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News |  04 Sep 2012 19:49 |  By 

RJ Mantra: "Listeners remain unaware of industry reality"

MUMBAI: As the radio industry is gradually growing to establish itself on par in the media and entertainment space, radio jockeys are slowly shifting mediums to explore more lucrative avenues.

While leading jocks like Tarana, Salil and Malishka have made their way into the television space, RJ Mantra has also taken a hiatus of around a year from radio to focus on his TV commitments.

Speaking with about his new ventures, Mantra states, "Television is just happening and even though radio is my first love, it was becoming increasingly difficult to take out five days in a week for my show with so many shoots coming along. But radio is not something that I have given up on. 24 hours are very less for me; I wish I could get more hours in a day."

Last seen as a participant on the show 'Comedy Circus', Mantra Mugdh now hosts 'Dirty Khabar' on Set Max and will be hosting an upcoming music based show 'Tippany' on Sony Mix (15 September).

Having been in the business for a long duration, the radio jock has witnessed the growth of radio as a medium over the years. While most stations now have changed their content offerings and formats, music has been the constant factor amongst all the changes. But inspite of that, the medium still awaits backing from the I&B ministry regarding phase III expansions and the music royalty issues.

Commenting on the changing face of radio Mantra claims, "The listener never sees the real picture of what the radio industry goes through. But I started my radio career when it was worse than this and at that point of time we didn't even make enough money to pay ourselves but atleast now we are doing better than that. I hope that in the future radio gets more share in the advertising pie and is not considered as a poor cousin of any other medium."

Mantra has evolved into the music space from being a VJ for Channel V, to an RJ with Red FM and now a host for Sony Mix. With most music channels turning into fiction based GEC's, music channels including Mix, Masti and MTunes amongst others are the ones who are actually playing music at this point of time with mostly music based content and prime focus on pure play music.

"Unfortunately, music channels are turning into GEC's and only a few niche music channels are remaining today, so as far as bollywood music is concerned this worked out pretty well for Mix and me," he comments.

Bollywood music has shifted shape and become a different music field altogether but with music channels opting for non-music content, the genre has become a niche segment in the industry today.

Affirming the fact Mantra says, "It's very unfortunate because I have grown up watching channels like MTV and V and this is where we got our dose of music from. Jumping onto the GEC bandwagon is very easy and tempting and I do not blame any channel for whatever they are or not doing."

Moreover, having worked on different platforms as an artiste, he claims that choosing one platform to present your art and skills to the audiences is very difficult. "For me mediums don't really matter that much but I love radio and it is my first love and I am enjoying television too at this point of time," he quips.

But with the bug of television having already bitten the jock, will he return for another innings on the radio medium is a question on the listeners' minds.

"Well it's been 12 years that I have been on-air and this is the first year that I have taken a break from radio due to several commitments. I will definitely be back on radio sometime in the future," Mantra affirms.