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Features |  28 Jun 2013 17:05 |  By RnMTeam

RJ Smitha: Talking too much does not translate to a good RJ

Radio Mirchi says that as per RAM, its RJ Smitha Dixit’s show ‘Hi Bengaluru’ has the largest listenership on the morning time slot (7am-11am). Taking on the issues plaguing Namma Bengaluru,  Smitha discusses topics with people who matter, voicing her opinion whilst ensuring that listener’s get their morning dose of fun to kick start their day. Known as a thinking jock among the RJing circle, RJ Smitha is a talking newspaper as she picks up the headlining topics of the day.

An avid reader, Smitha has a nose for fragrances, loves and boasts of a huge collection of perfumes. A BCom graduate from Bengaluru, Smitha started off her career with AIR before moving onto to Radio One for the morning show with its popular music jock Prithvi. Smitha now is an ‘old hand’ so to say at Radio Mirchi Bengaluru.

I was in the US for two years. I worked for a community radio station called Radio Salaam Namaste. It was a daily show in the evening. I used to jock in English as I don’t have a good command over Hindi.

In the US, the listener database was of Indians and Pakistanis. There is this one show that I can never forget. It was a weekly once show with a law firm. There was a representative of the firm who would be in the studio and callers called in asking her about legal issues pertaining to visas, citizenship, and litigation etc. What was a shock to me was that there were a lot of people who were staying there illegally. They used to call in saying their visas had expired and they wanted to go home but could not. My heart would go out to them. They would never reveal their identity.

The music played was Hindi. The topics chosen on-air were Indian. The artists spoken about were Indian sometimes Pakistanis. And given the tension between India and Pakistan, it used to be a little difficult handling certain topics on-air. Its difficult and almost next to impossible to take sides sometimes.

Most of the listeners were warm and I think somewhere the Indianess of the radio station kept the memories of a lot of immigrants alive. Old, very old, young, very young, everyone was a listener.

I think somewhere even I found respite working for an Indian radio station. I think Indian radio to a large extent is far more professional, in terms of technology and using the medium to its fullest.

There is a difference in the content spoken on-air here and there. In the US, I think people are far more receptive to straight forward talk than here. Over here we need to talk with care, people take things personally. So when you are even saying the most obvious thing we need to sugar coat it.

In India, there have been many a times where language has played a very important role with the listeners. When I speak in English off air with any one- they will be like you sound so different; the minute I switch to Kannada, they would be like -- oh yeah now I know you---your way of talking is the same as on-air.

Well, I think somewhere the medium has helped me grow and stay sunshine. I have learnt to see the positive side to everything. I do get to hear it quite often that I have a very vibrant voice and it energizes many when they tune into the show. Somewhere it also comes with a responsibility that I can almost never have a bad day. The slightest dip in my voice, I get messages from listeners asking me to cheer up.

Once I am in front of the mike, I almost always forget anything bad or sad that has happened. If I may say, this medium has helped me cope with some bad phases of my life. It just cheers me up, the talk, the songs, the listeners all of it. 4 hours it’s a world of my own and I totally love it.

I would also like to share that though music has always been a part of my life and I have always been a listener of all kinds of music, RJing happened by chance. I had a full time job in a BPO insurance company and was desperate for a change. A friend of mine recommended RJing as a part time jock in All India Radio because he thought I had a flair for talking. And thus I became an RJ . See sometimes getting bored helps, you never know what you stumble upon.

One advice that I would like to give to the budding radio jocks is that it is very important to Be yourself ! You can’t fake it for long. This definitely is an aspirational job. It’s important to be well informed, and not be regressive. Everyone talks, but one needs to groom oneself to be an RJ. Although the style of talking is casual, certain styles of talking don’t sound nice on radio. So one needs to find a neutral ground where it does not sound annoying.

Moreover, I believe with the arrival of FM Phase III there is scope for new RJs. There is a dearth for creative people. But I would like to clear the myth that talking too much does not translate to a good RJ. You need to be well informed, opinionated, progressive, have a flair for conversation, one must at least read the news paper and know what’s happening around. Only then can you be an opinion leader, one that people look up to.