RadioandMusic
| 29 Sep 2020
Age not a criterion for AIR announcers/radio jockeys who undergo voice modulation tests

NEW DELHI: All India Radio will not consider the age of its radio jockeys when conducting skill and voice modulation tests.

Noting that ‘monotony is venom for any broadcaster’, AIR Director General F Sheheryar told Radioandmusic.com that a broadcaster needs to recreate itself to remain popular.

While stressing that none of the radio jockeys were permanent employees and were on contract for presenting programmes for a maximum of six days a month, Sheheryar said that some of the presenters had gone to court in Kolkata but had lost the case. 

He stressed that most of them were either employed elsewhere and working part-time for AIR or were doing this work as a hobby or to supplement income. “None of them are employees of AIR,” he emphasised.

He said that the rule relating to voice modulation and skill tests for radio jockeys beyond 35 years of age had always been there, but AIR will concentrate on the tests instead of considering the age.

He said that he had joined AIR as DG in December 2012 but decided last year that there should be regular change in the programming to keep it fresh, adding that the Audition Rules had always been there but it was decided to reinforce them in view of competition increased with the private FM channels.

Under the rules, those working in the primary channel of AIR on medium wave could continue to be presenters up to the age of sixty, while those working for the AIR FM Gold or FM Rainbow could do so only till the age of 35. The Rules had also provided that those in the now-defunct Yuva Vani could work as radio jockeys or presenters till the age of thirty.

He said that the AIR administration had even earlier asked the radio jockeys to come forward to get the tests conducted, but none had done so.

Earlier in August following the uproar about the possible removal of AIR announcers and radio jockeys above 35 years of age, Prasar Bharati had denied the move but said it planned to conduct voice modulation tests to ensure suitability of the announcers and RJs.

Prasar Bharati sources, while reiterating that the rules provided for age bars for anchors and RJs, said the move to conduct voice modulation tests was ‘as a gesture of goodwill and recognition of the services of several casual announcers/RJs/Anchors who had served AIR with devotion and loyalty’.
Sheheryar said the tests will be conducted by agencies whose neutrality and credentials are beyond doubt.

Sheheryar said, “AIR has no plans whatsoever to sack anybody. We would conduct a voice test for all and ensure each casual/ RJs/Announcer gets a chance to prove their versatility in front of the microphone."

Earlier in mid-June, AIR had clarified that the directive asking certain presenters and radio jockeys to quit because they have crossed the age bar for the channels in which they were working was only implementation of the relevant audition rules.