Where being glib pays
Young, talented radio jockeys are in demand
Sanjay Austa
f you are a chatterbox who can spew two dozen words a second, this is a profession tailor-made for you. And there is no one to reprimand you for talking so much because your job depends on how glib and voluble you are. Welcome to the world of radio-jockeying, a hip-hop career that is fast emerging as a viable choice for youngsters.



Where being glib pays
Young, talented radio jockeys are in demand
Sanjay Austa

A radio jockey gets ready for work
THE SMILE BEFORE THE TALK: A radio jockey gets ready for work. — Photo by writer

If you are a chatterbox who can spew two dozen words a second, this is a profession tailor-made for you. And there is no one to reprimand you for talking so much because your job depends on how glib and voluble you are. Welcome to the world of radio-jockeying, a hip-hop career that is fast emerging as a viable choice for youngsters. Aspirants are queuing up for this job that guarantees an instant passport to fame. And with the opening up of several new radio channels in the metros, and the names of radio jockeys on our lips, the popularity of this profession has gone up manifold.

However, radio jockeys don’t just jabber for a living, they also inform. They not only play the music, they also tell us about the singers, the movie it is from, the actors in the film and just about everything we would have no way of knowing otherwise. They are also our timekeepers, telling us the time to the nearest second so that we can concentrate on the road when we are driving.

They bring to our homes the voice of the musicians, singers and myriad celebrities, not only from the entertainment industry but everyday heroes like dowry fighter Nisha Sharma too. If we feel like listening to an old number, they take our request and air it free of charge. They answer our queries or forward them to experts in the studio. In short, they are our faceless friends we can tune in to anytime of the day and night.

There are no schools for radio jockeys. But a great voice is a pre-requisite. However, other factors like good pronunciation, a good knowledge of music, a sense of humour and presence of mind are equally important. According to Santosh Rao, a radio jockey with AIR, it helps if a radio jockey has a diploma in mass communication. However, every radio channel has its own standards for a radiojockey. At All India Radio, knowledge of music is a must, but this has been dispensed with by private channels who want their radio jockeys to be spontaneous, have a warm friendly voice and good voice modulations. College degrees are asked for only at the AIR.

"A radio jockey must be friendly and should not carry any attitude or be overbearing," says Pallavi Rao, a radio jockey with the newly launched Radio Mirchi radio station. According to her, it is not just a fun job as most people think, but requires hard work and presence of mind.

"There are times when the producer rushes to the studio to tell you to make an announcement when only 20 seconds are left. And sometimes you make a mistake and you must know how to carry it off," she says.

A programming head of another recently launched radio station, Radio City, says their target audience is between 18 and 35 years, and therefore, they prefer younger radio jockeys. "Young radio jockeys have new ideas, concepts and a fresh voice," he says. He says it is not very important for their radio jockeys to have a good knowledge of music as their programmes are not theme based.

Radio jockeys at private channels are full-time employees, but jockeys with the AIR work on a freelance basis, with not more than six programmes per month. There are more than 200 such radio jockeys with the AIR.

However, these radio jockeys find work with channels like Discovery and National Geographic who hire them for voice-overs and dubbing. Santosh Rao does voice-overs for television channels and also hosts shows. "There are ample opportunities for anyone with a good voice," he says.

Pradeep Kumar, a senior radio jockey with the AIR, says a good radio jockey should be brief and concise. "He or she should know how to present music that is palatable to our ears. The music should not be jumpstarted or cut in the middle without warning," he says.

Agrees Meghna Sen, another radio jockey with the AIR, adding that "along with a good diction, knowledge of what one is playing is very important". According to her, a radio jockey must weigh his or her words before speaking. "They should not use four-letter words and stick to one language," she says.


Copywriter needs to have a way with words

Q What exactly does a copywriter do in advertising?

— Ajay Bharucha, Shimla

A "Hi Hutch!", "A mint with a hole!", "Thanda matlab Coca Cola!"

If you’ve ever wondered who is behind these catchy jingles and slogans that you find yourself repeating unawares, meet the copywriter.

It' is the copywriter’s job to understand the clients' needs and tailor the copy in such a way that it promotes the sale of the product or service. Depending on the medium, you have to write a compelling press ad for publication, a dialogue or jingle for a radio spot, content for a website or a detailed storyboard for a TV commercial.

While the finished product may look simple, a great deal of brain-wracking effort goes into turning out that single catchy phrase that will set the Yamuna on fire.

Besides oodles of versatility and a way with words, you need the ability to chisel and craft your 'copy' into a subtly compelling sales pitch. You may be writing copy for a new brand of lipstick in the morning, a TV spot for a tourist destination in the afternoon, and thinking up a snappy brand name for a new fast food joint in the evening! That you must be well read and clued into what's happening around you goes without saying.

A good copywriter must be able to think latterally and originally each time, to co-relate masses of data and research findings in order to present the conclusions in message that is lucid and convincing. A tall order? But so are the rewards in terms of the money you can hope to make once you've made your mark (the ulcers and burnout notwithstanding).

