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Features |  08 Aug 2012 20:36 |  By RnMTeam

Hrishi K: ôI never did radio for money, it is my passionö

MUMBAI: RAPA award winner and one of the most popular faces in the radio industry, RJ Hrishikesh Kannan aka Hrishi K has experienced various genres in radio before finally finding his passion in international music. After having mastered the art as a jock for over 19 years, Kannan has already planned his next move to get into news radio.

“In a decade from now maybe I would like to get into news radio and hopefully 10 years from now the government of India will listen and the next Arnab Goswami or Barkha Dutt will start happening in radio. I want to do what these two do on radio which is moderate Pranab Mukherjee one side with a Mahesh Jethmalani on the other and get into hard core news content which is what the BBC does with radio in the UK,” he comments.

After taking a hiatus for over a year, Kannan returned back to Radio One in April 2012 as an English jock hosting the breakfast show ‘Good Morning Mumbai’ from 7am-12pm on weekdays. Radio One’s shift from Hindi to English content was welcomed by him as bollywood music at that time comprised of a very niche music style that featured peppy, club numbers attracting the younger audiences and also creating a wide stagnant space in the radio industry.

Commenting on his hiatus Kannan states, “I was completely saturated with Hindi radio. I did a decade of playing Chikni Chameli, Shiela ki Jawani genre of music. I don’t deny bollywood, but it’s just that there was nothing new left for me to do in radio. I just reached a point at my life in May last year when after being on-air every single day hour upon hour and just doing bollywood news, gossip and playing bollywood tracks I reached ‘creative menopause’. I never did radio for the money because I have a flourishing voiceover career. Radio is my passion.”

While most leading radio players were taking strategic decisions changing their programming and content to suit the changing palette of the listeners, Radio One went ahead and took a major risk by making a complete switchover from Hindi to International music content. But with the radio industry being bogged down by factors like restriction of news broadcast on commercial stations and huge amounts of license fees to be paid amongst others, new and varied content often does not find the path to flourish.

Understanding the needs and requirements of functioning as a completely distinct station, Radio One allowed the creative freedom to its RJs with extensive research backed by standard operation procedures helping the station maintain its position in the shape-shifting market. The channel now features business interviews on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday while music and art related interviews on Thursday and Friday.

Kannan affirms, “There are certain basic guidelines and standard operation procedures and within that framework I am allowed tremendous creative freedom. I am very happy to say that guys like the chairman Tariq Ansari and the CEO Vineet Hukmani spent money on research and a lot of information gained through it helped a lot. Based on the findings, we decided that in the evening we should give the youth their Pitbull, Rihanna and club music and in the mornings when there is 30-35 plus driving listenership we decided to predominantly play 70s, 80s and 90s. We did not include music of the 60s because that is a little dated in terms of sound. What we do is we play 70s-90s music but in between we do slip in an Adele, John Mayer or Bruno Mars.”

Earlier international music was limited only to the television or internet space with channels like VH1 and sites including pk.com offering the content to music aficionados of the genre. But with the entry of Radio One into the space, listeners of the medium have an option of content to choose from.

Talking about the content of his show Kannan says, “I produce my own show so it’s a three-member team. I am the producer cum radio host, Cobbard is the music manager who lays down the music and I have an associate producer Rohit who does all the edit. We play about 60 songs on an average and try to fit in about 10-12 songs an hour with the ads coming in. My job is to basically source guests and to put them on-air and to talk to them and to generate content.”
Having the position of producer and host of the morning show, Kannan faces stiff competition from many other leading radio stations and their popular morning shows and RJs in terms of sales and revenue. “I don’t get into that because that’s really not a programming call. I try and get into programming issues so I provide the back end support for them to give them that particular byte or the sound byte which they will push in the given time. But yes, now the content will not change as the money has started pouring in,” he concludes.

Artist Aloud associate VP Soumini Sridhara Paul who came on board as a special ‘Guest Editor’ at Radioandmusic.com’s (RnM) office engaged in an interaction with Hrishikesh Kannan and contributed to the fifth anniversary celebrations of RnM.

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