What makes you to be an RJ?
To start with, candidly speaking I would say my take off was an accidentally ambitious one. Honestly I never even knew what an RJ is all about. Yes, accidental because, while in college with the sole purpose of escaping my microbiology classes, I attended an audition in the campus where I casually cleared off the tests they gave in Tamil language reading and managing the tactful counters with an ease in extempore and finished off my interview quite confidently, which was when the class was also over, sigh of relief.
But to hear from my friend by the end of the day that I was shortlisted in the top seven out of some 300 interviewees, I was shell shocked and surprised so that’s where it all started getting ambitious. So yes, my take off was accidentally ambitious.
Can you share the most memorable moments that made you feel contented for being an RJ?
Many many. To cite a few, a visually impaired person once after a great search process, found my number and called me saying that it was his long time dream in his life to talk to me at least once since he was a regular listener of my shows that really moved me as a person. Another most contented moment was that once an old age man called up the station and almost cried to request my number. Upon enquiry, he said that he was pushed to an old age home by his own son but coincidentally they both heard a show of mine where I did this topic of not to leave our parents stranded at dotage which made his son realize his mistake and he himself went to his father to take him back home.
So, he would like to thank me ardently and he called up. That was the moment I truly realized that the words of an RJ can have so much influence on people and their lives so that just increased the responsibility in doing better shows for the society. Also, a feel good moment was one of my listeners named Karthick who was in college happened to meet me in his sister’s wedding, she herself being an RJ but he was a fan of mine as he felt energetic and refreshed hearing my shows he said. He also made me feel like a celebrity clicking pictures with me and got my autograph and all. So that was a moment of little pride and happiness for me. These are some of the listener memories I always cherish.
What is RJing mean to you ?
According to me, RJing is synonymous to a mother delivering a child. A mother conceives a baby, protects and nurtures it in her womb and delivers it with utmost care to the world. Likewise, an RJ conceives a content, contemplates and improvises it in their mind and delivers it with utmost social responsibility to the world. Anyone can talk or share anything but to convey it in an interesting and effective way is all that it takes to make an RJ from an otherwise normal person.
Do you think, even in millennium generation era, people listening to radio ?
I’ve come across this question many a times. Yes, music is readily available anywhere and everywhere in this digital world be it phones or mp3s or what not. But what makes a Radio special is that it is not just about music, you get the right combination of information, current updates, news, interesting content every time, everyday and every hour alongside music. So when you get it all in a package, it becomes infotainment and that’s why the medium of Radio is always effective. I feel Radio is the people’s best travel partner while commuting everyday. Also there is quite a large number of people who just live with radio being just another person in their lives and you can find this mostly in rural areas across our country. They are still so much into radio and can’t do without it.
Whats your personal favorite FM , ever thought of switching there ?
My favourite FM of course other than the one that I’m working on is Mirchi. Why because that’s the FM that I heard the most before becoming an RJ. I use to be inspired by Suchi’s breakfast shows as it will change the vibe of the whole day with so much energy and vibrance. She would present it in such a way that a listener would feel that “Wow factor” in whatever she says. I use to wonder “Oh wow, I talk quite well too so can I be a good presenter like her as well?” and all that though I never had any big plans of becoming an RJ back then. So yes, to pick my favourite one, it is Mirchi.
What quality an RJ should have, upto you ?
The foremost quality any RJ should possess is the voice and the tone. After all, people are going to hear you all the time, so the voice is the first impression. Next, I feel is the presence of mind. Yes, anything may happen on a show. While doing live shows being ON AIR, the biggest challenge is you are solely responsible for whatever goes out of the mic. So, we need to be vigilant and keep it going irrespective of technical or other difficulties that may arise. Also, spontaneity and creativity matters. An RJ should always be cool-headed to handle any hurtful or critical comments ON AIR and cannot afford to be a sensitive or impulsive one while handling sensitive content and people. So, maintaining the cool attitude is important, not just to the person but to the output of the show as well.
Can you share about your day first day of audition and the first day ON AIR moments?
So as I mentioned earlier, it all started off accidentally in my college and while it took off from there, we were called for our subsequent auditions to AIR and our first day ON AIR was inexplicably incredible. I’m a girl who was almost born and bred with Radio in my household. Back then, more than television, we were much into radio throughout my childhood. Those days people use to say “Panbalai” as FM reigned in much later. Coming back to present, when I realised,
I’m finally there before the same MIC through which I heard lots of shows since tender years of age it was literally like “Oh my God, I’m here. I’m going to run the show. I’m in charge of this mic.” What more can be magical? Also myself and my sister got to do our maiden shows on the same auspicious day of Karthigai Deepam, adding much to our delight. Anything related to nostalgia is sure to give you goosebumps and yes, that first fantastic moment was it.
Whats your best advice or road map to the youngsters who would like to be an RJ?
First thing I would say is not to think that just by speaking well can make one an RJ. Yes, speaking well is entirely different from RJing. One needs to speak effectively and efficiently at the same time keeping it short and sweet and must be able to convey that content interestingly in just some 30 to 45 seconds along with some sense of humour if possible, because that way it reaches the listeners quickly. All this is required to make another person listen to it. If you want to get there, practicing this is crucial. Also, one needs to be updated with news and current affairs as an RJ should communicate quite a lot of information with social responsibility and sensibility. So, all this is required in the aspiring path to be one.
Whats Uma’s inner voice say at beginning of the show and end of the show?
Everytime I start a show I say to myself “Uma, do the show really well.. Nalla pannidu ma” yes even now if I get to the console my heart just skips a beat and goes dhik dhik thinking I shouldn’t blabber or stammer anywhere today and present the content that I prepared perfectly with pristine conscious. Yes, I feel a little of that baya bakthi is what makes me respect my work day in and day out in whatever I do. So finally when I’m done, I will have that happy sigh of relief “Good heavens! job well done” and pat my back. Self-encouragement is also essential. So that’s how my inner voice keeps me going hustling bustling and RJing driving me being sane and grateful till talking and sharing things with you as well.