RJ | 10 Apr 2004
“I’ve always believed in healthy competition and a monopoly always kills… So, it’s good to have competition! There is always room for more and, more the merrier… And, better is the quality.”
From a budding pop singer to a music icon and, finally an acclaimed Radio Jockey with a FM station – Usha Uthup has traversed a long way. And, throughout her journey, she has maintained close association with radio. In a tête-à-tête with Jasmeen Dugal, Usha Uthup, of RED FM, talks about her journey from pop music to radio jockeying, how RJs develop their own style to gain an edge in this world of increasing competition, and how healthy competition among FM stations helps offer better music.
Q. From a pop singer to a radio jockey – it’s been a long journey. Tell us about your journey into the radio world.
I love people. Music is my passion. I love entertainment. I’ve had the opportunity to entertain people all over the world.
From stage going on to radio was not a difficult journey. It’s all about the love I have for people who honour me by attending my shows or listening to me on radio. My heart belongs to them.
Q. What would you say is the mantra of success in radio jockeying?
It’s all about love, connect with people and connect with me. I can’t really have a mantra that would help anyone else. God gives you the gift of being an entertainer. I believe in music and I believe in love.
Q. What was the response to radio in the yesteryears, and how does it differ from listeners’ reaction today?
That’s easy. In the old days with only one radio station, I did whatever I wanted and my listeners used to write letters to me conveying their love and warmth, telling me how much they anticipated the next show that I would do.
Nowadays, it’s much of a business than it was then and of course, this sorts out the men from the boys. Fortunately, I am with a radio station that lets me be myself and people accept me for what I am.
Q. How are you competing with other deejays on air, given the similarity of style?
There is no similarity at all because they have all developed their own style. Plus, I have been doing this for so many years. Of course, Ameen Sayaniji is so different and a class apart. In fact, I like all the RJs at RED FM. I can’t comment on the others, as I have not heard them.
Q. How would you describe the Kolkata audience? How do they differ from other metros? How has the Kolkata market/audience and clients received you as a celebrity radio jockey, keeping in mind that they are quite conservative by nature?
Its simple! Kolkata is my city, my blood, and my love. It has made me what I am today. There is no place on earth that I would be better than this city. As the song goes, “Aha Tumi Shundori Kolkata…”
About Mumbai, I was born and brought up in Mumbai and I love the buzz there. It’s really a happening city and I love the people there. The audience reacts wonderfully there… The same goes for Delhi mainly because a lot of my big time happened in 1969 when I was at the Oberoi Continental in Delhi.
So, to put it in a nutshell, people are more or less the same everywhere and they have warmly accepted me wherever I performed. People in Kolkata are more conservative in nature but they are also the most open minded, very warm and welcoming.
Q. Could you comment on the competition RED FM is facing in Kolkata?
I’ve always believed in healthy competition and a monopoly always kills… So, it’s good to have competition! There is always room for more and, more the merrier… And, better is the quality.
Q. How important is the role of a radio jockey in giving support to the station?
When Vehrnon (Executive President, RED FM) asked me if I would like to be their RJ, I was overjoyed and very keen because Radio has always been my first love. And, it’s very important to have a good radio jockey especially since it’s a one-to-one medium.