Radio Jockey | 04 Oct 2011
Programming has seen some changes. Earlier, the RJ would play a lot of film songs, there would be film stories played on radio… but today there’s a whole lot of segments with interesting shows/ interviews backed by songs. Also, the competition is getting tougher with so many players. The emphasis continues to be on who plays what, when and for whom. As for RJs – there are a few strong names that have stuck to brands and stood the test of time… but a lot more science is applied to the art now.
A beautiful association with radio is like just like falling into a ‘relationship’! She had her ‘first love’, ‘flings’, ‘break up’, all, with the radio. A woman who has ‘been there, done that’, all this would perfectly give a gist of RJ Divya, the morning show host for Big 92.7 FM. She introduces the city to the sunshine with loads of enthusiasm and positivity, coupled with meticulously chosen music to start one’s day on her show ‘927 ki Morning Local’.
Being, brought up in a multicultural and multilingual surrounding, Divya has always had an inclination towards artistic fields, specifically theatre, and that’s where she believes she discovered the ‘performer’ in her. An avid listener of a radio show called ‘Yaadien’ by Karan Singh, she explored radio and that’s when her ‘real’ journey began. From there on, from a first gig as a request show host at Win 94.6 FM, then to Red FM, Fever 104 and so on, to being associated with theatre as a performer – RJ Divya has done it all.
In conversation with exchange4media’s Priyanka Nair, RJ Divya shares her mantra to keep listeners hooked and what makes for good RJing.
Q. You host a morning prime time show; people start their day listening to you. How do you keep your listeners hooked on to your show?
I feel one thing that keeps people hooked to your station is the RJ’s warmth, friendly vibes and enthusiasm. Like you said, they start their day with me and the music I play. If my energy is contagious and helps them feel good, brings about a smile and makes them feel positive at start of day, I am sure they will tune in again and again. And believe me, the main reason for people to tune in is the music you play and also your ability to bond with the listeners who will truly want to reach out to you.
Q. What according to you is the one big factor that makes for a hit radio show, which grabs the attention of the listeners and the maximum number of advertisers?
I don’t think there is any one factor. A hit show is the combination of a lot of things. Attention grabbing techniques are available by the dozens – in various books and sites and can be accessed by anyone. But a hit show is one that sustains and enriches its listeners. The show should connect and become a habit with the listeners… like they should wait for it every day. The moment you connect with the listeners, what follows is an instant connect with the brand. Advertisers have to understand that this medium is very different from TV and they also need to connect with the listeners on an emotional level (happiness, sorrow, surprise, humour) for them to grab attention or gain from how ‘hit’ the show becomes.
Q. How has radio and RJing changed over the years?
Programming has seen some changes. Earlier, the RJ would play a lot of film songs, there would be film stories played on radio… but today there’s a whole lot of segments with interesting shows/ interviews backed by songs. Also, the competition is getting tougher with so many players. The emphasis continues to be on who plays what, when and for whom. The retro shows are back at nights and afternoons, driving loyalty. As for RJs – there are a few strong names that have stuck to brands and stood the test of time… but a lot more science is applied to the art now and ‘personalities’ rather than ‘person’ most often grabbing attention.
Q. Do you think digital platform has helped RJs to take listener engagement to the next level?
Absolutely! The kind of instant response you can get from your listeners on anything and everything is awesome. You can run parallel conversations and you get honest and quick feedback. There is also a big plus that you can now stay in touch with them even when you are not on-air.
Q. What is the one thing that made you get into RJing? Were there any challenges in the course of time?
I don’t know what made me get into RJing. I am being honest. It’s the medium that mesmerised me. I love the mystery that radio carries and I love the way it interacts with its listeners. It’s very unique and holds endless possibilities. It’s also a very intelligent medium and as Live as Live can get. There are various challenges too that you face. You have to be innovative and entertaining, you have to have the ability to keep them engrossed and enriched – all at the same time. There is a high chance of you underutilising the medium and that’s the danger.
Q. What is your success mantra?
Be honest. Be who you are. You will never fail, irrespective of which time band you do or which city you work in or the brand you work for.
Q. What sets your show apart from the other radio shows of other radio channels?
I would say – exactly what I mentioned above. My show is honest. I like to be transparent. I am a girl-next-door who likes to make good, happy, intelligent conversation. I love to give my listeners company and a sense of happiness just listening to me and my show.
Q. If you had to make one big change in your show, what would that be and why?
I would love to break all the rules. I would like to pick my own music and not run it on what ‘tests’ and ‘statistics’ show – but according to my gut feeling. It would then personalise my show to a great extent and, therefore, help showcase and share my personality with my listeners more dramatically. But I guess every artist would like to do that...
Q. How important is your contribution in the scripting of a programme?
I script my own show. I believe that’s a part of my job and a very essential one. I am responsible for not just picking on what I want to say on the show, but also how it is said and why.
Q. Promptness and creativity are the two qualities that an RJ must have. How do you keep the balance between these two qualities in your show?
It gets better with time. Sometimes one wins priority over the other, but it is important to maintain balance. Also, since it’s such a live medium, some days are great and some are not. But you have to learn to forgive yourself. (Especially if your boss does not!)