With the radio industry booming, youngsters are taking to radio jockeying with much aplomb, writes RENUKA VIJAY KUMAR

RJing can be a lucrative career option ANUJ A few years ago, if you told your friends that you listened to the radio, you were 'uncool,' and 'outdated.' Today, the radio is hip, totally with the times and like any teenager would say, "It's so rad!" (radical). The radio is no more a medium that will be on the backburner- not for the youth of today and not for the scope it offers. The commercial aspect of the radio is enormous as are the people it reaches out too. Right from the neighbourhood pan wallah to the corporate banker, they are all hooked to the radio. The latest music, regular news updates and even updates on the traffic scenario in some cities- with the radio offering all this and more, an increasing number of people are tuning in to their favourite frequencies to find out what's happening around their city. In fact, other than the existing AIR and Rainbow Hyderabad, Radio Mirchi, Radio City and AdLabs will also be bringing their radio channels to the city. And with all this happening, can radio jockeying be far behind? A radio jockey essentially comperes programmes on air and this may include hosting a few music shows as well as reading the news. In Hyderabad, music shows seem to have caught the fancy of many. Bangla Bharati, a lecturer at B.J.R Government Degree College has been a radio jockey for the last 10 years. She says, "Radio is my passion and that's why I'm into it." Currently with Akanksha Creations, a company that provides content for radio channels, she feels that the reach of radio is growing by the day and that's how it should be. "I grew up listening to the radio, but the generation after me didn't know what the radio is." Apoorva, Anuj, Abhimanyu, Supriya, Chetan and Soumya are just a few of the youngsters from the city who host shows on-air. For Anuj Gurwara, radio was the most obvious choice since he likes to be 'heard and known.' "I experienced radio in Mumbai and I enjoy the thrill of being an RJ." Anuj hosts three music shows on FM and says he is, "obsessed with music and connects to it." As for the money, he says, "You start off decent, but growth is rapid depending on your popularity as well the radio channels' growth. This is a good option for students as it can be a very lucrative career option." Apoorva, a 20-year-old mass communication student and an RJ says, "The best thing about being an RJ is the fact that you get to interact with different kinds of people doing the thing they love." In her case, it is playing music. Apoorva is also involved with the technical and production aspect of her shows.The RJ's in Hyderabad are paid from Rs. 250 by AIR, per slot to Rs. 4,000 per month, for half an hour a week, by private channels. The amount is usually a little more if the RJ himself writes the script. But Bangla warns, "Unless you are a full time employee of a radio station, you should not expect to make a living out of it." But don't forget, radio jockeying can also be a stepping-stone to other opportunities like voice-overs, dubbing and even anchoring in some cases.Two of the successful names of recent years include Siddharth and Rishi Kanan. Both brothers had their own shows in Mumbai, but now are the biggest names in the voice industry, lending their names to innumerable radio and television commercials as well as voice-overs. Vijay Marur, who runs DC Interactive, a multimedia production house, says he started his Radio production unit, Radio Biryani in October 2005, because as a multimedia production unit, he wanted to be familiar with every form of communicating with the people. The investment, he says, has paid off, with the show winning six of the 12 awards given out by the Hyderabad Radio Lovers Association in December. His show, Good Evening Hyderabad is on air on 102.8 MHz between 5.05-6.45pm. Radio jockeying is not something that 'might' turn out to be the next big thing for the youth of the country; it is undoubtedly the next big thing!