Sugar Mediaz Voice Industry Blog caught up with popular RJ Siddharth of Big FM to know what it takes to be a successful Radio Jockey!
Ms. Hira from Sugar Mediaz Voice Industry Blog finds out!
RJ Siddharth, an engineer by default, a project manager by chance and a communication professional by choice, has been hosting the Breakfast Show on 92.7 Big FM for more than 3 years now and in this “not-so-long” span, he has won many accolades for himself and the radio station. His show became the No.1 show in Mumbai within three months of its launch and has remained so till date as per the Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) ratings. He won the Sound of India contest in 2015 and represented India in the International Radio Festival in Zurich. His show is being broadcast simultaneously in 13 cities across India (including Delhi, Indore and Bhopal).
What’s a typical day in the studio like for you and how do you prepare for your show, celebrity interviews, etc.?
RJ Siddharth – There’s no life (read night life) for a morning show host. Having said that I wake up with the city and even wake up the city with my Breakfast Show on 92.7 Big FM. Every day I have a theme on my show whether it’s about a particular artist or films or something important/interesting happening in the city or the country. For that I have to be well prepared for my next day’s show. Preparations include a good amount of research (primary, secondary, sometimes tertiary as well but it has to be authentic). There are producers who help me in this but I prefer to do it on my own. Many a times interviews are required so either I fix them or my producers/celebrity manager do that. For city/country specific stories I have to be well connected with social media as well as the institutions (social, cultural, government everything) so that I get the first hand information. I reach studio by 6 o’clock and go through all the major newspapers (both offline and online), go through twitter and Facebook and get a hang of the latest happenings that may have happened during the period I wasn’t awake; select some important points; prioritize them and go live at 7’o clock sharp.
What are the do’s and don’ts on air that you have to battle every day?
RJ Siddharth – As far as dos and don’ts are concerned, we do need to be sensible enough to not hurt anyone’s sentiments. Though it’s important to make your point of view very clear, each and every listener is important. So sometimes (actually many a times) you need to maintain that balance. It’s better not to pick a topic you think you can’t put your opinion vocally than to just talk about it on a very superficial manner. In a country like ours which is so multi cultural, multi religious, this balance has to be maintained. A “good” voice is definitely a boon for any RJ to grab attention of his/ her listeners. It does help in making a distinct identify of a radio jockey and creating a very unique listener base for him. But it’s the content, the style of speaking, the knowledge base and the RJ’s command over the subject which matter the most. Ultimately listeners will come to him to listen to what he says rather than only for his voice quality.
Do you have any funny anecdotes or stories or memorable moments you would like to share that have happened during a live show or interacting with your fans inside/outside the studio?
RJ Siddharth – Many actually. The recent one being when was I doing an on-air RJ marathon where I was live for 92.7 hrs (almost 4 days). To my utter surprise there were many listeners (you can say “fans”) who didn’t sleep for these many days! They were awake just to be with me and support me in my endeavour. That was surprising, shocking and extremely touching at the same time. Many of them know that I love food so even a very subtle hint is enough for them to get “tons” of food with love delivered at my office, and yes. I enjoy it. A lot.
Any “outside of the box” idea that worked?
RJ Siddharth – Many of them. As I mentioned before, the on-air RJ marathon for 4 days. That was quite out of the box. Then there was this very unique campaign called “See the radio” which we did in collaboration with Helen Keller Institute. The idea was to take radio to the ones who can’t hear or speak. That was interesting and very unique. This had never been done on radio before anywhere in the world. It was the first. To have guests everyday on air who use only sign language to talk about their lives, their struggles, their likes and dislikes, family, romance everything was really very touching and an eye opener as well. At at the end of it, we had a deaf RJ on air as well, and the response was amazing. Apart from listeners, we got calls from Chief Minister’s office with a promise that they would certainly look into the demands made by this community. It got selected at Nasscom foundation as one of the best inclusive initiatives by media.
Earlier the listener created an image in his /her mind about the voice he was hearing on radio.. Nowadays, with the advent of internet, people are actually putting a face to the voice…Your views
RJ Siddharth – There are two very distinct schools of thought on this. One still believes that they shouldn’t be seen and only heard. The other wants to connect with the listeners (or users) at every level. According to me, in today’s world it is essential to have a presence and say on social media and it’s always better to connect with your listeners and know their point of view as well. But there has to be a balance. Digital and radio are two completely different mediums and hence the ways to approach both have to be different and true to that particular medium.
What tips would you give to someone who wants to be an RJ?
RJ Siddharth – It may sound a bit rhetorical but it holds true. Be honest in airing your opinion and don’t mimic or gimmick. Read, watch, travel; do everything which is required to make your content authentic and interesting.
Sugar Mediaz has two new initiatives – Blogs dedicated to showcasing “The Face behind the Voice” and the other – celebrating and awarding Voice Artistes. What do you feel about this?
RJ Siddharth – Giving faceless talents a face… nothing can be better than this. I always used to wonder after listening to my favourite jingle or a TV ad as to who must be the voice behind it. Sugar Mediaz is actually bringing these brilliant voice artists to the forefront through its blog and acknowledging them through awards. It will help more and more talents opting for this avenue and it won’t be considered as a “faceless” job anymore. Kudos
About the writer – Hira M.
Her motto is “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me’. She has worked extensively in Corporate Communications with a leading private bank and writes on life in general and entertainment in particular. Her blog post is: crossleggedwithhiramehta.
She has recently published her book Twisted Tales which got released at the recently held Lit O Fest in Mumbai!!!