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Interviews |  24 Aug 2011 12:24 |  By Poonam

RJ Malishka: 'I speak directly from my heart'

IRF, RAPA and Promax award winner, known for her trademark line 'Akkhi Mumbai Ko Nachaungi', Red FM's RJ Malishka has created her distinguished unique identity among Mumbaikars and a popular fan following that rivals some of the biggest names in radio in the world. She is admired for her energy, joie de vivre and undoubtedly a great crowd pulling ability. Imposing abundant self confidence the jock firmly believes, If you are loyal and hardworking with your work then money will automatically follow you.... RJ Malishka is completely in love with her listeners and sometimes only her laughter acts as a stress buster for her listeners and makes them happy.

In a conversation, RJ Malishka without mincing any words speaks her heart out on Morning No.1 completing six years, her glorious journey in the radio industry and Red FM's contribution in getting her the fame, name and recognition that she enjoys today.

Walk me through your academic background and when did you realize you wanted to take up radio jockeying  as a career?
I used to sing in a band at my college St Xavier's (in Mumbai) from where I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree. After taking a year's gap, I did an MA from Mumbai University followed by Mass Communication from Sophia College. I always wanted to do something creative or performance oriented. For three months I also interned with ad guru Prahlad Kakkar and learnt a lot from him, but the advertising field did not excite me much. I also did voicing for Discovery in Hindi but was still very confused about my career. I wanted to do something that blended creativity and the thrill of a live performance. Fortunately, private FM boomed at that time and I worked with Win 94.6 FM for two years. Later, I joined Rediff Radio for seven months after which Red FM happened.

Throw light on your journey with Red FM?

Red FM has grown and taken me from place to place, the level of confidence in myself as a person has increased considerably through radio. It's been six years in the same place and according to me �Morning No.1' is probably the longest running breakfast show in the country on private FM.

Red FM started out with a tag line �Bajaate Raho' and it is one of the most beautiful taglines ever heard. Whenever I go to train RJs in 0ur network cities I always tell them to use our tag line because there is nothing like it. A lot of pioneering effort has gone into making Red FM the station it is today. Red FM is a radio station with a soul and an attitude. It is bold, young and unabashed, never afraid to call a spade a spade. We are not obnoxious or abrasive but we do encourage our listeners to speak out and think for themselves. Red FM is young at heart and the radio station that represents the youth of the country best.

�Morning No. 1' has completed six years. Going down the memory lane share one campaign which actually touched your heart apart from the award winning social initiatives undertaken on the show?

The advent of 'Morning No.1,' RJ Malishka and the tagline 'Baajate Raho' all came together six years back.

We have initiated many social campaigns and mostly have won awards for most of them. One campaign that I am very proud of was â€?Malishka ka Jasoos' which happened last year. It was a  campaign that got the listener involved in the generation of on air content. The listeners could call me or SMS any time and share their stories which they wanted me to carry on the show. Through the campaign we did a lot of hard hitting stuff that made people think. To name a few we got a drug raid done based on a tip off from a listener who shared the information with us. Another time, a taxiwala called in and informed me that mujra is still happening in the city. People were hooked to such stories and a lot of effort went into the campaign.

'Bajaao for a Cause' is another campaign which we do every year. Through this campaign we have undertaken many social causes like providing computers to children belonging to financially weak backgrounds. We also associated with �Make a Wish Foundation' and helped fulfill the wishes of children with terminal illness, the next year we collaborated with ISKCON and raised over Rs 30 lakh for midday meals.

There is a huge credibility factor also attached with these campaigns as people believe in you, that if you are doing it, talking about it on air it will reach the common man.  People participate in these causes by contributing their money, time, ideas and tears. I am very proud of all these campaigns. In these six years there has been a huge effort in brand building with listeners, authorities and celebrities, and the common man's support has made the brand more powerful.

How does it feel being one of the most loved RJs?

Radio is my family, probably the most important element in my life. In my six years of memorable voyage, I have experienced that radio is the most impactful medium. Today, RJs have become youth icons and are not limited to only playing music on FM Channels. Jocks are a part of the consciousness of the city and are considered as somebody whose opinion matter. The common man believes and looks up to them as kind of a family member with whom they can share their personal problems, or sometimes as a social activist or a political leader who will help change things. There is a very strong emotional connect that has developed through radio with the common man over the years.

Are radio shows impromptu or scripted?

There is no scripted show on Red FM. Scripted shows are syndicated shows and recorded shows. Radio goes live and there is no scripted show on radio as of now. We are talking every two minutes,  it is not possible for us to script our shows. The only possibility is the planning and preparation that goes before airing these shows. Going live is my essence and pride; I hate to record a show.

What does it take to make the Morning No 1 team show go live daily?

The �Morning No.1' team consists of four members, along with a producer and an outdoor broadcasting team. At the end of every show the entire team evaluates the show discussing angles like relevance, entertainment, how topical it was with the news happenings in the city and what could have been better. The team constantly strives to be innovative with every show. Ideas and execution are the two most important and different things on radio, and it is very important to be a master in both of them. So relevance, research, trend mapping, feeling the pulse of the city, huge emotional connect with listeners are all the elements that go into making 'Morning No.1'.

Does fame/recognition bring in additional responsibilities and expectations from the listeners?

There are some additional responsibilities which come courtesy carrying the �famous RJ' tag, but my fame is completely liberal. It doesn't restrict me from living a common man's life and so I am enjoying it completely. Fame has indeed increased my confidence and that is the only way it has changed me. Radio has given me recognition in the city as well as the freedom to live life my way. I speak directly from my heart and people expect me to do that. People recognize me on the basis of my voice. It's beautiful and it's the kind of fame that lets me question and interview authorities, celebrities.

Radio is a personal medium, you create a special bond and connect with listeners and they treat you as a family. I have experienced that, the connect people have with radio jockeys is probably stronger than what people have with film stars. There is a certain kind of distance and space with film stars as they are seen as unapproachable.  Radio on the other hand is interactive, and we stop and listen to what listeners have to say, thus the relationship is more one on one. 'Morning No.1' has helped me develop a personal connect and bond with the listeners.

Competing with best FM stations in the prime time slot with same genre-based shows makes it difficult to maintain healthy competition. Doesn't it?

I am updated with what is going on other shows but I never try to compete with any one. I try to give my listeners something innovative and different everyday. Instead of competing I would rather keep myself abreast with what is going around in the world and the nation so I can provide my listeners with the best possible information.
Any television or film offers?

There are many offers in both the mediums but I don't wish to disclose anything right now.
Rapid-fire round:-

RJ Malishka in one word: Quirky with her head firmly on her shoulders.

Like Consumer Is the king for marketers: Listener is the family of radio

Other interests/ hobbies: Adventure freak, singing, white-water rafting
Best Music: Classic Rock

Best Actor/Actress: Abhay Deol, Kareena Kapoor

Your inspiration: My mom and 16 year old dog who has the best teeth in the world.

Best Singer: Sunidhi Chauhan, Rihanna

Mumbaikars to Malishka: are a part of an extended family