In India, FM channels want radio Jockeys, who are funny, vibrant and have the ability to handle frivolous shows and fluffy interviews. Shows are generally limited to music, and offer little scope for those who want to be involved in more information oriented areas. Moreover, working for All India Radio, with its strict standards of Hindi and news based broadcasts is not everyone’s cup of tea either. So, do radio aspirants have a third option?
Today, with Indian community radio stations mushrooming across the world, and international media companies introducing an increasing number of Asian Broadcasts, Indian students looking to get into radio, can consider going global. The work involved is quite the same as Indian stations – reporting and presenting but the content and subjects covered are much more diverse and exciting. In addition, it is an excellent passport a comfortable home like atmosphere. For example, Deutsche Welle’s Hindi team comprises mostly Indians, who dress traditionally and converse in their native tongues.
When working with Indian broadcasters abroad, you can opt to be an outdoor correspondent and report on events and exhibitions, and conduct on spot interviews. Alternatively, you can also fill in as a presenter and work in the studio. Unlike TV reporters, who carry a camera and a mike, radio reporters move around with a sound system and a mike.
It is also possible to start you own radio station after gaining sufficient experience in a country. For example, Kaloo Badshah was a radio presenter in Leeds, since the early 90s. After a few years, he decided to further his passion for music and his dedication to the community by establishing his own radio station called Radio Hum FM. Today, the station broadcasts Indian music of various genres, as well as interviews with popular Indian actors.
You can also choose whether you want to work with a non-profit community radio station like Mast Radio, a bigger community radio station with sponsors and advertising like Radio Hum, or with an international broadcaster like BBC or Deutsche Welle.
Working in India itself is also an option if the radio station has correspondents reporting from various locations. For example Mehta works for a South African radio station from India. The station is called Lotus FM, and it is based in Johannesburg. The station caters to Indians in South Africa. As a correspondent, he has to report the ongoing elections where he phone in his reports, and they record it in South Africa. They don’t have a branch as such here. The best part about working on the field is the amount of freedom, learning and newness that it involves. He would love to be an outdoor reporter with a station like the BBC.
Most international broadcasters prefer to have correspondence at various locations. The shows are produced entirely at Broadcasting Center and the headquarters of DW radio and DW Online in Bonn, Germany’s former capital. Deutsche Welle’s Hindi Service can rely on a network of correspondents not only in India, but all over the world, for the latest on the spot reporting of current affairs.
With community radio stations that have relatively lower budgets, this is generally not an option. However with increasing globalization, the cost of having a network the world over has decreased tremendously so that even smaller stations are venturing into collaborations. Their shows are primarily produced in New York, and have recently started collaborating with Indian media services.
SR, who has been a freelancer for All India Radio in the past, and is a radio lecturer at K C College, Mumbai, enumerates the basic skills required, saying, Excellent ad libbing, knowledge of current affairs, an easy conversation style, and a ear for music are absolute musts. In the globalized world, an understanding of the local language, and more importantly, being alive to culturally sensitive issues and the need to be culturally tolerant of the country, where you are based are key issues to be addressed.