In-Focus: Radio Jockeying as a Career Option

Posted on June 3, 2010 in Alternative Careers

Meenakshi Gaur:

Get paid for talking. Be the voice without a face that reaches out to the masses and keeps them entertained. Being a Radio Jockey is a fun job, where the presenter gets paid and appreciated for his or her style of talking. The style of presentation is not easy to have as it depends on several factors such as selecting the right kind of music, script writing the show, the final presentation and the presenter’s voice. “What’s essential is that you use the microphone effectively to project your voice. In that sense, your voice should be microphone-friendly,” elaborates television and radio anchor Roshan Abbas.

Script is the critical element of the show as it gives focus and structure to the show. Many RJ’s prefer to make their own scripts for the shows rather than reading out someone else’s ideas. But they need not do the script bound shows. A few pointers, ides or quotes can be used instead of a full-fledged script as it allows the presenter to sound more natural.”The script tends to become a wall between the RJ and his listeners. It’s all about maintaining a balance. Be relaxed, not laidback .Be informal to the right degree. Be pleasant but don’t end up sounding fake,” advises radio doyen Ameen Sayani.

An RJ may have to face situations like innumerable irritating callers and mishaps. It is important to keep your cool and have the presence of mind to get out of such situations. An RJ cannot afford to get stressed out and act nervy.

The most important thing which an RJ has to learn is how to tackle a mistake on air; the best thing to do is admit it to the listener. Else, just cover it up. Covering up also depends on your personality, if you are the sober kind, you would admit it in a professional manner. But if you are fun-loving and bubbly, coming clean is not a tough task, thanks to the relationship you have built with your listeners. Sometimes, on a live show, callers can get abusive or ask awkward questions. The best way to avoid this is to talk to your caller before you go live. Spare a few minutes to tell him/her what you are going to do; warn him/her to be short and crisp. If a loud mistake is made on air, do not keep brooding over the mistake as you cannot afford to lose your faculty of speech because dead air (when there is no sound) is a sin.

This industry is likely to grow in massive proportions, in the coming years. The transformation from AM (amplitude modulation) channels to FM (frequency modulation) channels, gave opportunity to various private players such as Radio Mirchi, Radio Mid-Day, Red FM, Radio City, etc. Thus there has been resurgence in the popularity of Radio, as the means of entertainment. This FM boom has thrown open a number of avenues and opportunities to young, energetic and enthusiastic people who wish to be part of this fun and entertaining profession. The profession of Radio Jockeying has just taken off in India and the demand for Radio Jockeys is likely to shoot up in the coming 10 years as more and newer FM channels will open up.

Whatever the emotions may be, an RJ should always be happy and entertaining. He/she should be well aware of his/her city, culture and the events taking place in the city. Being up-to-date with the entrainment industry like movies, music is a must. An RJ should be a people person who enjoys talking to various kinds people. An RJ must be original and have a unique style without being nervous or have inhibitions of any kind. He/ She should be able to play around with his / her voice by doing mimicry, comedy or humor items which adds different flavor and proper voice modulation keeps the show lively. An RJ has to deal with sound mixers, faders, CD players, Call equipment, Computer for his songs and Ads database and microphones and headphones. The technical know-how can be acquired through training, which can be given by both the recruiting radio station and the institutes which teach courses on Radio Jockey. All these personality traits need not be the given gift but can be developed and horned if one has the zest to become an RJ by joining various institutes which teaches all these qualities.

The duration of these courses vary from two-month certificate course to one-year postgraduate program. Besides, there are a host of crash courses in voiceovers or mixing run by professional in the field.

A few of the institutes offering courses in radio jockeying are:

* Diploma in Radio Jockeying (DRJ) offered by the EMDI Encompass Institute of Radio Management .A course in Announcement, Compeering and dubbing, provided by Xavier’s Institute of Communication and Film and Television Institute (FTII), Pune.
* CRAFT: Center for Research in Art of Film and television provides a Diploma Courses after 10+2 in Radio Jockey for 3-months.
* The Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA), which takes in students through CAT (IIM), offers internship with FM radio channels like Radio Mid-Day, Red FM and Radio Mirchi as part of its one-year graduate programme in Broadcasting Management.
* Academy of Broadcasting, Chandigarh offers various kinds and level of courses in Radio Jockeying.

However, formal training is not enough in this field. To develop confidence and flare one needs to have exposure. This can be cultivated by listening to various other announcers and constant practicing of voice modulation.

The job prospects for a radio jockey entirely depend on the person’s expertise. It is not a regular mundane. The person should be able to gauge the nerve of the audience as the listeners are the ultimate judges and they will decide on your career growth in this field. The radio jockey needs to be a multi-faceted person; must be familiar with the language, local dialects and be able to respond spontaneously and creatively to the audience. The way they put forward the ideas in their speech matters a lot.

To be a radio jockey one can audition for the job. AIR holds auditions almost every 3 months. There are several other radio stations such as Times, FM, Midday and other smaller independent radio stations. As the radio jockey gains experience he/she becomes more popular and the audience start recognizing him/her. Radio jockeys can also do voiceovers in their spare time. They can also turn to compeering shows and events. The remuneration that a radio jockey can fetch in the starting can be between Rs. 7000 to 15,000 per month. With experience and popularity they might get paid as high as Rs 14,000 to 25,000 per show.

This chatter away job has glamour quotient to it; where An RJ gets to talk to or interview the celebrities and at times treated like a celebrity himself.

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