RadioandMusic
| 21 Sep 2020
RJ Meenakshi: I represented India in all its colours and vitality at IRF 2014

MUMBAI: After representing India at the IRF 2014, RJ Meenakshi is back home and has resumed hosting the Chandigarh morning show 'Salaam Chandigarh' on MY FM from 7 to 11am. This week’s Musical Rendezvous highlights the RJ’s experience in Zurich and the journey to come.

IRF Experience

As a radio professional in India, we rarely get the opportunity or exposure to international radio stations, but fortunately I got the opportunity. There were DJs and RJs from almost 80 countries participating, and many were presenting their country’s style and technology. They really helped me expand my view. I felt like a frog from a well thrown into the sea.

Exchange of information

It was more a give-and-taken situation for me and other RJs/DJs. I would like to believe that they learnt a lot from me. The DJs I meet followed the music format, where they play more music and provide information about the song. We mix lot of elements in our RJing as we have content and music. We play multiple roles of informing and playing music. I believe that content wise we are more enriched in India. I learnt of a new software, which was different compared to what we use here; and was exposed to new kind of music.

Feedback

People present at IRF (International Radio Festival) who heard my show, kept saying that they liked my energy. The floor was empty during other shows, but people unknowingly ended up dancing to the songs I was playing. I played songs in various regional languages like Marathi, Guajarati, Hindi, Bengali and more as I had to represent the sound of India. I talked a lot about India so everybody was attracted to it.

Preparation for IRF

It was a madhouse when we were preparing ourselves. We were making minute changes. I am one of those people who like to prep a lot. The moment I was announced the winner, I was thinking of what I should do once I go on-air from Zurich. First, we thought we should do Bollywood and then we thought everyone does that and India is not just Bollywood. If I want to represent India’s music than I cannot just play Bollywood, so we did a mix and match. For instance, we played the track ‘Chikni Chameli’ which was followed by the Marathi version, and then we played ‘Tune Mari Entriyaan’ which was followed by the Bengali version. It took one week for us to decide what kind of music we would like to play; each song was picked carefully. We took songs from different parts of the country so that we represented India’s music.

There were lot of changes that took place when we were there since it was a live show. The ‘Royal Ruler’ Tony Prince came to see my show and he started dancing and he wanted to be part of the show.

Reaction from the listeners

My show took place in Zurich in the morning which was 3-5 pm in India through live streaming. I was getting messages from clients and listeners while I was on-air, which pushed me to do better. The show was a live hit as it was streamed in India on all 17 stations of MY FM. I am still getting congratulatory messages from all parts of the world and people from different walks of life.

The most encouraging part was when I was made know by my listeners that they took time off to tune into my live show. It made me really happy. It never happens today that people have time to listen to the radio at a particular time. Chandigarh people informed me that it was raining there, so many of them went on a long drive and played my show in their cars.

Special gifts

I have got special gifts from Zurich and I took gifts from India to people there. I gave away the gifts to people who came to my show and the friends I made on the show. The gifts that I got from Zurich are for my listeners. I am running a contest and I will be giving winners things like Swiss army knife, Swiss chocolate, drinks, teddy bears and bells. I am giving my listeners the feel of Zurich here.

Experiment with timing of the show

I have done evening show, night show and then morning show and every time I change the time of the show, it has done well and I hope this continues. I like taking risks and fulfilling my targets. It is challenging but if there is a passion that drives your work then everything looks easy. My parents say that I should pay the radio because I love radio so much. I like music, drama, and offering my opinions. I am pursuing a passion, not just a job.

Acting

I always wanted to act and my parents
feared that their daughter would be spoilt. I wanted to be an actress but Radio is something that I love. Meena Kumari and Madhuri Dixit inside me are trying to come out. I have done two plays under the National School of Drama and for both plays, I got the best actress award. With Indian People's Theatre Association, I have done 17 plays.

Music

Our music is auto-logged so the music on-air is played according to the choice of the listeners. We carry a research every week so that the latest song is played.

Talking about my music, I like all kinds of music. I like classical, semi-classical, pop, rap, jazz and international music.

Journey on Radio

I have been RJing for ten years and I can say that a lot has changed over years. When I joined, listeners used to enjoy anything we did on radio. But today, they say that RJs talk a lot and it is true. Today, there are many RJs who talk a lot, but you have to talk sense. You have to add value to your listeners’ lives. I have to work hard on the content that I present on-air. It is important we work hard otherwise we will be oblivious to things.

News on Radio

As an RJ, I believe that we will present news on the radio in a way we can present our opinion and that has been our style. It is surprising that for so long radio was deprived of giving news. Now there is some regulation in place for news.

Advice to RJs

First thing that I usually tell them is that you should not become an RJ only because you like talking. Everyone likes talking. Everyone should have the passion when it comes to pursuing their career. It is just another job. If I do not give minute by minute information, then I will lose my audience. RJ should have a different personality. You should be socially active.

I share my experience with other RJs and tell them about various types of presentation styles on the radio.

Future plans

‘Badhte jaana hai fitrat hamari jo manzil pe pahunche manzil badha de’. It was like I wanted to be the best radio jock and now that I have been given that title, so now I have to think of something new. I have to set a bigger goal for me but I will surely have a bigger target soon.