Word to aspiring radio presenters: don’t use the medium as a filler in your already adventurous life. A fresh voice will get established only if it is allowed to hang around the frequency for a long time. It’s as simple as that. There are no short-cuts if you want to be the listener’s favourite. The thought process followed today by newcomers is enlightening. The aspirants stroll into a station thinking that in a week they will be signing autographs; but they are almost immediately hit by a bolt of lightning—their staggeringly low take-home salary.
This is radio and not an IT firm, where you are expected to turn up educated. As a presenter on radio, you could have failed twice in the fifth grade and dropped out by the eighth grade—anything flies as long as you can speak well. No Harvard education required. But you do need to spend time on-air to get noticed. After that the amount that is due will come to you (hopefully).
All this doesn’t happen in two weeks. Today, there are presenters who cut interviews with film directors after which they prostrate themselves, pleading to be given a role in their next movie. Actors Shiva and Sendil of Radio Mirchi and Big FM’s Balaji spent years on-air before they heard the words ‘Action’. They had a passion for the medium and wanted nothing out of it. It’s the long road they decided to take that has paid off.
If you are planning to join radio in presenter’s clothing and later reveal the actor in you, I suggest you line up in front of film production houses instead—that will cut your long story short. This is radio and if you want to get the listeners’ nod, then bite the bullet (the low salary, that is) and spend time with them. See you next week.
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.