Seksi Patoengs, but please, refer to him by his correct name of Nabi Isa.

  28. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    We ready to go boys ?

  29. David says:

    No, well I’m not, I was thinking Monday, there’ll be four posts on the following topics: dangdut, orangutans, Mbah Surip, and a book on all you ever wanted to know about Indonesia, unbeatable lineup.

  30. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Yes, concur. Keep the pace and flow going.

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