No introductions are needed for today’s featured guest. He is the radio jockey of the year, and rightly so! With the city marooned, he inspired thousands to volunteer and provide relief to countless people. He led from the front and one of the instances that will be remembered for a long time is when he requested a senior journalist to wake up and treat Chennai seriously. I caught up with RJ Balaji of Big FM for a quick chat.
Tell us about your experience when the storms hit Chennai?
The thought of doing something for the people affected by the floods was both emotional and spontaneous. All of us have heard about pre-Independence stories describing people as spirited and selfless. I witnessed that in plenty during the floods last year. All of us were so alive. The faith the city had in us helped us execute our efforts towards relief and rehabilitation. Life is not the same for me after the floods. I feel alive.
You just won a Vikatan award.
Vikatan awards are special to me. I’m happy that after 10 years in the medium, people still find me relevant and continue to appreciate my work. To win the award six times is not easy. I’m glad that my hard work has paid off.
How would a ‘Balaji-owned’ radio station sound?
(Laughs) Firstly, I’ll pay my RJs very well so they don’t try becoming a VJ or an actor. Secondly, I’ll ban SMS and nonsensical contests, caller questions and ‘all praise’ celebrity interviews. My RJs will play music that will suit the mood of the city and not that of a music manager.
On the work front, what can we expect from you in 2016?
I have always believed that I’m only as good as my last link on radio. Every show needs to be perfect. I promise my listeners not only for 2016, but until 2046 and beyond, that I will keep your evenings entertained.
That is Chennai’s very own Radio Samaritan. See you next week with more radio talk.
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.