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Interviews |  13 Dec 2017 19:57 |  By Zinal Dedhia

RJ Raunac's Mumbai to Delhi journey via Lucknow

Radio happened to this RJ natural. After various jobs in the marketing and service industry, he understood that radio was the only path he wanted to walk on. Well, we are talking about RED FM Delhi’s famous RJ Raunac known for his character Bauaa. The RJ is happy with his career graph and fan following in Delhi and he does not want to disrupt this in any way.

In conversation with Radioandmusic, Raunac shares everything that he likes about being on radio; in fact, he takes us on a quick tour of his RJing journey from Mumbai to Delhi via Lucknow. Excerpts.

How did radio happen to you?

After graduation in 2005, I started with my MBA in 2006 and then did a lot of internships and jobs at call centres. During my MBA days, I joined AIR (All India Radio) in 2006 itself where I was doing a Sunday show for three years called Hit and Hot. After this, I was with an import-export company which eventually shut due to recession. That did made my career goals clearer. So, I applied for jobs at private FM stations and finally got through RED FM. I was called nine times for the interview. During the 10th round, I met Nisha Narayanan (CEO of RED FM).

As I was from Mumbai, the team wanted me to join somewhere in the western markets only. But, I thought if you really want to go long term in radio, one should polish his/her Hindi and Urdu well and for this I chose Lucknow, also my natives are from Ayodhya. Luckily the station had a vacancy in its Lucknow station and that was my first shift from Mumbai to Lucknow. Then they shifted me to Delhi in 2010. Red FM gives the space of starting from smaller markets to grow into a bigger space.

Did you ever think of getting back to Mumbai?

There was a time in 2012 when I thought of shifting to Mumbai as my family is here but the team did not want me to go so I stayed back. Now, even I don’t want to shift to Mumbai. There is so much of connection with the team and the audience and that does not let me go.

How was it working at AIR?

AIR was very challenging. In spite of the content and music of the host’s choice, one has to go through a lot of restrictions like no callers, no pranks, no celebrities, minimum ads and still spend three hours on-air. So, I used to talk about happens in the city, Bollywood and cricket.

Were your parents happy with your decision of being an RJ?

My parents were surprised when they got to know that I want to be an RJ. They wanted me to at least have a degree for a secured future. Also, they wondered how much I will make on radio. I tried hard to explain how radio works and what value an RJ holds.

Tell us about your stay in Lucknow?

I was getting a show in Mumbai but I had understood the fact that bigger the city lower the profile, lower the city bigger the profile. So, that is how I went to Lucknow and they gave me a morning show called Morning No.1. It was a news-based show along with current topics, happening in the city/nationally. It has to be trendy and cool in nature as the brand.

When you shifted to Delhi in 2012, which show did you begin with?

I started with a duet jock evening show with RJ Swati in Delhi. After four months when the team realised I can handle the show alone, they shifted (RJ) Swati to the morning show and I continued with the evening show for two more years. I was then shifted to the morning show in 2014 which I am correctly doing called The Morning No. 1 from 7 am to 11 am.

What are the challenges that you’ve faced in a morning show?

Recently due to smog in Delhi, it was difficult to drive on the roads of Delhi. The 20 minutes travel takes around 40- 45 minutes. I have got late due to traffic situations and smog so during this time we did not keep the show blank. In fact, I started the show while I was on my way giving people live updates around the places I have travelled from. I was on-air through the phone.

How did Bauaa happen?

Now Bauaa has become very phenomenal. People know me as Bauaa more than Raunac. It's like Maggi and Nestle, where people are familiar with Maggi more over Nestle (laughs).

Bauaa started in December 2011. My friend and I were doing a prank on someone and that is when we created the character Bauaa on-air. Also, we created a voice suiting the character and that day it got very popular. So, we decided to do it the next day too. We did this for a week and realised this is something really liked by people and it is catchy so we continued it.

Has Bauaa ever landed you in an awkward situation?

We get galis all the time so, I don’t remember any such situation on-air. But we played a prank on someone internally in office. He sent a mail saying he was embarrassed with my prank and does not want to work with me for some time and marked it to the HR and the entire team. It was a shocking incident and I had to pay heavily.

Tell us about your television show ‘Fun Ki Baat’?

This Zee TV show began in February 2017. Few of my Journalist friends used to listen to me on radio and they felt I can do the political satire very well and they wanted me to do it for television too. So, we all got together with ideas for the content and went on-air. We started the show during the UP elections which we thought was a good time. Also, after Shekhar Suman, today we do not have any political satire shows in India.We have got a great response from the show. The best part is, the audience that never watched news on TV is now our avid viewer.

The title and designing of the weekend show is done by me, whereas the content is by me and my journo friends.