RadioandMusic
| 17 Dec 2018
Sonia Parasnis moves out of HT Media, joins Hungama

MUMBAI:Sonia Parasnis is a media and broadcast industry veteran - her 14 odd years' experience spans being an AIR announcer/producer to being a radio jockey to working for Arabian Radio Network. She recently made a swift move from HT Media where she was regional programming head for both Fever and Radio Nasha, to Hungama Digital Media Entertainment to head its content programming.

In an interaction with Radioandmusic.com's Kavita Yadav, Parasnis spoke about her varied experiences and her new profile at Hungama.

Can you describe your journey in the radio industry?

Radio happened to me at the age of nine. I used to live in Mauritius, back there, Thursday afternoons were “Radio Afternoons” because of the special two hours long Bollywood Broadcast in Hindi. I as a youngster would listen to the entire show and then recreate my own show with the help of a recording mic that my father had gifted me. My show had me introducing the songs, singing the songs and also reading out sponsor messages.

I entered a radio studio while I was doing my graduation. This was at the All India Radio Delhi studios where I started hosting shows. I still remember that the first song I ever played was the Abba track 'Thank You For The Music'.

I guess I always knew that I would end up being in radio and which is why when private FM happened, I jumped at the opportunity of working with Radio City in Delhi. Like most people, I started off as an RJ and a producer.

You've worked for the Middle Eastern as well as the Indian market. How different are both these markets?

In the Middle East, radio does not exist as a background or secondary medium. Not for the advertisers and not even for the listeners. Our listeners were Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and also the local Arabic population who love Bollywood content. Also, compared to the listeners in India who are more passive, listeners they were very active. Responses would pour in and not just during contests. Radio jockeys are the biggest local stars there.

I worked with an organisation that ran nine radio stations. I was exposed to both music and talk formats across languages like Hindi, English, Arabic, Malayalam and also the very local Khaleeji language.

How was your stay at HT Media?

My stint with HT Media has been truly exciting and rewarding. In an extremely cluttered market, both the radio stations that I worked on ( Fever 104FM and Radio Nasha) created a lot of buzz. Properties that we created on Fever 104FM, like 'TV Ka Pehla Radio Show', 'Fever Unplugged', 'Entertainment Ka Baap Awards' and of course 'The Picture Pandey Show' have enjoyed a very high recall with our listeners and also within the industry. The launch of Radio Nasha with celeb RJs like Anil Kapoor, Satish Kaushik and Amit Kumar have been the talk of the town for some time now. And it is heartening to notice that the film fraternity too is acknowledging Radio Nasha as a cool retro destination.

Why did you decide to move?

Entering the digital space is on every media professional's mind today, given the digital frenzy. Think about it. Music, films, news, shopping, exercise, food- there are apps for just about everything! So when I got an opportunity to explore the same with the leading digital media  company in the country, I decided to take the leap.

When I moved on from HT Media Ltd. I was the Regional Programming Head for Radio Nasha and Fever 104FM. Throughout my tenure, I worked with Gaurav Sharma, who is one of the senior most radio programming professionals in the country today.

What is your job profile at Hungama?

At Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, I will be heading content programming . I will be working with Siddhartha Roy who is the CEO.

Why the sudden move from radio to a digital company?

Like I said earlier,  one cannot ignore the digital space today. Every possible type of content is being consumed on a phone, tablet, etc. Even radio stations have developed apps for consumption by the digital audience. So when the opportunity to work with an organisation that has lead this digital content revolution in the country came my way I decided to take it up.

What are your future plans

It's a very simple plan really. Use my creative and  content programming experience to do lots of Hungama in the digital space.