I feel like a bridge between generations: RJ Sayema
Being a Radio Jockey (RJ) is not an easy job as their shows are constantly under the scanner, but RJ Sayema, who has been successfully playing classic melodies on her show "Purani Jeans" for the past nine years on 98.3 FM, says she enjoys the pressure and the fact that she is able to connect the young and the old generations with her choice of songs.
Although the target audience of the RJ is said to be people in their 20s, Sayema's listeners are as young as 12 years old.
"There is always a phase that comes in lives of people when they feel that they are neither too young nor too old and they feel very homeless and misplaced. This is the show that combines them with generation. When a 12-year-old asks me to play a song for his grandfather, I feel the connect! He knows he can talk to me and request for the show," Sayema told IANS.
"I feel like a bridge. I feel I am connecting two different generations. I really revel in fact that children would sing songs like 'Jaha teri ye nazar hai'. They would have never seen that song but they would sing it and like it," she added.
Although radio station is about profit making, the pressure on an RJ to deliver the best is a fun experience.
"Your show is under inspection every single day. There are figures, facts and data, which vouch that the station is doing well. There is risk in experiments and in everything that people do. But it makes it fun and enjoyable because you know there is a stiff competition and that excites you. That kind of pressure is good," she said.
The popularity of "Purani Jeans" has been constant over the years and Sayema credits listeners for the show's success.
She says that love of the audience "keeps me going and gives me reason to indulge in private moments with all my listeners".
"I remember, when I was in school and I would listen to one show, I would do the same. I would not enter my house and take rounds to catch my song and latest talk of the town," she said.
Her show is aired from 9 p.m. till midnight.
"I have a time slot that falls on the day's culmination and if it could end on such a healthy note that even after a day's fatigue you really want to stretch and listen to the music. It's a great motivation for me," she said.
With many radio station adopting international formats the existence of Indian music might be under question, but Sayema thinks otherwise.
"Radio works on different formats like music or talk format. We as individuals are always looking for options. We are always trying to experiment and it is actually for better. It empowers the listeners and the radio," says Sayema.
"In the morning they might want to hear their favourite English tracks. In the evening, they might get into a more easy situation and want to listen to Bollywood songs," she added.
The complaint that RJs talk too much is a common grouse from the listeners and, according to Sayema, it all depends on the content of the talk.
"It's a very valid complaint. As a RJ, it is our responsibility to entertain people. When RJs speak a lot of rubbish is when people complain that they talk a lot... If what they say makes sense, listeners don't mind listening to them for even three minutes," says Sayema.
Asked what improvement she wants to see in the radio world, the soft spoken RJ emphasised on cleaner content.
"I think we need to focus a lot on hygiene in terms of talk on radio. If a kid is listening to a radio station, the station owes him or her a lot by ensuring that they are not teaching him anything wrong. So, that hygiene should come in," Sayema said.