TEMPO.CO, Jakarta- "Sorry, for waiting a while," said Wishnutama Kusubandjo at the Net. Television office in early January. Wishnu was late for two hours due to a five-hour nonstop meeting. This father of four always attends production meetings because, according to him, the TV station established in 2013 needs to be monitored constantly.
Tama—his nickname—wore a black-collared T-shirt with khaki-colored jeans. "I'm always casual when I'm working," he said while putting on his jacket hanged beside his desk to look a bit formal before his guests.
While snacking on a few fresh apples, the man who has quit on eating fries and rice shared his stories about the television business to Tempo's reporters Mitra Tarigan, Dianing Sari, and photographer Aditia Noviasyah in an interview.
How do you get inspirations?
I have been inspired by inventors, such as Thomas Alva Edison and Steve Jobs. Although they finally talked business in relation to the electricity and Apple, but their works are more than products that were useful for the humanity, as my mother told me.
How do you find talents for your television shows?
I know a few talents who can realize my dreams and eventually have asked them to join. I have a team who also shares my dreams. Most of them know me very well. They have been working in media, so they are familiar with my characters and my dreams.
How do you formulate your shows?
We've heard a lot of bad news about Indonesia, but they should not be exaggerated. I don't want people watch the morning news and comment: 'There is no hope for this country'. It could be seen negatively by the investors. What if our audiences were unwilling to go on with their lives? Can you imagine that?
What are the challenges in this business?
Rating. Working in a TV station is all about the rating. Unfortunately, our programs' success is measured by the rating. It takes energy, efforts, patience, and passion to compete with long-existing TV stations. But, we can't just think about the rating without considering the values. And it's not easy. It's more than difficult.
If you had to choose between the rating and the value, which one would you choose?
If we talk about the rating, we talk about commercial value. But I'm confident that a program with a good value will obtain a good rating. I've been there before.
In your opinion, how strong is the impact of televisions compared to other media?
Amazingly stronger [than other media]. Televisions can change styles, cultures, and our mindsets. There are audio and visual. The impact to our brain is huge.
When do you think televisions in Indonesia can synergize the value and the commerciality?
It won't take long—about a year or two. Our people are getting smarter. If the television shows can’t keep up with the [development of] people's intellect, they will be abandoned. The United States had been there. The audiences loved humiliating and physical jokes. But they eventually they were abandoned by the audiences. We will pass this era. If the audiences were getting smarter, they would want not only entertaining shows, but also shows that offer better value.
What do you think about the education value in Indonesia's television?
Education and entertainment should not be segregated. They must go hand in hand. Educating people is more effective by entertaining. At schools, we learned better from teachers who were fun, than from strict ones. Therefore, through television, we can deliver education with a concert style, so it will be entertaining.
What do you think about figures who strive for popularity in their own televisions?
People are different. Who knows that they would want to be like Silvio Berlusconi, an owner of a television station who became the Italian Prime Minister. For me, as a broadcaster, I have responsibilities to the public. The frequency that I use [for broadcasting] belongs to the public. I don’t want to be like them. (*)