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On 6 November 1988, state broadcaster TVRI lost its monopoly when the government’s sixth 4-year plan allowed private television stations to begin broadcasting. RCTI was officially inaugurated on the morning of 24 August 1989 by President Soeharto as Indonesia’s first privately owned commercial broadcasting terrestrial television network. Evening programming was launched by Minister of Information Harmoko. It initially broadcast to the Jakarta area from Jabodetabek as a local pay television channel and was awarded a nationwide license one year later. It now has 48 relay stations around Indonesia and reaches 180 million viewers. It is 100 percent owned by PT Media Nusantara Citra (MNC), which also owns Global TV and 75 percent of MNCTV, both private Indonesian television stations.
Local station (6 November 1988 – 23 August 1989)
Transmission hours are 5:30 am to 10:30 pm daily and during Ramadhan it plays a national anthem (sign-off) and patriotic anthem (sign-off).
The flagship news program is Seputar Indonesia, which has morning, lunchtime, evening and late night editions. RCTI also broadcasts quiz shows, including the Indonesian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, which ran from 2001 to 2006. Cartoon shows include Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan.
RCTI only shows Maghrib prayer in some cities, including Jakarta and Bandung. Some RCTI stations show local programming. For example, in Surabaya, RCTI shows Seputar Jatim, while in Bandung, RCTI shows Seputar Jabar, the Palembang station shows Seputar Sumsel, the Batam station shows Seputar Kepri and the Medan station shows Seputar Sumut. They are mostly shown during the two closing segments of Seputar Indonesia Pagi (05:45 – 06:15/06:30 WIB).
RCTI is available as a free-to-air channel in East Timor, but only in Dili and other cities such as Ermera and Baucau. RCTI is also available in Malaysia as a free-to-air channel in Johor Bahru, and in Singapore as a free-to-air channel by using antenna. RCTI is the only Indonesian free-to-air TV channel to be broadcast free-to-air outside Indonesia. Indonesian drama series like Bunga di Tepi Jalan, Bintang, Liontin and Pernikahan Dini currently air on Astro Aruna, a channel on the Singaporean SingTel mio TV 24 Hours IPTV Pay TV Service, but these were broadcast on RCTI on 2001, 2005 and 2006 respectively.