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The world of the radio industry has advanced a long way from the heydays of ‘All India Radio’ and ‘Aakashvaani’. The origin of FM Radio and private channels instilled a brand-new life to the radio industry, despite the revolutionary inception of both the television and the internet.

Radio Jockeys of the contemporary radio industry has reached millions of hearts with towering popularity, through rendering stories trending in Bollywood to cricket, to classical music and so on. Listeners, especially in the states of Delhi and Maharashtra in India, are soaring in number and these states have the largest listener community currently.

“To make our communications more effective, we need to shift our thinking from ‘What information do I need to convey?’ to ‘What questions do I want my audience to ask?’ ”

― Chip Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

“I think comedy as an art involves the audience as a participant as much as is involves the artist.”

― Craig Ferguson

Radio Jockeying in India: Introduction

A Radio Jockey works for radio stations and selects as well as broadcasts music for an audience. RJs may specialize in a specific type of music, such as Bollywood, Indie, rock and roll, popular, R&B, rap, country, soft rock or alternative.

  • Radio jockeying in India has picked up very well. The boom has created thousands of jobs for young dynamic people devoted to talking and connecting with others.
  • It is not as easy as it sounds. Radio Jockeying demands skills like playing with your voice, public speaking, having the flair for writing scripts, and most importantly discipline i.e.respect for timeline. You cannot be late if you’re an RJ!
  • In addition to music, RJs often make impromptu comments about politics, news, pop culture or sports, and inform their audience about weather and traffic.
  • To get started in the field, you might have to work multiple early morning or late night shifts. There is a strong competition in these jobs, and those with specific training &education will have the best employment prospects.

During your course, you need to hone your skills, train your voice, learn script-writing and everything that you need to be a radio jockey. You may make it international as well. Once you are done with the course, you must get your showreel ready and show it to the world.

Become The No. 1 Radio Jockey: Your Best How-To Guide 1

**(Check the section on how to make a show reel)

Become The No. 1 Radio Jockey: Your Best How-To Guide 2
(Figure) Become a Radio Jockey in India: Multiple Facets of the Craft

Things you need to bear in mind

As you will see later in the section ‘how to become a Radio Jockey’, after you complete formal education (which may be in any discipline) and a Diploma/ Certificate, you must attempt to join a radio production house for an internship.

Become The No. 1 Radio Jockey: Your Best How-To Guide 1

**Check the section on Pathways: How to Become a Radio Jockey

  • While an internship may not offer you a chance to get on air, you’ll learn behind-the-scenes aspects of working at a radio station. This will also give you a chance to network and develop contacts in the industry.
  • During your studies, you may also be able to find opportunities to get on the air with your campus radio station if you join a professional course or colleges may have tie-ups in the industry for their students to practice, develop and edit reels of their best work that they can produce to recruiters later.
  • College radio stations typically provide a hands-on environment where you gain real-world experience. Radio stations typically broadcast 24 hours a day, so students can get experience engaging both daytime and nighttime listeners.

You must also learn about Ministry of Communication& IT (Sanchar Mantralaya) rules, broadcasting law and ethics as well as personnel management and station programming while being provided with a chance to get on air.

“Always mystify, torture, mislead, and surprise the audience as much as possible.”

― Don Roff

Pathways: How to Become a Radio Jockey

How to become a Radio Jockey? There are various ways to start practicing as a Radio Jockey in India, but you must remember that getting a Bachelor’s degree is a mandate these days, to start even as an Intern, with almost all reputed radio houses in the industry today.

What It Really Takes To Be an RJ

See, the key thing here isn’t your prior formal training though. A lot many RJs who are famous now had no formal training. You would find people from all kinds of fields. However, if you’d want to start now, competition is tougher and graduates are wanted here.

  • What we are suggesting here are a few top radio jockey courses but to become a Radio Jockey, you may not need any prior formal training.
  • The key is your love and passion for music and interests in about everything that goes around you.
  • You got to be someone who eats, drinks, sleeps, walks, runs, and sprints with music, basically, someone who find it difficult to live one day of her life without music
  • You must be listening to anything which sounds good – irrespective of a genre: from Blues, Jazz, Indie and R&B to pop, rock, alternative rock, and soul – anything and then Bollywood, Indian pop, fusion, and all that India.
  • Not only just listening to, you must be like a walking Wikipedia on musicians and the story behind various bands and their music.
  • You got to be someone who’s chatty and fun to be with.
  • You are like someone who can create a joke or a story out of anything that you observe around you: witty & impromptu. Yes, that’s the word!

