Radio Jockey | 05 Mar 2008
Listeners are not annoying, but they are persistent. ‘Patience’ is the mantra. As a radio jockey one has to keep in mind the fact that a listener is not aware of the fact that we receive dozens of calls every single minute. He or she calls because they feel so close to the jock and want to speak their hearts out. Can’t break the listener’s heart just because we are running out of patience.
As an RJ, Pallavi has been enthralling her listeners for a long time. She has been a fixture at Radio Mirchi for some years now. And when she lost her voice some time back due to an illness, it was trying times for her. However, Pallavi regained not just her voice, but throughout the ordeal never lost her vivacity or her positive attitude.
In her nine years as a broadcaster, Pallavi has collected a fan following addicted as much to her sultry voice as her quirky sense of humour. She began her radio career early as a presenter in All India Radio’s Yuv Vaani programme. She then worked as a news reader on AIR. This was followed by stints as news reader on Doordarshan, an announcer on DD and Zee TV. She stepped into her RJ shoes with AIR FM.
In conversation with exchange4media’s Pallavi Goorha, RJ Pallavi speaks about life as a radio jockey and how she overcame her ordeal when she lost her voice.
Q. What were the challenges that you faced when you initially joined Radio Mirchi?
Well, the biggest challenge for me when I joined Radio Mirchi 5-6 years back was the fact that I had to go to an office/studio every single day! Actually, I was earlier a freelance voice person, so I used to work just a few days a month and had the choice of picking up assignments. Getting into an 8-10 hour shift was the toughest – waking up early every day, same time was tough. Work wise there was no problem since I was on familiar terrain.
Q. What were the struggles that you faced when you lost your voice?
You mean apart from conversing? On a serious note, of course it took some time to accept the fact that I had lost my voice. There was a time when my family members had to come as close as my face to hear me whisper for a glass of water. I remember the time when I actually had an office bell next to my pillow that I would use to call someone from the other room. To be dependent on someone is truly a bad experience.
I would not like to call it a struggle, I prefer the word fight. I had to fight the constant negative thoughts in my head about having lost the most precious thing in my life – my voice. I had to fight my diminished lung power, the constant fight with a smiling face, answering friends’ queries on the status of my voice, the same question of whether I would be able to RJ again or not – that took its toll.
Q. As a station what does Radio Mirchi 98.3 stand for?
How does one describe Radio Mirchi – the name says it all. It’s hot. It plays the hottest music, discusses the hottest topics, has the hottest celebs on the channel – it’s a frequency forever buzzing with all the happening things in Delhi. The hottest station of the nation, it is for the, of the, and by the young and bubbly population of Delhi. Amen! Sorry, Jai Hind!
Q. How do you hold the attention of your listeners?
Everytime I switch on the mike, it has got to be something interesting, worthwhile and absolutely personal, and I have my listener hooked on to me.
Q. Is sensitivity a very important factor while RJing?
Q. Do you come across annoying listeners, and how do you deal with them?
Listeners are not annoying, but they are persistent. ‘Patience’ is the mantra. As a radio jockey one has to keep in mind the fact that a listener is not aware of the fact that we receive dozens of calls every single minute. He or she calls because they feel so close to the jock and want to speak their hearts out (errr, in many cases read out poems and shayaris and, hold your breath, ‘aarti’s’ written and composed personally).Can’t break the listener’s heart just because we are running out of patience, after all it’s for them that we are in the studio, behind the Mirchi microphone.
Q. What do you do when you have bad days?
I am like the pigeon – close your eyes to the world. Just move on with the rest of the day.
Q. Who is the true Pallavi? Is she different from Pallavi the RJ?
If a jock potrays something different from the real person, he/she is not being true to the listener. A listener is intelligent enough to make out the difference or catch the ‘nakli stuff’. It’s best to be what you are. As I always maintain when on air, I am forever talking to my best pal. No pretence and you always manage to be closest to the listener.
Q. While on air, do you use a written script or is everything that you say impromptu?
No written script, .remember we are speaking to our Mirchi listeners. Doston se baat karte hue koi script se padhta hai kya (Does one read out from a script while talking to friends)?
Q. As far as the choice of music goes, do you have much of a say in it? Or is it entirely the station’s preference?
Not much, we have a dedicated team that manages music for the Radio Mirchi station channel.
Q. What excites you the most about your job?
Can’t express it in words, you have to be ‘on air’ to feel the high. Even after years of doing radio, I still can’t get over the power of the medium, the power of that voice coming out of a radio set, holding the attention of lakhs of listeners, and of course, the kick that I get when strangers might just be discussing Radio Mirchi or me right in front of me without realising it. After all, the voice has no face. It is truly fascinating.
Q. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Kal kya hoga kisko pata, abhi zindagi ka le lo maza (Who knows what will happen tomorrow, enjoy life today)!