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Interviews |  03 Sep 2007 14:43 |  By Aaishwari

Radio One RJ Annie Arakkal - Originality is the only thing that's appreciated at a radio station

29 years old, married and staying with her in-laws; a shopaholic who loves to frequent Bandra's Linking Road and Colaba Causeway; a Hard Rock Caf?© enthusiast. Also, an RJ with Radio One.

Annie Arakkal's isn't just your girl next door.....she's a radio jock, a scheduler, producer cum manager as well. The 'multi tasker' offers Aaishwari Chouhan a peek into her life and her take on the radio industry.

Excerpts:

How long has it been since you turned radio jockey?

I have been a radio jockey for two years now. Earlier, I was the in-house jock for Planet M for three years.


Were you inspired by anyone to turn to this profession?

No one in particular. But, anyone and everyone who spoke well and sounded good were my inspirations. I think the whole notion of knowing everything and delivering it effectively, so that the city is convinced of your views, inspired me to become a jock.


What is RJ Annie's USP?

It has to be the 'bubbliness' and cheerfulness I get to the show. Also, my voice - which always gets people in a good mood!


How did you become a 'multi-tasker'?

I started assisting at Go FM initially. After the RJ I was assisting moved out, I take over as a jock. I began hosting the top 30 countdown show and then, had a slot for myself. But, let me clarify - everyone at Radio One is a multi-tasker. So am I! Like Malini, who's an RJ, is also our website designer. Similarly, I am the scheduler, producer, look into the managerial aspects and am a jock too!


Many RJs nowadays have nicknames for themselves. How come you don't have one?

Nicknames are a very 'station' thing. If one jock at a station has a nickname, you will notice the others following suit. As for me, I thought of using a different name when Go turned Radio One, since Annie, being a Catholic name, wouldn't have fit the bill at Radio One. But people here wanted me to continue with the name 'Annie' and so I am what I am!
A lot of RJs have been hopping stations of late. Is that because the talent pool is limited, or because stations don't want to take on the onus of grooming fresh talent themselves?
The radio industry is in a very nascent stage right now. People are still trying to understand radio as a medium. And every station wants to take in the experienced lot since it would help it function better. Hence, there is poaching happening big time in this sector. But one can't say that freshers are completely overlooked. The inflow of freshers is also there, but it'sat a much slower rate.

Is Annie a brand or a brand ambassador?

Brand ambassadors are for the brands they represent and I represent Radio One as a brand. Hence, I become a brand ambassador!


How do you see your career shaping up in the future?

At least for the next three years, I would like to stick on where I am. But since I have been an actor since my childhood, I would like to give acting a chance as well, though I haven't thought of it very seriously as of now.

Once you become a veteran at the RJ game, what do you graduate to?

It is an RJ's call completely. An RJ can go on to become a production person, or a programming person or even get into the creative side, or can even stick to jocking alone. It basically depends on what you see ahead of you.


How do you deal with unwelcome or cranky calls on air?

Our listeners always want to be recognised as listeners. But if they start acting very fussy or funny, I think the best way to react is by giving them some straight talk. Also, approaching them and chatting with them is a great way of dealing with them effectively.


How much is originality appreciated in a radio station?

Originality is the only thing that is appreciated at a radio station. People constantly want something new and not something that is copied from someone. The style of RJing has changed today, and one should gel with this change or else, s/he will perish.


How would you describe the Radio One listener?

Radio One listeners have a great time, hence they are always fun loving people. Since we provide fresh humour every 20 minutes, catering to college students, housewives and the men, our listeners keep coming back to us every 20 minutes for their dose of masti fatafaat.


How do you keep abreast of what's happening in the world in order to talk about it on radio and being a multi-tasker when do you find the time for it?

Well, it's about making time for it. One needs to figure out what's happening and what's not with the crowd. Also, latest happenings can't be just traced by reading newspapers or surfing online; many a times when I sit down to make my show, chatting with people around to know what's new, helps a lot. It's like running a search off-air to prepare for activities on-air.

What do you prefer... being live on air, or recording a show to be aired later?

Ask any jock and he will say, 'a live show, any day!' A live show is always good and gives a different kind of kick.


Does hosting a morning or an evening slot matter to the RJs?

To me, it doesn't matter at all. I am a very station oriented person and not an RJ alone. Hence, I look at things from a broader perspective.


Very quickly then, request for four songs to be played back to back!

Saathiya from Darling, Dil kya kare from Salaam-e-ishq, some RDB track and finally, Bol na halke halke from Jhoom Barabar Jhoom.

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