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 1

Class 11-12 in any stream – Bachelor’s in any discipline – Certificate course in Radio Jockeying & Anchoring/ TV Anchoring & Radio Jockeying/ Radio Production & Jockeying/ Radio Programming and Broadcast Management/Audio & Music Production/ Acoustics/ Music Technology/ Sound Production/ Electronic Music Production/ Sound Design or similar fields – Join a radio station as an Intern for Radio Broadcast/ Speech/ News Reporting/ Broadcast Writing or Media Research

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 1
Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 1

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 2

Class 11-12 in any stream – Bachelor’s in any discipline – Diploma in Radio Programming and Broadcast Management/Radio Production & Jockeying/ Audio & Music Production/ Acoustics/ Music Technology/ Sound Production/ Electronic Music Production/ Sound Design or similar fields – Join a radio station as an Intern for Radio Broadcast/ Speech/ News Reporting/ Broadcast Writing or Media Research

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 2
Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 2

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 3

Class 11-12 in any stream – BA in Music/ Dance/ Performing Arts/ Studio Arts/ Theater Arts or similar–Diploma in Radio Programming and Broadcast Management/Audio & Music Production/ Acoustics/ Music Technology/ Sound Production/ Electronic Music Production/ Sound Design – Join a radio station as an Intern for Radio Broadcast/ Speech/ News Reporting/ Broadcast Writing or Media Research

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 3
Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 3

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 4

Class 11-12 in Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics – Bachelor’s in Acoustics Engineering/ BA in Sound & Music Technology – Diploma in Radio Programming and Broadcast Management/Radio Jockeying & Anchoring/ TV Anchoring & Radio Jockeying/ Radio Production & Jockeying/ Music Technology/ Sound Production/ Electronic Music Production/ Sound Design/ Sound Recording & Engineering or similar – Join a radio station as an Intern for Radio Broadcast/ Speech/ News Reporting/ Broadcast Writing or Media Research

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 4
Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 4

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 5

Class 11-12 in any stream with Mathematics – Bachelor’s in Audio Studio Production or Audio Post Production/ Bachelor’s in Visual Communication with specialization in Audio Engineering  – Diploma in Radio Programming and Broadcast Management/Radio Jockeying & Anchoring/ TV Anchoring & Radio Jockeying/ Radio Production & Jockeying/ Music Technology/ Sound Production/ Electronic Music Production/ Sound Design/ Sound Recording & Engineering or similar – Join a radio station as an Intern for Radio Broadcast/ Speech/ News Reporting/ Broadcast Writing or Media Research

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 5
Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 5

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 6

Class 11-12 in any stream – Bachelor’s in any discipline – MBA in Media Management – Join a radio station for Broadcast Writing or Media Research or similar roles

Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 6
Become a Radio Jockey: Pathway 6

“Given the choice between ‘trivial MATERIALS brilliantly told’ versus ‘profound material badly told’, an audience will always choose the trivial told brilliantly!”

― Robert McKee

List of 5 Success Tips

  1. Put together a reel. In order to obtain a job, prospective radio jockeys need a show-reel.You should edit reels of your best work to send to prospective employers.
Become The No. 1 Radio Jockey: Your Best How-To Guide 1

**(Check following section on how to make a showreel)

  • Besides your education or experience, recruiters will mandatorily want to hear how a you sound on the air and how you communicate with an audience.

2. Radio Jockeys speak or read from scripted materials, such as news reports or commercial messages, on radio. Besides playing and queuing music, RJs announce artists or title of performance, identify station, or interview guests.

  • So, develop versatility. While working in a smaller market, you should take the time to gain experience in multiple areas, such as making updates to social media websites, selling advertising air-time, and doing promotional appearances.

3. Because large-market employers typically look for candidates with such experience, becoming versatile in these areas is essential.

4. As an RJ, you should get comfortable with your on-air personality and build your reputation in smaller markets before moving on to larger-market stations. This will give you the opportunity to tailor your announcing style &learn to better engage as well as retain an audience.

5. As such, larger studios(recruiters) will typically put heavy emphasis on your ratings in smaller markets while deciding on who’s to be hired.

