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Interviews |  06 Aug 2018 20:08 |  By Minal Metkari

Indian radio stations generate far better ideas than International: RJ Meenakshi on IRF experience

MUMBAI: The Malta edition of International Radio Festival has already created a buzz, prior to the actual event that will be held from 29 October to 4 November 2018. And, when it comes to Indian RJs, who have been to this fantabulous radio galore, RJ Meenakshi from 94.3 MY FM, has a story to tell.

Meenakshi, who attended the Zurich edition of this world-famous show in 2014, had a gala time there. In an exclusive interview with Radioandmusic, she talks about her experience, takeaway and more. Excerpts. 

Can you tell us about your experience of representing India at International Radio Festival at Zurich in 2014?

It was an out of the world, first-of-its-kind experience; I had at the International Radio Festival in Zurich, Switzerland. I not only got a chance to perform in front of the people of Zurich, Switzerland, but my show was also aired in 37 countries. It was an amazing gig and I was heard by legends, across the world. It’s the kind of a radio festival, where you get to meet different types of people, from different countries, and different radio experiences that add to yours. Meeting radio professionals, from across the world, knowing their kind of radio, telling them about your radio, having jamming sessions, live promos etc. was indeed, a great experience.

How different were the instruments and the technical setup there compared to the India?

For me, it was a different technical set-up, because, here, I am assigned to a different kind of role and a different music playlist.  Of course, I took my own playlist along. But, the software, I operated there, was different from that I am used to operating, here, in India. And, yes, we did perform live, but the way of connecting, the console was different from that seen here.  I had to study throughout the night, as I just had one night to study and perform, next morning itself. It was very scary and I was quite nervous since I was going to do a live show, with completely new software. But, I had Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Yo Yo Honey Singh and Rani Mukherjee with me, who had come to wish, me, best of luck, for being the number one RJ in India, at that time.

What challenges you faced while handling an unfamiliar software?

I didn’t face any challenges as such, because whatever calls, I received, were, mostly, either in pure or broken English. They were trying to communicate and I understood that they wanted to listen to songs of Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, A R Rahman, which I already had on my playlist. The people, there, were really excited about our Indian music as well as about me - an RJ, from India, who was talking about Punjabi culture.

Any key highlight of the show you performed at (IRF 2014)?

It was a completely different environment. Playing those vibes, Indian music, giving the Indian feel content, all live, was an amazing challenge, which, of course, I did pretty well. The best part was giving gifts to the people there. Like we give gifts in India, in Switzerland, we gave them vouchers in the form of bindis, fulkari dupattas, and Indian artifacts.This was very exciting and the people, there, loved it. For us, all this is normal, but for them, winning all these Indian artifacts was amazing.

How was the response?

The response was crazy, people were dancing to my tunes and, everything, I said. They didn’t understand Hindi or Punjabi, but they were dancing. I want to tell that the only two countries, who got the maximum response, were India (Chandigarh) and UAE (Dubai). So, I was very happy because out of 36 countries, I was one of the people, getting maximum response.

Did you get any international opportunities after participating in this global experience?

Yes, I was covered live by BBC, Zurich International TV, Switzerland Times and IRF Western videos. Also, after IRF, I went to the local music stations there. It was amazing as they were like any other Indian radio station. I went to the Zurich radio station. Honestly, there was no major difference between the Indian and Switzerland radio station, but only different people. I want Indians to come and visit them.

What according to you is the difference between shows aired on Indian and international radio stations?

The content that we do, suits the Indian mindset. It can become shocking, but cannot go to the extreme. We don’t cross-pollinate, but they can do anything. This is the difference between Indian and other RJs. The kind of music, they play is different from us. The difference, I felt was that I saw a jock, from Dubai, playing Arabic music, while another from Singapore, playing different songs. When it comes to me, I was playing more Bollywood songs.

They focus less on content and more on music. If an RJ talk is about one minute in India, it is just for 20-30 seconds in other places. Also, they are very frequent, so, if we go on-air for three to four times in an hour, they would go on-air six to seven times, but for only 20-30 seconds. We, RJs in India, on the other hand, are show-drivers and deliver pure content. Also, our content is far better and researched in India and the same is with RJs.

Did any of those international shows inspire you? 

I don’t want to be biased but honestly speaking, Indian radio stations generate far better ideas than the International radio stations. Also, Indian radio is evolving with the advertisement being creative and beautiful music being played on Radio.