Glass studios, mics, consoles and software - these are the things that a radio jockey (RJ) requires for his vocational output.
But the coronavirus outbreak has ensured that these requirements are now a luxury as they have been forced to adopt the work from home concept.
“It is so different working from home. Going to the office meant interacting with a lot of people. Then there is studio equipment. I know how much I miss my studio mic. Studio is a big happy spacious space. Now, we are stuck at home. So, the enthusiasm and energy level is a little low,” said RJ Ginnie who hosts a show called Suno na Dilli on Radio City from 7 to 11 am Monday to Friday.
She further said that a typical day in a studio is going through as many as 19 newspapers and catch up news on TV. “Radio is more about what is happening locally. So, if there is traffic jam then there could 30 minute content on traffic,” she said.
Now there is no paper, and no traffic jam to talk about.
But there is a lot to talk about work from home. Says Ginnie: “Generally what I do is broadcast live with a mic and a console unless it is an interview which is pre-recorded. What a console does is when you hear a jock talking or you hear a jingle, all of that is managed through a console. Unfortunately, I don’t have a console currently but my sound engineer takes care of it.”
Whenever Ginnie has to take calls she records the question and sends it to the sound engineer who plays the question. After that the she starts getting calls.
“On the radio today morning, I asked that in Delhi, traffic police is cutting challans every 10 minutes because everyone has forgotten that there are street cameras that are recording and people are zooming past red lights. So, I asked people if they have gone through this experience. For this, what I did was recorded the question on a device and sent it to my sound engineer.
“In between calls, I message my producer that I like a particular call and send the last digits of it so that it can be downloaded. I also tell him the call I want to take on air and ask him to edit the bit I want. The edited call is sent to me and I attach my conversation and resend it to my sound engineer who puts it out on air. We have gotten the groove of doing it now but the first three days were crazy. Now the process takes around five minutes," she explained.
For Ginnie, 80 percent content on her show is driven by listeners. “It is not me you hear so much it is more conversational. And that means we are still doing a lot of calls. It means double the work but it is worth it.”
However, things are different for RJ Salil who does a show called Kasa Kai Mumbai.
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“For me, no change at all from the perspective of doing the show. In fact, I have the same mic that I use in office. The very same software that I use in office,” said Salil.
In times of corona, content on radio has definitely changed
But Salil pointed out that the kind of content has changed. “You can’t only have singing and dancing. You have to measure it out with important information. What is important for me with my daily show is how do I sift through the fake news from the real. This is my biggest issue.”
He added, “Today, I went to Sion to pick up medical supplies and went to Virar to help out a few people. What I noticed is that everyone in Mumbai is following rules. There are hardly people out on the streets. Plus, there is strict checking at police checkpoints. And this is what my tomorrow’s show will be all about.”
Concurring with Salil, Ginnie said that the pattern to choose content has changed.
“One is that people to a large extent are using us as a helpline. So, for example, one caller told me that Delhi police is cutting challans is great except for the fact that the red lights are not working. The cameras are constantly clicking pictures and people are getting challans for crossing the red light but there is no red light. We called up Delhi Police and they realized and said that they will look into the matter,” she said.
RJs in search of positive content
She added that there is also a definitive thought to not give out death figures related to corona.
“All of our conversation is inclined towards positivity which is slightly tougher work. For one hour we play something called Corona fighters and these are not front-line workers. Today, I am interviewing a girl who is driving out to Delhi’s red-light area because not many have thought about these people and how they are getting food and their supplies especially with no money coming in. And cops have helped her,” she added.
When it comes to content preparation for Ginnie it starts from an evening before while Salil starts planning a week in advance.
“Everyone’s cooking so I got chef Sanjeev Kapoor, chef Kunal Kapur on board. I am getting a slice of what people are doing at home. I got a fitness guru. We are also doing concert from home,” said Salil.
Creating content is getting tougher
According to Ginnie, there is huge amount of pressure in terms of content creation in the current times. “Look at the news nowadays, it is all about corona. So, it is tougher to find content especially positive stories which is our focus.”Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak here