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Interviews |  23 Sep 2015 21:44 |  By RnMTeam

The call from Radio City was the biggest turning point for me: RJ Shonali

MUMBAI: Shonali Ranade, best known as RJ Shonali, is a Radio Jockey who is completely in love with her job. In fact, she loves her job so much that she does not mind working even on her week-offs. Shonali, a huge music fan, also claimed the studio is her most favourite place in the world.

In conversation with, the pretty RJ talks about her journey in the radio industry and more.

When and how did you get into RJing?

I was doing Mass communication in journalism in Aurangabad because I wanted to be a reporter. During that time I was also working as a casual announcer in Akashvani. Soon I completed the course and moved on to take up a job as a reporter in a publication. However, I did not enjoy the job, and I missed being a casual announcer. At that time a private radio station emerged in Aurangabad – a place that did not have radio stations earlier – and I wanted to grab the opportunity but I missed it.

What do you mean by you “missed it”?

Actually, I got married around the same time. So, the loss was disappointing, a feeling I shared with my husband. Without any ado, he put my resume on a job site, and in couple of days I got a call from another radio station in the city, where I got a job as an RJ. I worked there for good three years, and the credit for that goes to my husband.

How did Radio City happen?

Things were going pretty well when I got the call from Radio City, Pune. That call turned out to be the biggest turning point for me. I asked my husband if he would shift to a new city for me and he agreed. That was when we shifted to Pune, and I have been here for five years now. 

What was it like to start all over when you moved to Pune?

It was challenging, initially, given the fact that I was an RJ in Aurangabad for three years. The city had accepted me and I had accepted the city. So, coming to Pune meant starting that journey all over again. The most important thing for me – as it is for any other RJ – was to understand the city. I had to connect with the listeners. One thing I have found is that listeners tend to get hooked onto an RJ that they are used to, and any replacement is not welcomed easily. Fortunately for me, things went well. I got a week to prepare before going on-air and I was accepted. Now, I love my job so much that I would not mind dressing up for work even on Sundays.

How did you connect with the city?

My mom is from Pune, so I used to spend a lot of my vacations with my maternal grandparents in the city, and that is how there was always this connect. Apart from that, I believe that three things help an RJ connect with listeners – style, a one-to-one connection with listeners, and content. If these three elements are strong, listeners will pay attention to you. An RJ has to be the person next door, and not a ‘tees maar khan’Personally, I like keeping it simple, which is why I have listeners calling in to share their personal stories. 

What are the qualities of being a good RJ?

General knowledge is important, and the content has to be strong. You cannot talk about your personal life and let out your personal frustration on-air. You have to talk about things that will make a difference to your listeners’ lives. 

Do you plans to get into TV or films?

I have done a couple of shows in the past, one of which was on 9x Jhakaas. I have also got an opportunity from a big Marathi director to work in his film, but I do not plan to take it. Basically, I have not enjoyed the work that I have done on TV as much as I enjoy radio. So, I would like to focus on radio. 

What is it that you like about radio?

I like the positive vibe that I get in my studio. It does not matter how stressed I am, it all disappears the minute I am in that booth. Another thing that I like is my listeners. Whatever I am today is because of them. Apart from that I am an ardent music lover. 

In your opinion, what can hamper an RJ’s growth in a radio station?

RJs like freedom at work. For instance, I can select content that I want to put on-air, but not all RJs get that freedom. These limitations make things mundane. In addition to that, a work environment that does not let RJs express themselves makes them a part of office politics. Not getting an opportunity to select one’s own music can also be frustrating. These things do not let one grow, but luckily for me, Radio City has given me complete freedom, and that probably plays a part in why I love what I do.