Radio Careers and Jobs in India

Radio Careers and Jobs

We kick off our series of guest posts by inviting Raazgi Haidri, radio show producer with a top radio station, to educate us and our readers on jobs and careers in radio broadcasting .

When you hear a Radio Jockey (RJ) dominating the air waves, it’s easy to assume that’s the only job in a radio station. Behind the RJ, who enjoys the lion’s share of the limelight, there is a whole group of technical and business professionals who make the radio show successful.

What are the different types of radio jobs? What does a radio professional do on a day to day basis? How much salary can you earn in radio jobs?

Over to Raazgi.


Radio Careers and Jobs in India

by Raazgi Haidri

Radio jobs & careers in IndiaAs I write this post, Chaar Bottle Vodka is playing on the radio set sitting next to my desk. Three others are sitting in a corner, while one of them plays guitar and the other two sing along. This is a regular day at a radio station.

I’m Raazgi Haidri, and I’ve been a radio show producer for the last four years.

How I got a radio producer’s job

I was a good student in school. After I scored well in my SSC exams, my neighbours, relatives, parents and, eventually, I, decided that I must join the science stream. Like every electronics student in my class of 80, I joined a coaching institute to prepare for the IIT-JEE.

Soon, I realised that physics and chemistry were not my cup of tea – and I paid a heavy price for this realisation (coaching fees + an expensive science college + lots of confusion). But I believe every time you do something you don’t want to do, you are one step closer to what you like to do. I enrolled in a popular programme for a bachelor’s degree in mass media, and dived into the college experience.

I started participating in college festivals in the radio category and winning prizes got me interested in the medium. I started reading whatever was available on the Internet, about radio.

There were only six commercial radio stations then, and after umpteen emails and phone calls and incessant follow-up emails, I landed an internship with one of them. They liked my work so much that they hired me as a full-time producer, and that is what I’ve been doing for the past four years.

Various roles and vacancies in a radio station

Radio? You mean RJ?

Every time I tell someone that I work with a radio station, they ask me if I am an RJ. No, I’m not a radio jockey. A radio show producer works closely with an RJ. The producer churns out content for the show, conceptualises campaign ideas, writes parodies, and decides what the show is going to be about every day.

Think of it like Francis Ford Coppola behind the inimitable Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone.

This doesn’t mean that the producer writes a script for the radio jockey. RJs are spontaneous speakers and give their own takes and perspectives to the content plan prepared by the producer.

The RJ-producer team is responsible for the show and driving listeners towards the show.

Life as a radio producer

My job is to capture the pulse of the city and get the RJ to talk about issues and topics people care about. From satirical campaigns blasting the BMC for their pothole-ridden roads to telling people to not honk, radio is used as a medium to connect the people of the city as one community.

A lot of times, producers play on air characters to add flavour to the show. This satisfies one’s hunger of being heard on air too. I have been playing a character called Chhoti Daayan for the last 3 years.

I am constantly all ears for anything that can be interesting and make for a lively conversation on radio (We once accosted men whom we had seen staring at women on the street, and asked them why they stared or ogled. The answers were hilarious.)

The producer also has to be well-versed with the use of sound editing software, which is used throughout the show. By the time a song is about to end, my edited sound byte should be ready for play.

Since radio equals music, which means Bollywood, producers get to interview film stars, writers, music directors, top policemen, government officials, etc.

I’ve had the opportunity to interview Shahrukh Khan (PS: he hugged me and took a selfie), Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, BMC Commissioner, Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Himanshu Roy.

Work timings are a bit odd if you are assigned a prime-time show, but you get used to it. The producer also has to track the competition, prepare and submit weekly reports, make presentations, execute campaigns and attend brainstorming sessions.

We work in a highly competitive market where we are responsible for the weekly ratings of shows.

Career paths in radio broadcasting

A radio station comprises several teams: programming, sales, scheduling, branded solutions, etc.

The creative content of a station is led by its programming director (PD), who has an associate PD under him/her, followed by the producers of all the shows, a creative executive, etc.

The music manager of a radio station decides, based on research, which songs shall be played on the radio station.

The sound engineers help make the identity of the station by giving it a distinct sound – the station jingle, show jingle, other jingles for campaigns, etc.

The programming team also has a branded solutions unit, which consists of copywriters whose job is to integrate brands into the fabric of the show.

Then there are the sales guys, who sell ad spots and spots in the show to clients who want to advertise on radio.

A marketing team establishes tie-ups with other brands based on a campaign objective. For example, our radio station had a tie-up with a music school to organise an indie band concert every weekend.

