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    Jonzie Kurien was effortlessly natural on air. His humour and sense of music never ever faltered because he understood the medium, grew playfully risque but never crossed the line, and never faked an attitude or an accent. It all began when he won a wacky verse contest. The ‘grand prize’ was the chance to sit in a radio show with Nikhil Chinapa. He recalls, “When I moved to the UK to study, I got my first big break with a small station in Cardiff! I then went on to work with Radio Indigo, Radio City, WorldSpace and two networks in Dubai over the last 15 years!” He says, “The best part of doing live, interactive radio is that there is an adrenaline rush and instant feedback.”

    The good memories include, ‘signing hundreds of autographs at local colleges during fests, being featured on the cover of Rock Street Journal for playing new age rock and new metal on radio.’ And the not so good memories include making a one off comment about the Republic Day Parade and being branded unpatriotic! He believes good jocks always evoke a reaction and says, “A presenter no one remembers probably shouldn’t be in the business!” Though a pioneering FM jock, he is not sentimental about erstwhile programming standards and says, “The core of it all, is business. FM radio stations are certainly not run for the love of music. And the content of FM stations in India are a reflection of the population. FM as a medium can either be mass or niche. Current regulations and costs make running niche stations unviable in India. Unless the government eases regulations, opens up multiple frequencies and encourages niche programming, nothing will change.”

    Currently working in Dubai, Jonzie says, “Dubai is a mature radio market with over 40 FM stations catering to over 3 million people. I work for the Channel 4 Radio network. I manage creative services for all stations on the network.”

    Though he has not presented a show since 2006, radio is a medium Jonzie will never dissociate himself from. And not just because of the creative thrills but because radio  has taught him that “the more money a station makes, the more they pay you!”

    —Reema Moudgil

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