A new connector hits Sabah airwaves

Kupikupifm: (from left) Velvet, Greg, Niz, Lester, Queenera and Janrywine posing for the camera.

Kupikupifm: (from left) Velvet, Greg, Niz, Lester, Queenera and Janrywine posing for the camera.

With the tagline, ‘It is ours too’, Kupikupifm has big plans to expand its transmission to the peninsula and beyond.

HI! Saya Marsha Milan Londoh. Jangan lupa dengar lagu-lagu orang kita yang shiok. Hanya di Kupikupifm di 96.3. Kita-kita juga baini. (Hi! I’m Marsha Milan Londoh. Don’t forget to listen to songs by our people that are awesome. Only on Kupikupifm on 96.3. It is ours too.),” said the Sabah-born singer in a recording to promote the radio station.

Kita-kita juga baini is the tagline of Sabah’s latest radio station Kupikupifm that was officially launched in Kota Kinabalu on Jan 28. The station is located at KK Times Square, overlooking the KK bay area. (Sabahans fondly call their capital KK.)

As a Sabahan, I was excited and curious about a radio station that spoke like me with its radio DJs using Sabah slang on air. And also kita-kita juga baini as – not that I own any shares – I feel that the radio station will become part of my state’s popular culture.

The idea behind Kupikupifm, according to its programme manager Lester Calvin Miol, is to be the connector for Sabahans.

“It is to connect the people living in the remote areas of Sabah to their relatives/friends who have moved to cities like Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru and even Singapore,” said Lester, in an email. “With the purpose of making them feel part of home in their hearts and minds while living overseas.”

Currently, the radio station’s transmission is limited to the west coast of Sabah. Eventually, it will build a social media platform where it will be able to reach audiences beyond its Kota Belud to Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Penyu transmission.

“Kupikupifm – why the name?” I asked.

“We wanted a name that the locals can easily relate to.

“We found Kupikupi to be the name that resonated most with us and it’s a common word used by locals. It paints a picture of being laid back, relaxed and cheerful,” said Lester.

Also – and this is my personal opinion – Sabahans are famous for their long and frequent coffee sessions in a day. There’s even a local song called Kupi Dulu by Marcel Gatisi about our coffee break culture.

The song starts with kupi-kupi dulu sebelum mulai karaja (drink coffee first before starting your work).

One of the first milestones Kupikupifm would like to achieve, according to Lester, is to introduce local songs and music for its listeners to appreciate.

“Whether it is purely instrumental, traditional, classical or even more recent songs, a fusion of Chinese and Dusun/Bahasa seems to be all the craze at the moment in Sabah.

“While we have abundant talent, it has always been a challenge to make local music palatable to the world outside of Sabah. This music that is so unique to Sabah needs proper support and promotion. We want to make music that Indonesians and Filipinos will enjoy. This will open up an entirely new market for us instead of just the small population of Sabah,” he said.

Lester added: “Next, we would like to connect the people working in Peninsular Malaysia with their loved ones back in Sabah. We are actively looking for sponsors who would like to promote the connectivity among Sabahans in the peninsula, and we hope to extend this to Singapore.

“We are now working on the online streaming/podcast as well as an app to allow people to listen to Kupikupifm on their handsets.”

Kupikupifm is also involved in community work such as installing fresh water tanks together with the Royal Military College alumni in five villages in Ranau in February.

“What’s Kupikupifm’s selling point?” I asked.

“We believe that the right time to enter Sabah is now when the economy is slowing down. And before it becomes too expensive to make an entry. Smart businesses that want to have a foothold in the state should do it earlier,” Lester said.

“Kupikupifm has a database that is distinctive in a place like Sabah, which many marketers still do not understand.

“We see Kupikupifm as a profit-making organisation that has a value system of caring for and sharing with the very community it serves. We must ensure that we carry out meaningful projects that benefit the targeted community and be able to continue in a sustainable manner for many years to come.”

Kupikupifm, said Lester, wants to position itself as the trust agent to connect multinational corporations, public listed companies and government-linked companies, as well as government agencies and international foundations/agencies in carrying out programmes that will help stakeholders build long-term brand relations with the target audience while selling their products in a responsible and ethical manner.

“For local players such as local coffee makers, manufacturers and F&B outlets, Kupikupifm hopes to be the connector to help them expand their brand with their target market.

“They will enjoy special rates for their advertisements as they are local,” he said.

The announcers – Niz and Greg (BangunBogiaKinabalu), Nera (Ki Ki Bah), Janrywine J. Lusin (Macam D KK) and Velvet (Steady KoGeng) – spice up their announcements with Sabahan slang.

“We want to be able to communicate effectively. The language we use must be accessible and easily understood by all communities in order for all of us to connect. There’s no point using a language that excludes a portion of the population,” said Lester.

Here are the radio station’s top 10 most used slang terms.

> Kita Kita Juga Baini: This is ours

> Odoi Dogo: Oh my god

> Kehaa!: Yes!

> Bah Maciam?: So how?

> Tobinai: Brother

> Kupi kupi dulu: Let’s have coffee

> Atukoi!: Wow!

> Rukut rukut: Let’s do a collection

> Sumandak talawa: Pretty girl

> Mansau ansau: Let’s chill out

I can’t wait for the radio station to launch an app so I can listen to it in Subang Jaya.

Bah kamurang sokong Kupikupifm. Kita kita juga baini. (Bah you all support Kupikupifm. It is ours too).

Philip Golingai , columnist