How to get a radio job

My advice to anyone contemplating joining this industry is: give it a go! There is no graduate degree prerequisite for joining a radio station, other than a passion for the medium.

We have seven commercial radio stations in Mumbai and vacancies are few and far between. Yet, if you pursue it well enough, you will eventually get your foot in the door.

Most creative profiles at a radio station require the candidate to intern with the company. While mostly unpaid, the internship teaches you what no book can: how an actual radio station works. And if the candidate shows promise, she is generally hired.

Radio is a local and live medium. You should be an open-minded person ready to go to any corner of the city and talk to strangers, to get a good story. I once went to the gutters of Zaveri Bazaar to talk to the people who extract gold from the nullahs there. Literally. I am not kidding.

Career growth in a radio station is good, too. Considering that most people join radio very early in life, reaching a managerial position takes anywhere between 4-6 years.

Average Salary for Radio Jobs

The money in the beginning is not as great as your average engineering job, but it is definitely better than a lot of other media jobs.

  • An intern gets paid as little as 1.8 lakhs per annum.
  • A producer in the beginning makes somewhere around 4.5 lakhs.
  • A more seasoned producer (6-7 years experience) makes around 10 lakhs per annum.
  • A department head can make anything above 24 lakhs per year.

As you get more experience, your pay rises considerably. Just glance at the cars parked outside any radio station and you will agree with me.

Radio is now entering an exciting moment; Phase 3 of the auction of radio licences is expected soon, which will lead to the opening of many new radio stations.

Though it will take time to materialise (like all government processes), it is a development that all radio stations are preparing for.

The work environment of a radio station is very casual. Pranks are encouraged; cricket is played in the office corridor and we’re listening to music all the time. We work like everybody else; only we have fun along the way. Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai – that’s not me, it’s the radio again!

 

Image source: workinentertainment.com


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33 Comments

  1. Sejal says:

    Nice post, Raazgi. I was always very curious about the industry.

    Can you tell me more about the selection process for the internship? What questsions were asked in the interview?

    What can I do if I’m not in college (working in IT) and wanted to make a career change into radio / TV?

    • Raazgi says:

      Hi Sejal

      I’m glad that you found the post helpful.

      These are a few commonly questions in an interview:
      1. Which radio shows do you listen to regularly?
      2. What do you like about XYZ radio jockey’s show?
      3. What are the things that we should change in our on air programming according to you?

      We want to make sure that you have been listening to radio regularly and understand the medium.

      We always look for young candidates (18-24yrs) for internships because it is easier to mould and train people who are just out of college and don’t have a particular, set way of thinking- radio requires out of the box thinking. But I do know of people who started as interns even after 26.

      Only if you are very sure that you want to join a radio station, I would suggest that you do this:
      1. Drop your CV at all radio stations and keep following up for an interview with the Programming head. Once you are selected, quit your job.
      2. Save up in the meanwhile because an internship will mean that you won’t get paid for at least 6 months.

      All the best 🙂

      • Nidhi kapur says:

        Hi Raazgi loved reading your post.it wqs very helpful but had ine thing in my min whch i wanted to ask..I am a housewife with no experience,hear lots of music known as ecyclopedia of misic nd films .i really want to do something new nd learn more and realky interested in doing internship on radio. So is it possible for person of my age whch is 40 years but i can gurantee you enthusiaam of 20’syo get internahip on radio or in your radio station?pleasereply
        Thank you,
        Nidhi kapur
        Delhi

  2. Shweta says:

    Great post, thank you!

    Always thought of radio as “fun, period”, it’s good to have such a vivid picture of the work involved.

    I wish career options had been explained with such clarity and with similar anecdotes back when I was in college 🙂

    • Devesh T iwari says:

      razgi it will be really helpful for me if u drop a sample cv of yours at my e mail so that i can do what i love to do as i am a btech student and really this btech is not my cup of tea
      i will be really thnkful if you do so

  3. Rowdy Rathod says:

    I see reflection of Red FM in the photo. 🙂

    Did you work with Malishka? I’m big fan of her…I’d love to hear more about your expreinces with her…..or any other RJ you worked with.

    How easy is it to move from radio to TV? Nowadays few RJs are getting into reality shows, award shows etc.

    What about people in other roles? Is it easy or difficult to move out of the radio industry (as it is so small) and have good career graph?

  4. Raazgi says:

    @Rowdy Rathore – Yes, I did work with her. All the radio jockeys that I have worked with have been in the industry for a very long time. And when one works with people of this caliber and experience, one can only learn. I feel very lucky to have worked with her and learnt so much.

