Currently, the radio industry is one of the most underrated sources of music and information. Being one of the first long-distance digital media of communication, radio has been facing a decline in the number of worldwide listenership. However, generalizing is not the best strategy as according to a recent survey, over 60% of Indian population still listens to FM radio. Well, the future seems uncertain, since the number has been on a decline while millennials fail to associate with it even more.
We at Loudest in a quest to understand the situation better sat down with Raaj Jones aka Rajendra Prasad who is an RJ at Oye! 104.8 FM. Raaj Jones also likes to calls himself ‘Delhi ka Sabse Filmy Launda’, well we don’t know much about that but he certainly has been working towards the hip-hop scene in India with his YouTube channel and plans to take it to the radio. With such hopes, let’s find out what he is about:
Gauren from Loudest: What’s been all this energy? RJ during the day, YouTuber (Promoter) during the night? How do you manage? What fascinates you most in your job as an RJ?
Raaj Jones: I have been energetic all my life, or should you say over-excited. I am always hyped about everything, even more, when it comes to working. I am an RJ at 104.8 FM, I work there in the day and work on YouTube videos at night. Just like a musician mostly works at night especially the ones shuffling between jobs, I do my interviews at night.
I have always wanted to be an RJ, as far as I can remember. I really really like radio, it is one of the first modes of long-distance communication known to mankind. It has been more than 6 years that I have been a part of the radio industry. I started as an intern. For more than 2 years I was interning at different radio stations, learning the craft.
Gauren from Loudest: Why did you start YouTube? Was it because you wanted to get into VJing or you felt that presence on the radio was not prominent?
Raaj Jones: When I started my job, digital media was just coming around. I started with putting up an audio recording on Facebook. The response that the video garnered was phenomenal at that time, the fans were going crazy and asking for the video from the interview. That’s when I realized that there is a void that needs to be filled with visual content. The start was obviously slower than one would comprehend but eventually, we are here.
It isn’t like I wanted to get away from radio or something, radio has always been there for me. It was more about what everyone around me wanted. Moreover, everyone around me has supported me. I have had a 3 AM friend since the very beginning, he goes by Khanna Saab. He is my go-to guy for any help that I need around music or equipement. We are also starting a music promotion outfit soon on YouTube, which will focus of promotion of fresh talent from India.
Gauren from Loudest: You have been a lot towards the Indian Hip Hop scene, we have seen a lot of interviews. Do you keep track of every artist? How do you manage to do that along with your day job which works around Bollywood music?
Raaj Jones: As I said, I am really passionate about music and everything related to it. I keep a keen eye on the all the spheres. Underground is not really underground if it’s on the social media. I follow most of the artists that I feel are interesting. Moreover, I feel every artist has a story behind them. So, if they can paint me a picture and make me feel what they go through in one single 3-minute audio track, they have me, period!
Gauren from Loudest: What’s your take on Bollywood music? Do you think remakes are justified in the name of creativity?
Raaj Jones: Let’s just be clear that these are re-fixes and not remixes, per se! As far as my opinion goes, I have mixed feelings about these songs that have been coming out lately. To be honest, I feel if the music producers/artists on the re-fix can do justice to the original track.
Furthermore, the deal is that we are all aware of creativity and experimentation in the Bollywood music industry, it has been in shambles. On the contrary, I am not generalizing the whole industry, there are good musicians, of course! When you serve a mix of opposites, you are in for mixed reviews too!
Gauren from Loudest: With the technological advancement, Radio seems to be sidelined in the run? What do you feel about that? Has the listenership changed to any extent?
Raaj Jones: Well, with the advent of cheaper technology and a widespread access to the internet has changed the whole paradigm. The way people consume music, news or information has totally changed. That being said, the listenership has declined for sure but not drastically. However, the question is quite interesting as we often find ourselves sharing facts over the same at work.
To answer this question completely, all at once, there is a tool called Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) tool. RAM is a continuous tracking tool for radio listenership in India. Well, the diary method or survey method still remains the most wide-spread used method but RAM has simplified the analysis of listenership all the more. The tool is really helpful as you get to know a lot of metrics including – Demographics, Geography and many more. With this tool, it has also become easier for various radio stations to plan and strategize better on advertising and revenue generation.
Gauren from Loudest: How do Radio stations earn in this age when the most advertisement that comes by is through visual media? What are main sources of earning for a radio station?
Raaj Jones: There are countless ways that a radio station can earn from, in today’s age. There is still a considerable chunk of the population that listens to the radio. The penetration of internet is not as deep as we would think it to be. There are various endorsements that come our way, we also earn from tying up with different production houses around the time of movie releases and of course, the number of ad commercial has only increased lately.
Gauren from Loudest: What’s your take on the music scene in the country right now? Where do you think we are headed since you keep a close eye on the local scene and work around Bollywood music?
Raaj Jones: I love it! I seriously love the current wave of music in the country at the moment. The independent music scene is ever expanding, Bollywood houses are experimenting and finally, hip-hop is gaining the much-awaited recognition in the country. People are accepting music like they need it so desperately. I wonder what people would be like without music in their lives. However, I condemn promotion of likes of Dhinchak Pooja/Om Prakash Mehra.
Promoting such crap music only means that you are anti-good music. There are so many great musicians on the internet right now singing covers, rapping their hearts out in their mother tongue and if people still choose to promote cringe-worthy music, it’s only sad.
Gauren from Loudest: How accomplished do you feel as an RJ in 2018? Being an RJ, how supportive your station has been to your YouTube channel? Also, what do you suggest to people who aspire to be radio personalities?
Raaj Jones: I am really happy at the place where I am at right now in my life. People have started to recognize me for my work and my voice. I started as an intern, now I am a Radio Jockey and Music Manager for my radio station. My radio channel has been very supportive of my YouTube channel. I even shoot some of the interviews in my office.
I would be really happy if people actually cared about radio and wished to work in the field. It is a very interesting field of work, you get to listen to a lot of music and have a lot of fun. Initially, it may come around as a little tough to crack into, but once you start putting in work, things only get easier. And as I said, Radios earn well and they do pay well, yes sir!