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Year Ender |  09 Jan 2013 19:08 |  By RnMTeam

Overall 2012 was a 'fab' year: RJ Malishka

Red FM radio jockey (RJ) Malishka:

MUMBAI: Last year’s tragic radio joke incident which led to the suicide of nurse Jacintha has brought to light the immense influence RJs have on the population and the social responsibilities that go with the job.

Although the joke played by Australian radio RJs were meant to be ‘harmless fun’ and similar pranks have been played by their counterparts in India, the tragedy highlighted the unpredictable reaction of humans/ listeners to unexpected situations.

We do pull pranks but we do take into account the fact that how would it have felt if the prank happened to me. When an accident happens they look for people to blame. We at Red FM also make sure that people are aware of what’s going on and they consent to it being aired.

The unexpected and tragic incident with nurse Jacintha who killed herself out of shame of being ‘fooled’ by Australian RJs who pretended to be the Queen of England enquiring about her pregnant daughter-in-law was a wake-up call to RJs around the world on how badly their antics could go wrong. This invariably has brought home their inherent responsibilities to listeners and society at large as public figures with following.

I know this for a fact that when you put yourself out for so long, you (inevitably) have a following and credibility among your listeners. This awareness of responsibility keeps me in my toes. I always make it a point to speak my mind, admitting when I am wrong or when I change my perspective on an issue.

For instance, in another recent socially- sensitive issue, I was open about doubts to the effectiveness of candle light marches for causes regarding the savage gang rape of 23 year-old medical student ‘Nirbhaya’ in Delhi.

Regarding the recent ‘Nirbhaya’ gang rape case in Delhi, I had gone ahead and said that I don’t believe in candlelight marches and its effectiveness to bring about changes. And I spoke openly about my views on such issues. Listeners understand your vulnerabilities and goodness. I don’t want to influence people but people say, “You said the right thing” and “We listen to you”. Similarly, we were first to support Anna Hazare’s movement.

Getting on to a macro level, last year was dominated by Bollywood songs- item numbers which were released at regular intervals and which all went down very well with listeners. The almost non- existent Hindi pop was conspicuous by its absence.

It was Bollywood music for radio including the older film tracks. One might get a pop hit like ‘Kolavari’ or a ‘Gangnam Style’ once in a while. Only Honey Singh became popular as an independent artist.

Overall, 2012 was a ‘fab’ year for me and my station Red FM in terms of connecting with listeners across different programmes and getting the industry’s recognition by winning nine awards.

Popularity wise, we were alive and kicking. We had innovative programmes like ‘Malishka Hava Main Hai’ where we went out on the streets, ‘Crime Chi Gheun Tak’ where we showcased real-life heroes. Our ‘Bajaao for a Cause’ which was launched in 2011 did well. We also joined up with the National association for Blind (NAB) for Brielle and raised Rs 40-50 lakhs in three weeks including Rs 5 lakhs from Salman Khan.

I also attended the International Radio Festival (IRF) in Zurich where I represented India on the world map. FM radio in India is just getting started. Its just 10 years old and other countries have had it for 20-40 years. Radio is primarily a local medium but there’s no reason it can’t go beyond. It has great potential in terms of creativity and Indians have the advantage of being able to communicate in our local language and in English. We plan to go online soon and will continue to entertain listeners this year also.