Sachin Tantry defines new age professor-giri with his hands-on radio course. NIRMALA GOVINDARAJAN has details

The Radio Producer’s Handbook by Rick Kaempfer looked Sachin Tantry in the eye almost a decade ago. He tuned into the world of sound and worked with Radio Mirchi. College beckoned and he returned to the classroom, this time, as professor of communication at Jain University.

The thirty-year-old now divides time between Manipal University Bangalore campus, Avagmah B School and Centre for Management & Entrepreneurship, NMKRV College, Center for Management Studies, Sri Sri Center for Media Studies School of Commerce and Management Studies, various corporates and his alma mater Jain University, disseminating gyaan on Media Ethics and Radiogiri.

Sachin’s course on Radiogiri is making waves. “It is different, because primarily I am a radio evangelist,” he beams, adding, “I believe it is the most spiritual media, given that it is always present in the moment.” Premise set, Radiogiri evolved over four years. “Today, the course includes the experience of having been taught to 16 batches of students, with inputs from RJ Rakesh, my mentor from Radio One,” explains Sachin.

Two reasons prompted the “radio evangelist” to put this programme together. “First, I noticed that a lot of student interns who are interested in the medium, end up being liabilities at the radio station. By the time they learn the basic nuances of radio, internship time is over and they need to head back to college. They return with half-baked experience and knowledge of the medium. With Radiogiri, we train them in advance, which gives them a headstart at the radio station and they return with far more knowledge,” says Sachin, adding, “Secondand most importantly there are many fake institutes and individuals who are providing such courses, cheating gullible people. Today, along with RJs Rajesh and Rakesh, I invite professionals from various radio stations to train students.”

Radiogiri positions itself as making radio professionals and not just radio jockeys. “Apurva Purohit, CEO of Radio City in her book Lady you’re not a Man says whenever she is asked about her profession and she replies radio, people immediately think of the obvious — Radio Jockey. Then, she has to explain to them that there is more to a radio station than an RJ. Aligning with this sentiment, our course, which runs for 50 hours, includes theory and practical sessions right from an introduction to radio, to organisation structure, careers, radio elements, scripting, content management, producing a show, basic production techniques, listenership management, radio jockeying and ideation. Students get to interact with industry professionals and see live programming as well.”

Sachin’s pursuit to enable hands-on industry experience for his students, sprang out of what he felt was lacking when he was a student. “Especially in the media industry, it’s all about gaining direct experience and not about acquiring a gold medal. When I was a student, I went off to work with various people to gain experience. As a professor, I connect with all my industry contacts to enable my students to gain direct exposure. Often, I emotionally blackmail my friends in the media to conduct classes and they sweetly oblige.”

As a result, Sachin’s students are on the “most wanted list”. “Leading media houses call in asking for interns, my students go and return with letters of appreciation,” beams Sachin.

There are also the challenges of being a professor at his age. “I started teaching when I was 26 and it was very difficult to convince people that I was a lecturer. I would be mistaken for a student and get reprimanded for coming in late and using the staff lift. Even today, five years after joining Jain University, security guards stop me for my ID, the way they do students. With the students, I have this chilled out but no nonsense attitude. My peers and seniors take me as one of them, because I guess I show commitment.”

Sachin has it all worked out through to facebook. “My online classroom is called JAM and it connects with Gen Now.”