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Interviews |  14 Jun 2013 19:37 |  By RnMTeam

RJ Sangeeta: Music of the 90s was the era of romance

Reliving the magical era of the 90s with a lot of peppy talk every morning, is the vivacious RJ Sangeeta of Dheemi Local at Radio Mirchi. Being her first job as a jock, she has enjoyed an enriching journey with the network and continues to romance the medium. Taking over this week’s Musical Rendezvous, the RJ tells her readers about her journey and love in the 90s:-

It’s been five years for me at Radio Mirchi; I started my career with them. My story is actually a little filmy because I finished answering my last exam and I got a call for auditions, and within two days of giving the auditions I was already at the job. This has been my first job experience and I have understood that radio is a very responsible medium. A lot of people just think that RJs go on-air and play songs, or that there are so many ads on radio but what happens behind it all is what only a radio jockey knows.

There is a lot of multi-tasking and responsibility that jocks carry on their shoulders. We need to understand that radio is a live medium, unlike TV where the viewers only see and don’t interact. The minute any natural calamity takes place, it’s radio that is used the most. I think it’s a huge responsibility to be a radio jockey; of course there is an entertainment element which is a major part of it too.

I currently host ‘Dheemi Local’ which airs between 11am-2pm, where I play songs of the 90s, the era that I have grown up listening to. It’s just a nostalgic trip about the love and romance in the 90s, so I play a lot of romantic numbers. There are also a lot of guests from that era including composers, directors, actors and actresses who I interact with and it just takes me back to those days.

Nowadays whichever film song you listen to, you will notice that there is not much recall value. But the best part of the 90s was that there is a super recall value, whether you talk about ‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’, ‘Ye Kaali Kaali Aankhen’, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and more. During those times, most of the songs from one album were hits. Our playlist does depend on which song has the most recall, as it shows that many people like that song. But we have conducted a lot of research to understand what the audience really wants and make a list of songs and play that on the show.

Music of the 90s was the era of romance, where music overpowered everything. Even today people talk about Aashiqui. That was an era of melody, now it’s more about remixes, technology and more.

I am lucky I have got a chance to interact with so many musicians of the 90s like Kumar Sanu, Jatin and Lalit Pandit amongst others. They told me that back then when they made music it used to be live with people actually sitting on the instruments. Now everything is so technologically driven that the essence of music is gone.

I also host a Mirchi Remote Control segment, talking about what is happening on a particular show on television. Earlier I used to think that college going students do not know much about what is happening on television, but most of the calls that I get now are from them. They are the ones who give me a lot of updates. There are a lot of housewives who listen to the show as well, but I do get a lot of calls from people at office listening to me and college students. 11am-2pm is the time when most of my listeners are at home. So it’s a mix of audiences that I cater to.

There are a lot of challenges being an RJ as radio is a very dynamic medium. My show is live so it’s not that I only talk about the songs from 90s or television. The challenge is to be with the city and know what is happening in the city at a given point of time. To be extremely updated, is what we at Mirchi do. I talk about things that are bothering us all, be it traffic or exams affecting students and more. For all this, I need to be informed too. I can’t just go and say anything on the show, so that is another challenge. There have been a lot of times when the city has been under crisis, and how you handle a show then is what matters. You need to be responsible and give the right information, as there are a lot of people who depend on radio for information.

So like most jocks, I also do a lot of preparation for my show. If there are too many challenges, you won’t enjoy the show. So I enjoy my show to the fullest and try to be completely stress free as we also have to interact a lot with celebrities.

My favourite interview has to be the one with Amitabh Bachchan and Vidya Balan. I remember this was after a long time that Amitabh Bachchan was doing a radio interview for Paa, and since Jeeturaaj was on leave I was doing the morning show. He was on the show with us and he came as Auro. Although it was challenging for me, it was also the most fun interview because I had a great time talking to both of them. We were all dressed as college and school kids to welcome him, and he was really touched.

Another interview I remember was of Madhuri Dixit when she came back. I used to keep connecting with her when she was in US for her birthday and more. So when I met her for the first time, for a person who has grown up in the 90s, it was a great experience. The interview was done by me and RJ Neha, and we went mad.

Last year itself, I met Sachin Tendulkar twice. And while everyone asked him questions around cricket, I asked him very different things like, ‘Where do you eat vada pav from?’, ‘Where did you spend your growing up years?’ and more. That was another moment, I think I got five minutes with him and I asked him questions non-stop.

I also remember one incident when my car had been damaged during the ‘bandh’ on 31 May. I was one of the few people whose private car was broken. I was coming for my show when one guy threw a huge brick on my car. I was just taken aback and lodged a police complaint. I messaged the commissioner of police then, Arup Patnaik who really helped me. He was prompt enough to reply back and made sure that I reach office safely. At that time I did not think of returning home because I thought I could get access to them because I am working in Mirchi. But what about all those people who cannot. I felt much more responsible that I needed to give back to the city and help people. And the same day one very important interview was with Arup Patnaik.

I think listeners are very sweet. Sometimes they just call up and share small incidents of their life, and I feel very humbled that they feel I am a part of their family. The weirdest thing I have seen in these five years is the gifts that listeners send me. Usually RJs get a lot of gifts from listeners like chocolates, flowers and more. My listeners majorly send me food, because whenever I say something on-air about food, they send it to me. 

In fact, RJs also make a lot of errors on-air, and when the listener points it out to you that is the kind of relationship I like. And this is the kind of relation I want to maintain with them. They always demand songs like ‘Pehla Nasha’, KK’s ‘Yaaron’ and ‘Pal’, the entire album of Aashiqui and ‘Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaaye’.

The role of an RJ is very important as listeners also want to vent out their feelings. But we as RJs should know what to put on-air. I personally enjoy talking to listeners because you get to know so much about their lives.

Thus I believe training is very important for an RJ. Somewhere I feel people lack focus, passion and training, because of so many options available today. People should only come to radio if they are passionate about the medium. I feel an RJ has the power to bring a change, so you need to multitask, have presence of mind, be witty and spontaneous, observe and know the city.

I remember when I used to travel by local train for my show, I would put on the earphones and put the music on mute and listen to people’s conversations. You have no idea how much content I have got for my show from there. There are people trying to fix a problem, talk about a TV show, solve civic issues and many more. There is so much to learn from the city.

I think whatever the listeners want; we are ready to provide them that. Earlier, I used to not talk about television on my show. But the segment is huge and I have to talk about it. So what works today, might not work tomorrow. So we are open to make changes and experiment with the show, provided that the listeners enjoy it.