Most copywriters start out as copy trainees after taking a copy test administered by the agency and proceed to write their way to the advertising hall of fame. A typical copy test is designed to test your command of the language, ease with ideas, and your perceptiveness about the world around you.

Most agencies prefer a college degree in arts and humanities or mass communication, although it is not mandatory.

Fashion designer

Q After joining a fashion house or garment export firm as a trainee, where can I hope to be in the next 5-7 years?

— Jeet Inder, Ludhiana

A Once you've learnt the ropes and worked as a designer for a few years, you can hope to move up to the level of a Senior Designer. In this position, you will lead and instruct a team of designers. You will "direct" their creativity by guiding them to deliver the customer’s specific style requirements. You will monitor their output and try to ensure that your team complies with the technical specifications and quality parameters.

You will analyse global trends while keeping a close eye on the market in general, and the competition in particular, in order to develop new designs. As the Head Designer, you will plan the entire collection for forecasting next season and oversee production plus organise trade/fashion shows.

Having mastered the ropes, you could even consider starting your own export or fabrication business. The retail market for readymades is booming, and you could supply your own line of fashionware to the domestic market. Or start your own boutique... the possibilities are endless.

Paramilitary forces

Q I would be very grateful if you could tell me the procedure for recruitment of officers in the paramilitary forces.

— Bhagat Pradhan, Gurdaspur

A Officers in the paramilitary forces like the BSF, the ITBP, the CISF, and the CRPF, are recruited by the Special Selection Board (SSB) of the Central Police Organisation (CPO) through a written examination followed by a physical efficiency test and an interview.

Graduates between the age of 19 and 25 are eligible for taking the written exam that covers general awareness, reasoning, numerical ability, essay writing and written comprehension. The physical test includes various events like 800-metre race, long jump, high jump to assess your strength and stamina. Short-listed candidates have to undergo a medical examination. On selection, you will be appointed as an Assistant Commandant or Deputy Superintendent of Police.


Q I am a BSc — Physics (H) student. I am very fascinated by astronomy. Could you please tell me about the leading institutions where I could study this subject?

— Pradeep Sonthalia, Chandigarh

A ISRO's GLSV launch, a world-class techno-scientific feat has finally equipped India with the capability of entering the commercial satellite market hitherto dominated by the US, the EU, Russia, China and Japan. If you want to reach out for the stars, do check out the following institutions:

Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University, Dnyanteerth, Gautami Nagar, Vishnupuri, Nanded 431603 (Mah). Course: MSc (Astrophysics). Eligibility: BSc (45% agg and 50% in the relevant subj).

Physical Research Laboratory, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad. Courses: PG Diploma in Astrophysics, Space & Planetary Physics.

Birla Planetarium, 96 Chowringhee, Kolkata. Course: PG diploma in Astronomy & Planetary Sciences.

Osmania University, Administrative Building, Hyderabad. Course: MSc (Astronomy). Eligibility: BSc (45% marks in the relevant subj).

Andhra University, Visakhapatnam. Course: MSc (Space Physics). Eligibility: BSc; Course: Diploma in Space Science & Technology. Eligibility: MSc (Physics)/MSc (Tech) with electronics.

Punjabi University, Patiala. Course: MSc (Astronomy & Space Sciences). Eligibility: BSc (Hons) in relevant subject or BSc (50% agg).

Gujarat University, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad. Course: PG Diploma in Space Sciences. Eligibility: MSc (Physics) with Second Class or BE with background in Electronics; Course: PhD in Physics.

Inter-University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics, Ganeshkhind, Pune. Courses: MTech in Astrophysics; PhD in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology and Quantum Physics.

Indira Gandhi Institute of Developmental Research, Gen. Vaidya Marg, Goregaon (E), Mumbai. Courses: 1-year PG Diploma and PhD.

Other institutes that offer PhD courses are:

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), University of Pune, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, IITs, National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Raman Research Institute.

Hotel management

Q I am a student of Class XII and want to pursue hotel management after Class XII. Is studying HM abroad a good option. How would you compare HM courses in India and abroad?

— Badal Vohra, Amritsar

A After petroleum, the hospitality industry is considered to be the fastest growing sector in the country. Besides generating a large number of job opportunities, it plays a vital role in the growth and development of our economy.

Attempts are being made to enhance the quality of hospitality education by bringing it on a par with the international standards.

The present curriculum (despite some recent modifications) still needs to be updated to meet the requirements of the industry, which has seen drastic changes — both in terms of function and operations management in the past few years. And the influx of leading international brands in the country has made it even more imperative to upgrade and restructure the curriculum and incorporate intensive industrial training.

However, not all courses are bad. There are a number of decent institutes that offer a good foundation in the subject. Moreover, they are also much cheaper as compared to their foreign counterparts which cost an arm and a leg.

— Pervin Malhotra, Director, CARING

Please send in your query, preferably on a postcard along with your name, complete address and academic qualifications to: Editor, Query Hotline, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160020, or at