Music Executive /Senior Announcer | 07 Sep 2006
It is the interaction of RJs with their listeners that make FM channels popular. An RJ has to create a rapport with his/her listeners and make them feel that he/she is one of them. He has to make the caller feel at ease. Every FM channel has its devoted band of listeners/followers and it is the RJ’s job to make those people feel that we are all part of the same family and ensure that they remain with the station.
He is the man, rather the voice, behind the popular programme, ‘Afternoon Farmaish’, on Power FM. And as Music Executive /Senior Announcer, India FM Radio, Kolkata, Sanjeev Tiwari is also spearheading the popularity of the FM channel.
Tiwari had earlier worked as a radio jockey with Radio FM Network, Times FM and Radio Snap.
What sets Tiwari apart is that besides the ability to instantly connect with his listeners, he is also a talented lyric writer, having written the lyrics for Tapan Sinha’s ‘Anokha Moti’, Basu Chatterjee’s ‘Hathat Brishti’ and Gautam Ghosh’s forthcoming movie ‘Yatraa’. Tiwari had also written the lyrics for Bikram Ghosh’s album ‘Samaa’ which had featured singers Shankar Mahadevan and Shaan, and ‘Rhythmscape II’ which had songs sung by Kailash Kher and Subha Mudgal. What’s more, Tiwari’s ability to come up with instant shayari has also endeared him to his listeners.
In conversation with exchange4media’s Indrani Sinha, this versatile radio jockey shares his secret for success in a highly competitive field, how to conduct a successful programme and how to keep one’s fingers on the listeners’ pulse.
Q. What made you choose radio jockeying as a profession?
I was attracted to music from a very young age. My father had a German radio and I would sit in front of it and wonder how it worked, whether it had some people inside it! So, one day I opened the back cover to see what was inside it. I was fascinated by what I saw, but of course I couldn’t see any person inside and felt very disappointed. Moreover, I have been singing popular songs from a very young age and had won several prizes in school for antakshari competitions.
Q. Radio today requires a lot of interactive programmes and contests, how different are these from the normal radio jockeying that you do?
It is the interaction of RJs with their listeners that make FM channels popular. An RJ has to create a rapport with his/her listeners and make them feel that he/she is one of them. I present the programme ‘Afternoon farmaish’ on Power FM, which is a popular interactive programme. I take requests from the Net, via telephone, and lately we have also started an SMS contest, where we ask a question and give the listeners three options. The winner is invited to our studio to be the guest RJ for this show.
In interactive programmes the RJ has to successfully relate to all his listeners, who belong to different backgrounds and say the right thing at the right moment. He has to make the caller feel at ease. Every FM channel has its devoted band of listeners/followers and it is the RJ’s job to make those people feel that we are all part of the same family and ensure that they remain with the station.
Q. How do you handle your faceless listeners?
In a medium like the radio, you have to impress your faceless listeners by your voice. Unlike the television there are no retakes, one wrong slip can be very costly. Thus, it is as challenging as it is interesting.
I try to form some kind of an impression after hearing the voice of the unseen caller and try to connect with him/her and understand his/her likes and dislikes. Then I narrate a small incident or an event that might be of interest to the caller. The aim is to establish a rapport with the caller and make him/her feel at ease.
Q. What is your main listernership profile and how do you connect with them?
Power FM is mainly for youngsters and anyone who is young at heart. And as our punch line goes, ‘All hits all day’, we play contemporary hit songs. In ‘Afternoon Farmaish’ almost all my callers are youngsters who can relate to the songs that are played.
Q. Does RJing require any day to day preparation? How do you prepare yourself to host ‘Afternoon Farmaish’?
We have to keep ourselves abreast of all the important happenings, including the latest Bollywood gossips, even if we are not talking about these on air. Some of the things that I say in my programme are quite impromptu. I keep some blank sheets of paper with me while I am conducting my show and I write down shayaris either on the name of the caller or from the first refrain of the song that I am going to play. This makes my caller feel important and we strike an instant rapport. I also interact with youngsters a lot to understand their likes and dislikes, update my knowledge about the latest trends in fashion, music, etc., all of which help me in putting together my programme in a better way and make it more appealing.
Q. Is there any scope in a medium like radio for your individual style to come through?
As I mentioned earlier, one must have a distinct personal style in order to stand out. Take Amin Sayani for instance, he stood out because of his distinctive style. I try to write impromptu shayaris while presenting my programme, which has been well appreciated. If some day I don’t recite a shayari, I start getting calls from my listeners. It is very important to try and create a niche for yourself within the boundary of your job profile.
Q. How important is the role of an RJ vis-à-vis the radio station?
No RJ can become bigger than the channel. The main job of the RJ is to get captive listeners for his/her slot and in the process also increase the channel’s popularity so that the listener becomes a regular for that particular channel or slot and not turn the knob to another station.
Q. What, according to you, makes an RJ successful?
Dedication to one’s job is very important. One has to be aware of the latest happenings in the city/country. Follow the news, read a lot on general subjects and of course stay tuned to the latest film and music album releases.
Q. You must have had several memorable experiences during your career. Could you share some?
Some experiences have been very, very poignant, while some have been funny. Once while doing a show I had written a shayari dedicated to those who had sacrificed their lives during the Kargil war. I immediately got a call and the caller, a lady, started weeping. She said that she had lost her son in the war and the words of my shayari had brought memories of her son. I was lost for words. So you see, words do touch a chord somewhere.
Q. What is your favourite radio programme?
‘Jaimala’. When I was young, I would listen to that programme regularly. Some of my other favourite programmes were ‘Shani barer bar bela’, a programme on supernatural stories, and ‘Hawa Mahal’ on Vividh Bharti.
Q. And your favourite TV programme?
I used to love watching ‘Mahabharat’ and ‘Chitrahaar’ on Doordarshan.