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Voice on the radio

Got the gift of the gab and love performing? You might be a popular RJ in the making, says Joydeepa Sarma

education Updated: May 23, 2012 11:35 IST
Joydeepa Sarma
Joydeepa Sarma
Hindustan Times

This is a career where only passion can take you ahead.” It’s something RJ Anurag Pandey believes in fervently, and has proved it too. From being a child artist on All India Radio (AIR) when he was in class XI, Pandey has come a long way, with a career spanning almost 15 years. “I was passionate about being on the radio, and it’s only my determination that has helped me reach where I am today,” says this RJ with Fever 104 FM in Mumbai. Originally from Madhya Pradesh, Pandey shifted to Mumbai after completing his BSc programme and joined AIR. From there, he moved to Radio Channel 4 in Dubai. In 2002, he returned to join Win 94.6 in Mumbai, and wowed the listeners of Red FM 93.5.

But success did not come easy to Pandey. A conservative family with a doctor father meant he was expected to carry the torch forward. However, Pandey did not make it to medical college. “It was only after much persuasion from my family that I decided to go for my BSc,” he recounts.

Pandey, however, does not believe that studies are vital for an RJ, although a professional course does help. “Talent, hard work and determination are more essential,” he says. “I was paid Rs 500 a month and had to work for eight hours at AIR. But since it was not about the money for me and more about passion, I enjoyed my job,” he adds.

Pandey dispels common notions that an RJ’s job is all about fun and glamour. “I watch as many news channels as possible while working out every morning, and use my travelling time to read around 16 newspapers, in different languages.”

Tuhinanshu Chatterjee an RJ at Fever 104, Delhi, was made to do shows at erratic hours, like at four am or one am. In five months, he made it to the prime time slot.

With inputs from Vimal Chander Joshi, Delhi

A radio jockey’s (RJ) job profile includes selecting music, scripting and presenting radio shows. An RJ does voice-overs for TV, radio advertisements and lends his/her voice to audio magazines and documentaries. RJs also anchor or compere TV or live shows, or events. They write scripts for shows

7 am: Wake up
7.30-9 am: Work out at the gym, watch the news
9.30 am: Leave for work, read newspapers on the way
11 am: Go live on air
Till 2 pm: Show continues
2-6 pm: Attend studio meetings, discuss next day’s programme, plan for it
8 pm-12 midnight: Do voice-overs, if required work for stage shows, etc
12.30 am: Leave for home

At the entry level, a radio jockey can start with a pay of around Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 a month.
The pay increases according to your job profile and experience.
Senior RJs make around Rs 1.5 lakh-Rs 2 lakh a month

n Ability to talk impromptu on any subject
n Presence of mind
n Good knowledge of various fields — news, music, films, etc
n Curiosity to learn more
n Good general knowledge and awareness
n Familiarity with sound equipment and computers

Though there is no specific education path to become an RJ, there are now several courses you can do to pick up the skills required to be one. It’s also advisable to pursue a study programme for better understanding of the profession and its technicalities.
Students from any stream can opt for courses at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, but s/he must be passionate about the job

n Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi
n Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai
n The Radio School, Mumbai
n EMDI, Mumbai
n Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
n University of Carbondale
n University of Cardiff

n The job is a fusion of performing arts and music
n There’s a sense of mystery about an RJ, which keeps listeners hooked and wondering how s/he looks like, etc
n Audience connect is on a more personal level as the listeners are more at ease since they can remain anonymous
n Not paid as much as TV artists
n Long work hours

The radio industry is really taking off

Meet the man who is India’s first radio jockey to broadcast live on FM radio

Hrishi. K, 33, has been ruling the airwaves for quite some time now. He was the winner of the RAPA (Radio & TV Advertising Practitioners’ Association) award as the best radio jockey in India in 2008. Besides, he has the distinction of being India’s first radio jockey to broadcast live on FM radio (a feat chronicled in the Limca Book of Records).

How is the radio industry doing today, both in India and abroad?
The radio industry is really taking off. In India though, the industry is still to mature completely as there is no news broadcast on any FM channel. Once the government gives licences to broadcast news on private channels, there will be a lot of players in the industry.

Is it easy to find jobs in this industry?
As the radio industry has finally opened up, there is amazing career scope today for people who want to take up radio jockeying as a profession. In any field, the more the competition, the better it gets. And the same goes for radio too. So if one has the potential, it should not be too difficult landing a good job.

How important is it to get professional training before coming into the industry?
Professional training in the field one wants to make a career in always holds one in good stead. Of course, the most important things are having the passion to stick to the job and willing to put in whatever it takes. But some amount of education in the field would give students a much better understanding of the profession and its requirements.

The toughest part of the job?
Sometimes there can be technical glitches while on air. Also, at times there are awkward moments when the caller or listener uses an offensive word and we are not able to erase it on time. Apart from that, an RJ gets very little time to relax as unlike TV, radio is not
seasonal. One has to be on air for long periods of time together.

Your advice to new entrants in the field?
Do not use this profession as a stepping-stone to get into television. Come into the profession only if you are deeply passionate about being on radio. The radio is a beautiful medium by itself. Also, many people try to get into it only to become famous, but remember that it can never happen unless you are completely in tune with music and news.

First Published: Jul 21, 2009 14:14 IST