Humidity, traffic jams, and Indonesia's best Es Kelapa Mudah (Young Iced Coconut drink) define Surabaya, at least for me. It's the provincial capital of East Java with some 4 million residents, and is both a major maritime port and important airport connection. Walking or driving around this city is like being in New York City of Paris, especially during rush-hour, and its central business district (home to RRI Surabaya) is massive.
I came to Surabaya with my friends from Muhammadiyah University Malang's English Economics Club to take a tour of the U.S. Consulate (which got a molotov cocktail thrown into the compound a few days after our visit!) Once we had finished, we drove to Jalan Pemuda - the home of RRI Surabaya.
The station sits in a four-story building right on the main thoroughfare and was practically deserted when we walked through the entrance. After standing around for what seemed like an eternity, a guard came up and asked what business we had there. I explained that I was an American ham radio operator and wanted to look around to get a sense of what their studios are like, but he didn't seem to be impressed. So we gave him a box of clove cigarettes and magically he pointed towards a wooden staircase and let us go up unsupervised. Ahh... Uang rokok!
Once upstairs, we wandered around
until we came upon a few engineers smoking cloves in a hallway. It was
there that I was told that their SW transmitters burned in a fire in 1993
and that they didn't expect to return to SW unless a major foreign donation
was made to upgrade the facilities.
And then in December 1997, reports began to surface of RRI Surabaya broadcasting on 3985 kHz...
Here we are posing in front of the grande building.
A Live Children's Show