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Cashing in on craze for radio, TV jobs
Yusuf Begg | May 14, 2003
The airwaves are flooded with a new form of chatter. With the launch of three new FM radio channels in Delhi -- all of which are babble interspersed with music -- besides the existing two from All India Radio, there seems to be a slew of opportunities for people with the gift of the gab. Add to this the opportunities for presenters and anchors that the new-born TV news channels have created.
Cashing in on the craze for radio and television jobs are people like Raman Bhanot of Elan, an advertising agency that started holding workshops for people interested in going on air. "Radio jockeying is finally looking up," says a confident Bhanot, who has till date trained over 150 students.
Imran Zahid, director of the five-year-old private mass communications institute, IAAN Creations, says: "The arrival of so many TV news channels and FM stations is the best thing to have happened to us. On an average we receive 20-25 business calls per day compared to the couple we got just a few months back."
Bhanot and Zahid are among the growing tribe of professionals who are getting into radio and television training workshops that train RJs and TV anchors to become future Amin Sayanis and Prannoy Roys. The workshops, usually a fortnight long have on an average 15 students and are of two hours duration.
Charges vary from Rs 3,500 to Rs 6,500. Most workshops teach the participants voice modulations, diction, pronunciation and script writing for radio. "We also give the trainees a hands-on training in our makeshift studios where they are taught the right way to use microphones, faders and other audio equipment," says Bhanot.
Though most professional trainers argue that RJing is among the hippest career choices for Gen Y, Nishchint Chawla, chief operating officer, Radio Today Brodcasting Ltd, that runs Red FM, is not too sure if the market is big enough to need a steady supply of RJs: "When we look for an RJ, we don't really just go for voice or voice modulation.
"That is just one of the pre-requisites. It is more about attitude and intelligence. I don't really think we have recruited anybody who's undergone the workshop."
But Zahid feels that the workshops are more than just training ground for radio. "We also give them inputs so that they can find a career in compering (stage shows) and do voice-overs." People trained for radio can get into recording jingles, radio commercials, voice-overs and other allied services.
Bhanot claims that among his students was a 60-year-old tele-marketing professional who wanted to improve his presentation skills. "There are others who join to increase their English vocabulary. Private FM channels are the latest avenues," he adds. Interestingly, most of these trainers are radio professionals with studios that are rent out for various audio recordings.
However, the lack of openings for young people in the hippest medium is partly because of programming, or the lack of it. Explains Raman Nanda, a former BBC radio professional and promoter-director of radio software company, Media Arc: "There is no radio programming to speak of on any of the FM radio today -- its just non-stop music."
Nanda hopes his training workshop may infuse some fresh ideas as his students will also learn to do portable recording. "There are no natural sounds, no docu-drama effect. Hope we manage to set a new trend," he adds.
Though it is too early to notice the effect of private FM and TV channels, freelance RJ Maala Shyamsundar feels that though initially FM stations will do in-house programming, "within six months there'll be more opportunities for people like us".
Possibly, because eventually the government intends to open up over 100 frequencies in 40 different cities. Which means that even the smaller cities will see a rush to learn the art of talking.