Waking up to the soothing rich voice of RJ Ramaballav preaching the goodness of spirituality, driving away those traffic blueswith the fun voice of Rj Rajiv, relaxing in the afternoon with evergreen retros, giggling away intermittently with the effervescent voice of RJ Guddy tickling your funny bone ..It is all in that voice! Radio Jockeys are voice wizards who wield the power to influence the mood of their listeners and play a very important role in the day to day life of the society. Stars in their own right, they have a huge fan following as they assume the place of a buddy in your life and you start getting used to waking up to and falling sleep with their mellifluous voice in the background. ‘Coffee Bytes’managed atête-à-tête with some of the leading RJ’s of Odisha.
You are a bio-tech student and have also done your MBA in HR & Marketing, so why did you choose radio as your career?
I started with TV anchoring and have worked with many channels of Odisha and Bihar. In 2010 I got an offer from Radio Choklate to join them as an RJ and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands only to realize later that radio can be as glamorous as television. There are so many listeners who start following a faceless voice and sometimes even get addicted to your voice. For me, the most beautiful part is that I can feel it when my listeners are getting instantly connected to me. I started working for 93.5 Red FM in Bhubaneswar in Dec 2014 as the evening drive-time jockey for the show ‘U Turn’ and the ‘Morning Number 1’ show. Neelesh Mishra and RJ Malishka inspire me and I look up to their style of RJ-ing.
Which is your favourite slot?
My favourite segment is ‘Ashique Diary’ which is very popular among listeners and I get a lot of calls and messages from people for it. I also like the ‘Morning Number 1’ show where I get to connect with listeners while discussing varied topics like social, about the environment, local news,what’s trending etc. In that hour I try and connect with the callers, experts and authorities alike for that particular topic. The listeners have become a part of my life and I am as addicted to them as they are to my voice.
How would you want to spend your perfect day?
I love listening to romantic sad songs, especially Bollywood numbers. This combined with my favourite Chinese or South Indian cuisine shared with close friends and watching a romantic movie is definitely my kind of perfect day.
Rj Shahin (programming head)
Do you think radio has a future for the young generation?
I surely think yes. With the launch of the third phase of FM in India there are immense opportunities for talented people. In the coming years there will be more FM stations in cities like Berhampur, Puri, Sambalpur, Balasore etc.
Do you think radio impacts people?
Definitely. It’s very personal and can also be an emotional medium of entertainment which impacts a listener deeply. It is passive but very effective and is a medium where the listener is in direct contact with the RJ on a one-to-one basis and is able to share many things.
You have graduated in plastic engineering, so how did you choose radio as your career?
I feel that one should always do what you love to do. Even though I was an engineering student I worked with an international call centre in Bangalore in 2006. During those days I used to listen to a lot of radio. My journey with Radio (92.7 BIG fm) started on December 17, 2007.I worked in Rourkela initially and then moved here to Bhubaneswar in 2009. My passion is also doing voice-over in Hindi and English for the entire BIG FM eastern region, Mumbai BIG FM,Bangalore BIG FM and a few northern region BIG FM stations. I was also involved in the English advertisement voiceover for TV network BIG CBS for which I was appreciated by the BIG national team. My voice has earned me a lot of name and fame (grins)!
What are your favourite slots in the programmes?
I do the evening slot for BIG FM Bhubaneswar and Rourkela (4-9 pm) which is one of the longest shows. I have done morning shows also, but I personally love the evening slot.
What future does radio have for the youngistans?
Radio has a terrific future for the young generation. If they have a flair for talking and thinking out of the box then a radio station is the perfect place for them. I know how radio impacts people specially when you give them an opportunity to speak out their mind on topics relevant to them, which we have always provided.The young generation has a very active mind and they are very high on creativity, so radio is a great place to be in for them, if they are looking to make it a career.
How would you want your perfect dream day to be?
I would love to eat some home cooked ‘biryani’ which is like ‘soul food’ for me and has the magic to even cure fever! (smiles) Listening to songs of Kishore da and KK alongwith some English numbers of classic rock bands like Beatles, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Rolling stones, Foo Fighters etc. A movie in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil or English with close friends or simply spending time with my parents will be just ideal !
Do you have a favourite quotation?
Yes, I love the quote which is very dear to me from the movie ‘Talk Radio’, “Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words cause permanent damage!”
You are a graduate of Anthropology and now you are into media. How did this happen?
Theatre always fascinated me from my childhood. I have been listening to the radio since I was very young and I loved listening to ‘Sakhi Saheli’, a woman oriented show on ‘FM Rainbow’. I am a theatre artist and love drama and music, so when I was in Rourkela I did a short term stint in acting by doing a diploma in theatre from‘Natraj Kala Kendra’ under the affiliation of Chandigarh University. Anchoring stage shows gave me a lot of confidence to face a crowd and build a rapport with them. I have also worked as a make-up artist, doing stage settings and in the process earning some money, which really helped me stay in touch with theatre. I believe that if you are passionate about something then you should know that field inside out.
How did you come into radio?
I came to Bhubaneswar full of dreams. But at times, dreams are meant to be broken, so the struggle period started when I wanted to become an actor in Odia serials. My days would start with sitting for hours together in media and production houses, sometimes without food and water, with nothing happening. My patience paid me back by giving me a break in the form of an anchoring assignment for the ‘Saheed Nagar Durga Puja Mandap’ in Bhubaneswar and I earned three thousand rupees. Towards the end of November I got a chance to host a show on ‘Kamyab TV’ at the ‘Bali Jatra’. The next thing I know my friend RJ Pushpak asked me if I could appear for an audition at Radio Choklate. On Febuary 15, 2009, I got a call from Radio Choklate for an audition where I had to write the script and also host the programme ‘Daudila Jeebana’ and my career started with the signature tune ‘dhoom dhoom dhoom(vroom) mitha’ .
What are your favourite programmes?
The 10pm to 1am love show ‘RatiraRomeo’, ‘Kalamandir’, ‘Geethmala with Guddy’, which is a countdown show of the top ten songs, ‘Chumki tume chinha chinha’, a women oriented show, ‘Hai go rangabathi’, ‘Ajab kp ra gajab khabar’ were real show stoppers to my mind.
How does it feel working with a community radio?
After I joined ‘Newz 7’ for the show ‘Breakfast Odisha’ I was given the added responsibility of RJ-ing for SOA Radio 90.4 which has a huge student following .It has been a wonderful experience overall.