    About moving from radio to TV, it takes a few years. Earlier, when there were VJs on music channels, some RJs dabbled as VJs too. But now that we don’t see VJs any more, there are other ways one can make a transition. Once you are a popular ‘voice’ in the city, news channels start approaching you for opinions on current issues. Then there are talent managers get you work in TV and films. So if one is talented enough, works flows in irrespective of medium.

    About people in roles other than on air talent- yes, there are a few restrictions as far as transition is concerned. But i do know of a few people who shifted to music TV channels as producers and managers. However, career growth opportunities within the ‘small’ radio industry are aplenty. As I reply to your comment, HR departments across the country are working overtime to hire radio professionals for new vacancies created by the much awaited third phase of radio auctions.

    I will be happy to answer any other questions you have 🙂

  5. Jerome says:

    Hi Razgi, I don’t see any vacancies for radio jobs in newspapers or magazines. Where are these advertised? How to find out more about what they require for the job?

    • Raazgi says:

      Hi Jerome

      Radio is a very small fraternity where everyone knows everyone. So vacancies are filled before they are made. However, there are consultants who scout for talent on behalf of radio stations when we find it tough to fill a particular vacancy. The third phase licenses for radio stations across the country have been announced recently. So this is a great time to start applying at various radio stations which have acquired licenses for new radio stations. Start with cold calling or simply turn up at the reception and ask to meet the Programming head. All the best 🙂

  6. Sanju sharma says:

    Helo…..raazgi mam,
    i am a 23 yrs old, and i did my graduation from delhi university, and also i am pursuing post graduate diploma in[ Audio Programme Production] from (IGNOU).
    Is Radio programmer, presenters and producers is good option to make a career..

    • Raazgi says:

      Hi Sanju

      Considering your educational background, I’m assuming that you want to pursue a career in audio production. A career as a radio producer will be a great option for you if you like to mix your audio editing skills with creativity. You must take up an internship at a radio station and assist a radio producer to gauge your aptitude for the job. As far as radio presenting is concerened, listen to a lot of radio. There is a lot of hard work that lies beneath the glamour of the job of a radio jockey. You must develop great language skills in at least two languages, the knack to engage listeners and the confidence to speak to an audience. You will get to learn this from radio jockeys during your internship.

      So yes, the careers you asked about are very lucrative provided you like the job and mould yourself to be exceptionally good at them.

    • Indu says:

      Hii Raazgi mam grt post
      I am applying for digital marketing course in radio city I want to know is it beneficial or not?

  7. Sanju sharma says:

    Thanks,
    for the rply.. And
    .i really appreciate that
    Once again….
    Thnk you.

  8. nandkumar says:

    Hello raazgi
    I have small request to you.. can u help me to become RJ. Can u educat me any institution or source where I can join … coz I search google but I never get any option.

  9. Amit says:

    Hi Raazgi,

    My name is Amit stay in Kalyan. I have done MBA in IT but I am very much interested in music. I have learned to play tabla & attended 3 classical exams. I had been working in Ecommerce industry as a back office executive for 3 years. I want to learn more about music & would like to be a part of working in music industry. I don’t have much idea about what kind of work is available there but i would definately like to work in such kind of environment where I am interested in. Please let me know if there is anything or any work which is suitable for me.

  10. Rupali Ardekar says:

    after looking at your Post Raazgi i m gone mad to work in radio.
    My dream was to work with radio but didn’t got any path how to reach at you. I have completed my graduation in B.com. I m dam ready to work with radio. Just want and opportunity.
    Please please and i hope you will definetly give me 1 chance. love you all guys for your efforts you are putting in altering the whole Mumbai.
    Hip Hip Hurray Radio

  11. Maitrei sharma says:

    Hello raazgi, this is maitrei and i have completed my m.com but i hv a good voice bcz m a singer but due to unawareness of that field i didnt do anything,now i hv realise that this is my cup of tea but the problem is that i don’t know about the course of Rjing..how can i go for any radio station without any diploma course..so that is quite tragic as well as panic for me to looking forward for the same Profession so plz advised me accordingly..should i join any institute for this or else go for any online programme for Rj..as u said earlier that radio station also imparts training for the same so tell me what should i do?..raazgi i hv a very melodious voice and i hv a good sense for music and i hv listened many rjs so i feel that can do that job easily but yes i need a slight support from you plz guide me..thanks in Advance..ur so kindful..stay blessed…

  12. kirti pandit says:

    I want a internship in your radio station any contact details. ?