To advance your career prospects, you will often need to relocate to larger markets but save it for a good time, when you’re absolutely honed &ready.

Make a Demo: How to build a showreel?

Making a show reel isn’t like fighting to set a Rubik’s Cube!In fact, it’s probably the easiest (but most efficient) way start off with your foot in the door.

A show-reel is what comes in the holy grail of advice from industry professionals on the things you need to do to impress them.

Show-reels or demos are indispensable for broadcasting roles.

  • Aim for a maximum demo duration of about 5 minutes. If you’re emailing your demo audio, make sure it isn’t a huge sound file or you will have to risk blocking the editor’s mailbox which again is an instant disadvantage.
  • Several candidates now upload demos onto audio hosting sites such as Soundcloudor Audioboo. Choose one that is popular, so these two.
  • As industries increasingly work cross platform these days, if you can produce any URLs of online content you’ve performed, it would also be useful to see. Don’t forget to include those links in your cover letter.
  • If you want to be an on air journalist, an example of your news presenting as well as another instance of your reporting should be sufficient.

Be sure to take the following guidebook into consideration before creating your own show-reel.

Do Some Wider Research Before You Get Started

Like what most people do with most things before they’re about to explore, you want to make sure that you understand what radio is all about.

  • Dig into some research about this crazy craft! Start by just listening to and learning from some of thepopularradio jockeys.
  • When it comes to broadcasting music, observe the way RJs lead on to one song from the other, what they say and how long they say it for.
  • Dig deep intoall the leg work because you want to seem like you know what you’re doing, even if maybe you don’t.
  • You cannot afford to just dip your toes in and feel good about it, dig deeper when you think you’ve done enough of research!

Radio Jargon to Get Familiar With

  • You need to know some of the terms and phrases, if you are going to be working in radio:
    • Link: a link is what you will say in between the songs, essentially linking two parts of your show together
    • Feature: referred to as a mini radio documentary
    • Package: generally news related
      • Recorded from different locations, and often include interesting sounds and interviews
    • Voxpop: meaning “the voice of the people”;
      • This is when you speak to the public about any topic, and then put your findings, together as a collective.

What You Need To Record your Show-Reel?

Now, the be-all and end-all is not your sound quality,it is important though.

  • In an ideal world, you would want to record it on a golden Dictaphone(small cassette recorder used to record speech or audio) that creates Beyonce-like audio heaven (best ones starton Amazon at Rs 4000 and above)!
    • But for most of us a Dictaphone isn’t a possibility, so we have to make do with what we have.
  • Usually a laptop or mobile phone will suffice, as long as your recorded sound is clear. Of course, if you do have access to specialized equipment, perhaps through your college or training studio, then by all means don’t hesitate to use it.
  • You must try out Audiobooor SoundCloud (themost popular recording and storing portal) or bag yourself a cheap Dictaphone at Amazon or on eBay!

What will you Include In your Show-Reel?

The content of your show-reel is what you will be judged on. This is the most important part.

Fortunately, we’ve got tips from two experts, Simon Long (Deputy Program Director at a British National Digital radio station) and Gavin Douglas (Producer at a youth-led radio station based in Brixton, South London that reaches teenagers & youth between 13 &25 years).

Follow these to make sure you nail it:

From Simon Long

Great advice on how to make your show reel stand out by offering four key areas that you must consider:

1) Make it snappy

  • Keep a show reel short (ideally 5 mind long). You will be judged within the first 10 seconds so make the start strong

2) Be yourself

  • It’s easy to spot anyone ‘trying too hard’ or trying to be something they’re not. Concentrate on being you and don’t ape anyone else’s style.

3) Demonstrate your strengths:

  • From conducting interviews to talking about the subject matter. Think about what you personally have to offer

4) Mix it up:

  • Try to demonstrate various styles of presenting from serious to humorous, from solo to co-host

Gavin Douglas adds

5) Show how you enter and exit a song

  • It’s no good having a 5 min showreel where 3 mins of it you are playing a song. Play the beginning and the end of a song to show how you would introduce and back announce it.

6) Make sure the content is as recent as possible.

  • You want your show reel to be current, so try and include as much content relevant to the time

7) Contact details

  • Make sure the show reel mentions your contact details and any relevant social media

8) Red envelope

  • When submitting a showreel (by CD), it will almost be amongst the sea of the other 100 showreels the station has received, so get a different colour envelope so that your stands out in the pile.
  • Don’t get all red because we will be back to square one!

