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Spirit W | IRF 2014 has been the turning point: MY FM's RJ Meenakshi

While radio is considered as the golden medium in India, many generations have grown on beautiful voices over the years. Radio lovers / listeners admire and adore the voices behind the studio not really knowing the face of the voice. Well, this notion is easily a passé now as RJ’s have travelled outside the studios of the radio stations and are achieving successes at various levels of the business and its peripherals.

One such name is that of RJ Meenakshi from 94.3 MY FM who emerged as the winner of’ The Sound of India @IRF2014’ and represented India at the International Radio Festival (IRF) in Zurich from 3rd –7th September 2014. She emerged as the winner in a competition which had around 100 entries from radio jockeys and radio show producers from more than 70 private and public FM radio stations all over India.

While she has been in the radio industry for almost a decade now, being an RJ happened to her by chance. Her mentions that her biggest strength is when her listeners tell her that she is just the same person to meet as the person they hear on radio...mad, sensitive, fun, bindass , melodramatic and mad about music!

In an exclusive conversation with Adgully, Meenakshi, RJ, 94.3 MY FM, shared with us her recent experience at the IRF2014, her plans and much more…

Opening the conversation, a delighted Meenakshi stated, “IRF is a turning point of my life, as it’s known as Oscar in radio industry! While the Zurich trip has been fantastic, it’s a great feeling to represent India. At the festival, I met RJ’s from across the globe; different kind of music’s and software’s so much more. The international exposure has brought me more vision about the radio industry as a whole. Honestly, I thought it would be a regular festival, where we’ll showcase our work but when I went there I got to know that there were 80 countries participating and I felt really good performing live in front of so many people. Differentiating factor was that in India, we have more content and less music but there it’s more of music and less space for content. RJ’s there, talk less in compare to us. It was a challenging situation too because there the technical systems were different as we had to handle the technical part and perform too at one go”.

Armed with a BSC in (Chemistry) degree and a gold medallist in the same, she started doing theatre from the age of 14. After doing 55 plays and 10 main lead roles she was awarded for the best actress award 3 times in a row by IPTA. She informs that a ‘Roadies – style’audition was conducted as a hunt for radio jockeys, and things changed for her since then.

“Whatever I do, I give my 100 percent and I always wanted to be an actor. My parents wanted me to be a studious child and so I finished my studies, did medical but along with that I started doing theatres. My heart wanted me to do something beyond regular studies, I went for RJ audition in Jalandhar and got selected and that was the start of her new beginning into a new career. Today I’ve got everything I wanted to be while doing radio. I always wanted to be a famous person (laughs). I am happy and satisfied with wherever I am today. I’ve reached a goal and now I have to set up a bigger goal for me”, she elaborated.

She agrees that while RJ’ing as a profession is challenging and requires loads of work, it also, on the other side, inspires her to outperform herself every day.

Sharing her thoughts on how the industry is growing and expected to perform in the near, she said. “RJ as a profession is vast, right from promo producer, sound engineers, music directors, script writers, programming producers and so on. But, whoever wants to enter into radio wants to be an RJ, so it’s a very aspirational profession and definitely radio will provide huge opportunities to the youth. The second phase is done and with the onset of third set which is been just announced there will be more than 800 radio stations across India providing more and more job opportunities. It’s going to be huge jump for would be RJ’s”.

Her show ATM Reality Check made her win IRF award, speaking more about that, she said, “95% ATM centres in Chandigarh were not safe and post the show it showed positive response. I was a night RJ, where I used to do night show ‘9 baje ki setting’ which was hit show and then ‘Naughty Ratein’. Apart from that I’ve done WWF (Women Without Fear), which was done after Nirbhaya Case as someone on road in Chandigarh tried to harass me. After the incident I stopped going to office, and decided to do something for women safety. As a part of that initiative, we asked 9430 boys to sign and take a pledge not to abuse any girl and we also took video of it and it was massive campaign, and the crime rate also decreased.”

She wakes up people with her fun-filled and updated show ‘Salaam Chandigarh’ which packs in updates of sports, Bollywood, national and international in an entertaining way, celebrity views,  radio editorials and a very fun prank call segment  called  “topi”. This topibaaz is the only RJ in India to have more than 1 lakh fans on Facebook and still counting. “If I get a chance I love to be an actress as well”, she concluded. [ By Ranjana Gupta | Twitter: @RGrightsreserve]

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