Radio, the grandfather of electronic media is a matchless and exciting medium – handy and personal – which encourages its listeners to develop an unusual association with presenters and stations. Unmatched with other medium of mass communication, radio is persistent, enterprising and friendly. Our expert Jitin Chawla on the array of opportunities the field provides
Radio has transformed in its size, its format, its duration, and its programmes but has continued remained omnipresent. But one thing is for sure, that Radio needs creative and talented people to fill a range of interesting and diverse roles.
Writing is at the heart of programme broadcast. Your success in this field is determined by your ability to write well. You should develop the ability to capture the essence of a complicated story and then present the essential facts in a clear, concise and interesting manner. This helps the audience to understand, digest and remember what is presented. A Broadcaster must learn to work under pressure. Sometimes, some programmes, like news, demands a deadline. Common sense is indispensable for a broadcaster. As a broadcaster gathers experience, he becomes a storehouse of knowledge, and aware of the nature of different organizations. More than anything else, a broadcaster must have self-confidence.
A good quality education and sound qualifications hold you in all careers. Most Radio broadcasters have a graduation degree at the least, which can be in any subject. Post graduation in Mass communication or a Diploma in this field adds to the knowledge of Radio Production, as it is an essential part of its curriculum.
There are three main entry routes into broadcast. In Public service broadcasting, graduates, after passing an audition test and completing the Vani certificate course, enter into broadcasting on assignment basis. In commercial radio stations, RJ’s get honorarium on hourly basis or sometimes a fixed package. Community Radio does not allow salary, and volunteers can perform even if they do not possess any formal education. New aspirants develop their skills on the job. Trainees may follow an experienced broadcaster, assisting in research or arranging interviews, before gradually taking on their own assignments. Employers may offer technical training in the use of recording and editing equipment.
Station Directors or Station Managers are overall in charge/responsible for the running of Radio stations – leading the programme, engineering and administration of the staff team, to ensure that they meet the objectives of the station, in terms of output, audience, or revenue. The job is demanding, and can involve working for long and unpredictable hours.
One might be from any background in class 12th, but the entry is through exams for BJMC. The entrance tests include questions on media based GK, Maths, English and reasoning. Some Universities have a creative test as well, where one needs to design advertisements, write radio scripts etc., followed by a GD and an Interview. Apart from that, one can go for Post Graduation in Broadcasting Journalism, Mass Communication, Journalism, PR, Advertising, Radio Jockey etc.
Some of the top universities are Delhi University, Bombay University, St. Xavier’s College-Mumbai, Jai Hind College-Mumbai, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism, Jamia Millia Islamia, Symbiosis-Pune, Guru Gobind Singh IP University-Delhi, Banasthali Vidyapeeth –Rajasthan. However, if you don’t get into the above colleges at the undergraduate level, pursue English (H)/Hindi (H), or any other undergraduate course and go for Masters in Mass Communication from Indian Institute of Mass Communication-Delhi, Delhi University, IP University, Aligarh Muslim University, Banaras Hindu University, Central University Jamia Millia Islamia. Private institutes like New Delhi YMCA, Bhartia Vidya Bhawan & some media houses also run news reading course like NDTV’s 10 month Certificate in Broadcasting Training, India Today Media Institute, Express Institute of Media Studies, Time School of Journalism, The MUDRA Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA); admission through CAT (www.mica.india.net) , All India Radio, New Delhi (13-week in house course for its RJs), `Miranda House, Delhi University (Deptt. Of Adult & Continuing Education etc).
Priety Zinta did it in Salaam Namaste, Vidya Balan in “Lage Raho Munnabhai”, and how can we forget the “Bhaiyon aur Behano” style of Ameen Sayani, the golden voice of yesteryears – who began his radio career in 1951 with Radio Ceylon and later kept millions engrossed with “Binaca Geet Mala” on AIR. Today, he anchors a show on RED FM in addition to producing a number for the network.
According to him, “An RJ (radio jockey) is the mouthpiece of the station. He has to take the burden of representing the right, as well as the dark side of the station.” A radio jockey is a person who hosts a radio talk show, where he/she selects the music to be played and also interacts with the audience via telephone.
The last decade has brought about a sea of change in the way people look at entertainment, and the media is racing to provide them with just what is being asked for. The radio boom – that was seen in the form of transformation from AM channels to FM channels- witnessed a new industry uprising. This gave opportunities to various private players such as Radio Mirchi, Red FM, Radio City etc. With this, there has been resurgence in the popularity of Radio.
Radio jockeys often work within tight schedule constraints, which can be physically and mentally stressful. However, as Jayshree, who has been an RJ for the past six years, feels that the intangible rewards – personal and professional contacts, creative work, and the satisfaction of becoming widely known, far outweigh the disadvantages of irregular and often unpredictable work hours, work pressure, and disrupted personal lives. One should be able to evolve a style of their own, and keep a watch on all other stations, and listen to all others like BBC, CNN, FM, not to copy them but to avoid any duplications.
There are a host of crash courses in voice-overs or mixing, run by professionals in the field. At present, there are two ways of gaining entry into this field. Give an audition at AIR which holds auditions for RJs every 3 months, for which you have to enrol yourself. Notice for the audition is put up on a board at the AIR building.
The programme coordinator holds the auditions; you might be asked to do a mock interview with a celebrity or a mock dial-in show etc. Out of around 300 hopefuls who audition, only 6 are chosen. Those selected, undergo training for 2 months where they learn everything from a CD player to mixers, DATS (Digital Audio Technology) etc.
Another option for entry is to approach the software producer companies which produces radio programmes for the client. Software producers generally prefer people with 2-3 years of experience. Sponsored programmes pay you between Rs.5,000 to Rs.8,000 per show.
- A lively appealing voice
- Warm and friendly
- A Creative mind
- All India Radio, New Delhi (13-week in house course for its RJs)
- The MUDRA Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA); admission through CAT (www.mica.india.net)
- Xavier Institute of communications, Mumbai, conducts courses in announcing, broadcasting, compering and dubbing.
- Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi
- Miranda House, Delhi University
- MSME , Okhla, Delhi