For three years, Commits alumna ARATHI KRISHNAN (Class of 2007) was an RJ with Fever FM in Bangalore. She started with the brunch show in a Hindi and English format, moved to the evening prime time show, and, finally, she was doing the morning prime time show, which was completely in Kannada. She also worked with building creative properties for marketing campaigns and shows on the station.
Then Arathi took a break from radio and joined Educomp Solutions where she heads the instructional design team that builds educational products for the US market. But she couldn't bear to be away from radio for too long. For nine months now, she has been RJ-ing the "Total Request Live with Arathi" show on Radio Indigo (Sundays, 11 am to 3 pm). And she has been doing a great job.
Last week, in an email Q&A with me, Arathi shared some of her insights on a radio career. Radio aspirants will learn much from her candid comments:
- What prompted you to go back to radio after taking a break from Fever?
- How do you manage the demands of your regular job with what you have to do on Indigo?
|Arathi Krishnan strikes a pose at her RJ console at Radio Indigo.|
- You play requests on your show — are your listeners aware of the latest hits on the international front? Are they hep? Are they clued in?
- What do you love most about your job?
- How tough is it to be an RJ? What advice would you give your juniors if they showed an interest in joining radio — should they join the marketing or programming departments, or should they try out radio jockeying?
The first needs no elaboration. And you do not need to necessarily have radio-relevant experience to get in. I have met station heads who were with telecommunication companies before they moved in to run a station. So, for those concerned with money, marketing, and numbers, sales and marketing is the way to go. Media sales is one way to get into radio sales.
If you love creativity and wake up hungry for it every day, programming is the way to go. Programming includes deciding what music the station will play (it's very interesting and based on research) in which case, you will be the "Music Manager" for a station. You could even be a sound engineer who produces all the ads and jingles on the station. You could be the producer of shows and write scripts for new programmes or segments on the jocks' shows. Or you could be an RJ who doubles up as any of those mentioned above.
Being an RJ is all about what your real personality is. An RJ must NEVER put on an accent, NEVER try to sound cool, NEVER be fake where delivery is concerned. If you must be fake, make it look like it's the real you and always remember to TALK to people, NOT to ANNOUNCE. If you are vivacious, gregarious, witty, natural, and a good conversationalist, you have the potential to be an RJ.
- What is the hardest part of being an RJ?
2. Content treatment and conversation: How would you engage listeners and speak to them making them comfortable while you simultaneously entertain and move someone who is listening?
3. Receiving feedback: You can never reach a state of perfection. You must always seek honest opinions of the things you do on your show and thank your stars if you have a boss who has the guts to be brutally honest with you and give you constructive feedback. If you reach a stage where you have a bloated head and where you're deaf to criticism, you may most probably be on your way down the RJ graph and be oblivious to it. With big stations, it's a ratings game and can be very stressful. You must have the mental strength to take sharp criticism and yet be undeterred.
- "What it means to be a radio professional", by Commits alumna SHILPA DASGUPTA
- "What it means to be a scriptwriter at a radio station", by Commits alumna RANJINI NARAYANAN