List of 26 Top colleges for Radio Jockeying in India:

We’ve listed out 26 top colleges for radio jockeying in India. Most of these offer Diploma or Certificate Radio Jockey courses, specific to this field only.

However, some also have BA degree courses in Music/ Dance/ Performing Arts/ Studio Arts or in a related field that you can pursue before a Diploma or Certificate course (as elaborated in the pathways above). You need to be a graduate first to be in demand later.

Some of these schools or private organizations also offer 120 hour or so long programs that you can complete either in 3 months or in 2 months depending on your availability.

  • Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai
  • Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
  • Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune
  • Zee Institute of Media Arts, Mumbai
  • Amity School of Journalism & Communication
  • National School of Drama
  • FTII, Pune
  • Whistling Woods International, Mumbai
  • Garden City University, Bangalore
  • Annapurna International School of Film and Media
  • Asian College of Journalism, Chennai
  • Radio City School of Broadcasting, Mumbai
  • Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi
  • The Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), Ahmedabad
  • AJK Mass Communication Research Centre
  • Asian Academy of Film & Television
  • Wigan & Leigh College, New Delhi
  • Sardar Patel College of Communication & Management, New Delhi
  • Academy 18 networks Ltd
  • EMPI Institute of Advertising & Communication
  • Kamla Nehru College, DU
  • YMCA Centre for Mass Media
  • South Delhi Polytechnic for Women
  • Sir Aurobindo Institute Of Mass Communication
  • International Institute Of Mass Media, Delhi
  • Institute of Mass Communication, Manipal

Radio Jockey Salary Guide: How much will you earn?

Radio jockeying is a consumer facing role.

For Radio Jockeys, the earning prospects largely depend on their popularity. For instance, a Radio Jockey might become massively popular with just one show, or it may take years to come under the limelight. Usually, the more popular you are, the higher is your pay scale.

However, at the beginning of your career, you will earn around Rs. 10,000 – 20,000 per month.

After 3-7 years, your average monthly earning will be around Rs. 50,000 – 1,10,000.

When you reach the Executive level, your monthly salary will be anywhere between Rs. 1,50,000 – 3,00,000 depending upon the size of the radio channel/company. It may reach around Rs.5,00,000 if you become a Programming Head.

Future scope

By 2019, the Indian FM Radio industry is predicted to reach US$ 656 million. Thanks to the increasing number of FM Radio listeners especially in Delhi and Maharashtra, these cities have emerged as the leading markets for FM radio in the past 5 years.

Top Recruiting Agencies for Radio Jockey

  • AIR (All India Radio)
  • Big F.M 92.7
  • Radio Mirchi 98.3
  • Red FM 93.5
  • 104 Fever FM
  • Times FM
  • Radio Mid-day
  • Radio Star
  • Radio Wani
  • Radio Mango 91.9
  • Club FM 94.3
  • Other independent radio stations

As An RJ, Remember…

NEVER abuse your position.

If you have something amazing to say, say it.

Don’t be afraid to shut up.

Just play the music, if you have nothing interesting to say. The audience will heart you for it, laugh with you and feel sad when you do too!

Always mystify and surprise the audience as much as possible.

  • YOU….are most trusted
  • YOU….are an entertainer
  • YOU….are a friend, on the radio and in the community
  • YOU….are lucky!

Radio Jockeying: Conclusions

You should now be convinced enough to lead out there with all that great advice and create your own show reels, wowing the world of radio with your out-of-the-box skills!

Sure, you’re welcome!

A career as a Radio Jockey is believed to be tough at the start as it is considered low-paying and uncertain.

Rest assured, if you can break into the world of radio jockeying with proper professional training, it is not just satisfying but also extremely lucrative today.

RJing is not a degree specific career but we will advise you to pursue professional radio jockeycourses as mentioned in this post before you dip your toes inside the realm of a radio station. Aim at the top colleges for radio jockeying we’ve listed here. It’s not tough to get through. You need to ace your skills, just!

However, understanding the intricacies of any career is not child’s play. It requires experiential assessment of your competencies (skills, abilities, knowledge & a lot more). So, career planning is an indispensable tool of your life and we can certainly help you with that. Plan now!

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