Khurafati Nitin is one of the most popular MJs (RJs) in India today having worked with all major radio brands. In fact, Jonathan Nitin Brady (his original name) and his radio journey since 2000 mirrors the phenomenal growth and popularity of private FM Radio channels in India. Now serving as MJ with 92.7 BIG FM Delhi, he has been part of this transformation that saw ‘entertaining’ radio becoming an affable and friendly partner of people from all walks of life. Autar Nehru in a conversation with Khurafati Nitin made an attempt to know if his success story can be a case study for youth aspiring a career in Radio Jockeying
How did you get into Radio Jockeying?
In fact, it is an interesting story. While I was in college (studying English (Hons) at KMC of Delhi University), my maternal uncle suggested me I should apply for a presenter in the All India Radio. I didn’t know much about radio at that time but I was into very active in theatre and doing a lot of plays etc. When my uncle brought the form, I laughed at it and sarcastically commented to him saying if selected I would be employed two-hours a month (half an hour each week)? What sort of job this would be? But he insisted and when I was in my final year, I gave audition and was selected.
Once at AIR, I realized what a radio presenter and radio programming was about. And, from the word go, I was all myself. Didn’t imitate or tried things outside my natural self. In my view that stood me in good stead as I progressed in my life as a RJ.
Interesting indeed! There is another interesting facet about you and that is Khurafati in your name. Now tell me about this also?
It is now well known that this has come from my mother who used to call me ‘Khurafati’, which translates as mischievous, as a child. May be I was a bit more naughty than children normally are. Once in radio, I was back to my childhood ways perhaps and adage of Khurafati gelled with it. And for the last 11 years, I am known by this name. In fact, my world is spread iround it. My bank account and my company is by this name. In fact, most people recognize me with this name only. It is very much part and parcel of my personna.. And, I am enjoying it.
Now tell me, how has the radio as medium changed before your eyes in the years that now you’ve spent with it?
A lot has changed. Radio has become more dynamic. There was one kind of radio, when I started, the way of talking was different. Ads were few or not at all. You were your boss with less of a hierarchy; it was you who scrambled a script for the show. Technology wise, there was cassette, tape pool and then CD.
Now that has completely changed. I am talking about private FM radio. The programming has become tighter, crisper. Now there are not pauses, it is seamless transmission. Radio is now a business and every second counts. Lot of thought, teamwork and hierarchy goes behind everything that is broadcast on radio. What is on top of the mind of nation or city of transmission is linked to content. So, it is about keeping and working on latest trends. Talking content is sounding both entertaining and lawfully sensitive and it is a hard work continuously in progress. Technology has become fully digital.
Do you feel Radio has a competition from 24 X 7 TV or omnipresent Internet or in other words these shifts have impacted the importance of radio as a mass medium?
Radio cannot be compared to any other media. It is a background medium. Meaning that it doesn’t interfere with people’s working, radio is easy listening. You continue to drive, work in kitchen, do routine work and simultaneously listen. It has also become interactive in spaces where previously it was unthinkable. As an entertainer, informer, counselor, chatterer, today’s radio is very different and unique.
Ok. Do you think community radio stations are also contributing to this in somewhat way?
Community Radio has a different purpose and target audience. You can’t call it mainstream radio. And given certain restrictions within which these have to work, there is little scope for entertaining RJing if I speak from jockeying point of view. But these are serving great purposes and to that extent, yes these are stimulating people to radio.
The only style that works on the radio is not pitting on a style. The trick is to be yourself, and that what works no matter which station you’re on.
Tell me career opportunities in radio jockeying?
Radio Jockeying is an art. A radio jockey is an artist. And good news is that private FM is here to stay. The opportunities are immense. Radio’s strong listener base is dependent on as much on the RJ as the content.. FM is a local medium and penetrates deep within every strata of society. Radio today is huge. Radio networks are continuously adding newer stations to our national footprint.
But then, it is not so easy to be a RJ?
Yes, I agree. First, we have to realize that every station has 4-5 main RJs and that way the opportunity is limited. So, if have a passion for this, you must be patient. It is not an overnight success. Metro cities are very important for owners of Radio stations because at the end of day it is business and advertisers money.
Start as an intern, Get launched in a small city. Get noticed. Keep mind open. The trick is to be yourself, and that what works no matter which station you’re on. And above this, it is your passion and seal to learn and work in team that can take you to realize your dreams. Salaries/Remuneration are decided basis your talent, experience and your hold in the market.
What are various technical and other skills needed to become a good RJ?
You must definitely be tech savvy, or it’s going to be a steep, treacherous, unforgiving, torturous uphill climb! A radio jockey is usually by himself/herself in the studio, and so u have to be technically very sound considering that all radio stations today run on a digital format and many have complex softwares that you must know in and out.
Also, you must have a flair for current affairs. Radio needs serious people with the right zeal and talent.
After having spent 17 years in radio, would you reflect on your won aptitude and preparation for this job?
I used to talk a lot, have always loved music like crazy and been a prankster all my life. I guess there aren’t any prerequisites but you need to have the gift of the gab.
But seriously, how does a youngster prepare for this job? This might be particularly helpful for those living outside big cities?
Tune in regularly to your favourite station and stay glued. Listening to radio should become like breathing for you if you want to train yourself into becoming a radio jockey. I do not recommend any training institute currently there, I would rather suggest joining a theatre group. Theatre trains you as a personality, teaches you discipline, timing and most importantly trains your voice, and that is crucial.
Khurafati Nitin is a dynamic and innovative person. Setting benchmarks and yet so friendly. So, what should we look forward to coming from him in coming years if we ask for his a few future plans?
Well, digital content is one. I am working with my brother on www.godatu.com, social networking of dances. And, my youth passion for acting remains intact. I hope, I will get an opportunity to act in films. And as a playwright, theatre artists, I will continue to serve theatre.