  13. Aditya says:

    Hi Raazgi , Your view on Radio station Jobs,environment and Radio as a medium of entertainment is almost similar to a person who has immense interest in this field of media yet being a novice when it comes to practical knowledge , And that’s the most amazing part of your post. This thing actually reinstates the belief in guys like us that realization should better be late than never.. One thing you said ” Just glance at the cars parked outside any radio station and you will agree with me:” is something that depicts you innocence and spark of new comer eager to learn in a new environment despite you being an experienced radio personality . Which in turn encourages us to pursue our dreams . thanks Plz help us get to the goals similar to yours ,

  14. Anu says:

    Hi Raazgi, I m student of M.Tech Electronics is there any job opportunity for my education in radio station

  15. Niharika says:

    Hi
    Really a good post
    I have done my Rj cource from one of private institute but it did not really help. I wish to do internship now. Please assist. And is it possible do it part time

  16. Dhanraj Rathod says:

    Raazgi nice article written by you. Can you say about How To do career in radio station if I had recently passed a ssc exam. What stream will take after 10th? Process of how to become a radio jockey in few year? How i can become a department head after becoming a radio jockey in radio station? Please tell me i how only few months to think about my future and again thanks for the article.

    • Raazgi says:

      Hi Dhanraj,
      Congratulations for having an idea of what you’d like to do in your career so well in advance.
      You don’t need a particular degree to be a radio professional. But you do need at least a bachelor’s degree. So study well. And maybe take up an internship at a radio station while you’re in college?

  17. Varun Raj Dutta says:

    Nice one Kafi acha article hai ……..Mera toh yeh manna hai RJ ka kam bas Ina hee hai………”Apne alfaazo mein itne jasbaat bhardo gar samne ala pathar hai toh mom ban jaye ….Jab Roshan Karne us pathar ko jaye toh mom ko hee pighla hua paye”………RJ Varun Raj @@Radio ala Munda…..

  18. jayanti says:

    hi Raazgi… was keen on konwing if i have a concept about a program whom do i pen it to ? i want to share with you that .. i do sessions on the power of positive thought. From my expierence i feel that its important to reach it out to many as it helps people to live better quality lives … i feel these are simple ways of thinking that can change peoples lives for the better.. so i wanted to know how do i share this with a radio channel .. and if i want to explore the possibility of conducting the radio show with the callers – how do i go about it ?

  19. Lakshmi R says:

    Hi Ma’am,
    Firstly, great article. Wonderful read and very informative!
    Secondly, I am currently pursuing my post graduate degree in Mass Communication in Chennai. Though we are learning about the radio industry theoretically, I really want to grab an internship at a radio station and learn how this industry works.
    Previously during my undergrad degree, I tried approaching a few radio stations in Kochi but none of them were willing to take in interns. Currently, the problem is that in Chennai, most of the stations are in Tamil, which is not a comfortable language for me.
    How should I go about this?

  20. Chanchal says:

    Hi Ma’am,
    Thanks for this wonderful article about radio industry and its working pattern. I am an engineering graduate (fresher) having a keen interest in music and talks RJs do on their shows. I always wanted to be in this field of radio since my college days but could not get into it. So, I started taking part in college functions specially the anchoring and presentation part in the fests. I am a big fan of RJ Raunak (Baua) and Mr. Zakir Khan (Sakht Launda). Please help me so that I can live my dream in this charismatic world of radio where everyone admires you by your ideas and voice rather than your looks.
    Eagerly waiting for your reply
    Thanks.

  21. Ruchi says:

    Good afternoon Ma’am,
    Firstly congratulations u succeed where u wanted too n many more success u definitely will achieve.love
    I am month before graduated stream commerce didn’t done any course related to radio jockey profile but I am definitely curious n interested to work as radio jockey I am searching for an internship as radio jockey yet didn’t got any advice how can I get please . Thank you

  22. Ramdas says:

    Hi,am done my graduation in mass communication and my interest in copyrighting .but after that I enjoy radios so I decided to go with a radio am confused .so can I take a chance and go with radio.but I don’t have a more knowledge of copyrighting and radio .

  23. Neetu says:

    Hello Raazgi!

    First of all, let me tell you, you got so unique name 🙂

    I liked your article very much it just motivated me more to follow my passion to work in Radio…

    I am looking forward for an internship in Red FM. I hope one day I shall get there.

    P.s. I have got Master degrees in Geography and Demography yet I don’t find any excitement in doing this. I want to reach out to our society and share my views on various social issues. Therefore, I think radio is the best medium for this.

    P.s. Expecting a reply from you.

    Best wishes, Keep rocking!!! 🙂

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