If things like music programming, scripting, presenting radio shows, radio advertisements and lending voice to audio magazines and documentaries seem interesting to you, a career as a radio jockey (RJ) is something you can consider.
Radio is not only the fastest growing but also a very popular segment in the media sector today. Thanks to the various innovative approaches of the new channels that have entered the scenario in recent times, the popularity of radio is at an all-time high. RJs who run the shows are celebrities in their own right. Take for example our very own Shakuntala Bharne and Alfie of FM Rainbow, Ayesha Barretto of Radio Indigo and Uday Chari of Big FM, whose voices have charmed us over the years and kept us informed and entertained.
Radio jockeying is one of the most hip and happening career options for today’s youngsters. So, read ahead to know how you can ‘stay tuned’.
From the time of its inception, radio has been a powerful medium people depended on and even now, radio holds its forte primarily because of the content and how the RJ presents it that keeps it fresh. RJs have at their disposal, their voice but have to put in a great deal of effort to make sure they don’t lose their audience.
“Unlike other mediums, radio has a local flavour where the jockey is the face of the brand and is shouldered with social responsibilities. This platform came into existence way before television and internet. People still consider it genuine and have faith in it. Another aspect that makes radio strike a chord with the listeners is that it is interactive and easily approachable,” says Alfie.
A radio jockey, besides having a clear voice has to be in tune with the latest trends and genres of music and keep the audience engaged. “A jockey should be well informed not just about music but also about other art forms, sports, technology, and such,” adds Shakuntala. “To be acquainted with the latest in music is second nature to RJs. While we stay away from religious and political matters, RJs need to hold the listeners’ attention with engaging topics.”
It is not all sweet talk that makes an RJ; there is a lot of hard work involved as well. Over time the role of an RJ has evolved and today they talk, share, and emote. Their job includes music programming, scripting, presenting radio shows, radio advertisements and often lending voice to audio magazines and documentaries. “In the old days, announcers would talk or address a large number of people but now it is more one-to-one communication and connection with the audience,” says Ayesha.
What does it take to be an RJ?
According to Alfie, to be an RJ takes passion for music, an outgoing personality and varied interests besides a good voice and a command over the language in which one is communicating. The consensus is that to be a good RJ what is required is your style, your personality, and how you communicate with your listeners. Uday believes that an RJ should also have the ability to make the listener comfortable. “An RJ needs to be like a friend to the listener and above all he/she should have the ability to simplify the most complicated thing or concepts. The idea is to give listeners regular updates on various topics in a capsule form with a dash of fun, satire, and music,” he says.
“This job helps you express yourself, keeps you on your toes, pushes you to come up with new ideas, innovate, create, learn and most importantly, it allows you to connect with thousands of listeners who, sitting in some remote corner, consider you as their friend,” adds Shakuntala.
Preparation is a key element for the smooth running of a show, and besides following the systems put into place Ayesha is of the opinion that keeping abreast of current events not just locally but also generally is extremely important. “There is an official process put in place from station to station to prepare for a show and it’s normally done with the programming head and producer. But on a more personal note, I just read everything I can get my eyes on – from celebrity gossip to breaking news and even the most random publicised reads, I read it all. It will come in handy sometime or the other!”
And it’s not the voice itself that makes a good RJ, but how it is presented, stresses Alfie. “A person with just a great voice could easily make a fool of himself/herself if the voice is not backed by quality content,” he states.
Shakuntala also feels that it is important to sound fun, lively, and confident. She strongly objects to people who brush off RJs as being mindless chatterboxes. “Your voice is carrying a three-hour show. That speaks a lot about you, your creativity, and talent. We try and deliver to the public what they want without sounding boring and going over the top,” she says.
The RJs further state that there is a lot of creative freedom in this profession and little room for restrictions. Unlike other media, in radio, you’re not kept on a tight leash. You can take a completely random topic and run with it. You are consistently experimenting and coming up with ideas to interact with your audience. And while being an RJ is fun, there is a lot of hard work as well.
“There is a lot of on-the-job training, technical and otherwise – from voice modulation, learning how to operate the console, to ensuring you keep time, don’t go off-topic, and keep your content fresh,” says Uday. Since there is no standard process to learn these things, experience is the best teacher. As an RJ you are constantly learning and everyday is a learning experience.
Being an RJ also involves taking criticism in one’s stride. So if you’re a person who can’t take criticism well and learn from the feedback you receive, then this line of work may not be apt for you.
Now let’s talk money. Depending on how much in demand you are with the public, sponsors put their money on you.
Asked how financially rewarding the profession was, Uday says: “By and large it is. However, if money is your main objective, then this is not the career for you. Job satisfaction, fun, creativity, and passion are the keys words here. So if you have what it takes, pursue it because there is nothing like it!”
To apply for the interaction with the RJs which is slated for Sunday, June 23 at Dempo House from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. log on to navhindtimes.in/events and fill in the application form. Minimum age to apply is 13, with no upper age limit.