Twenty years ago, a private radio station offered me my first job as a radio jockey. The station had a slot—for just a couple of hours—on All India Radio, which was known to all as FM. A few years later, the government decided to privatise FM and ordered all existing slots to be taken off-air till the results of the auction (for the new frequencies) were declared. The few of us who were addicted to the medium decided to move our tents to a place where we could be heard.
AIR was the next stop. The pioneers of radio decided to let us in, but with strict conditions. It was like a boot camp, however, looking back, that’s what was required when you want to discipline kids in a candy shop. The money earned was not a number that would alarm folks at the tax department. It was `125 per show and we got six shows to make a mark. It was never about the money, as nothing compared to the unconditional love that listeners gave us.
Filling a litre of gas and having a good lunch was cheaper than buying a compact disc, which was around `800. Nothing was proportional and definitely nothing seemed to fit, but we continued with our radio journey because, in our minds, we knew this medium was about to explode in a good way. All we needed to do was be patient and stick around for that to happen.
This was a time when there wasn’t any radio software to help us with our music. Everything was manually done. It’s hilarious to see presenters today complaining about salaries and how tiring it is doing a show. Today’s generation has everything it needs while going on-air. The only technology we had was a pager and we made the most of it.
I’ve been lucky to get a front row seat and witness the growth of radio. To my fellow presenters—treat the medium with care and experience what it gives back. Here’s to another 20! See you next week.
— firstname.lastname@example.org .
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.