Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Friends FM from Kolkata

Chennai Big FM on social responsibility

R a d i o s t a t i o n s h a v e b e e n j ump i n g o n t h e c o r p o r a t e s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ( C S R ) bandwagon as part of their marketing exercise. The benefi ts derived from such activities, although not measurable in commercial terms, are highly rewarding. One station that has gone big on CSR is Big 92.7FM. Since its launch in September 2006, t h e s t a t i o n h a s ma d e t h e effort to support numerous causes as part of their CSR campaigns. A case in point; the day the station went on air in Chennai, it organised a walk near the city’s Marina beach in its support to create awareness on traffi c safety. The station has also used t h e i r ma r k e t i n g mu s c l e t o w e a v e i n f i l m s t a r s a n d sportsmen to promote their activities. Causes to support t h e p l i g h t o f u n f o r t u n a t e children have been big in many of its campaigns’ focus. Tamil actress, Asin, celebrated her birthday with 40 children from an orphanage and RJ Dheena was involved in a campaign supporting children with HIV/AIDS. And leveraging on their sponsorship status as official radio partner of the premier hockey league (PHL), it organised for the Chennai h o c k e y t e a m ( C h e n n a i Veerans) and RJ Gopi to visit cancer-stricken children at the government cancer hospital. A c t i v i t i e s i n t h e f i r s t s i x months have also included the following: • A free eye check up camp a l o n g w i t h a R o t a r y e y e hospital, resulting in free eye check-ups for around 1000 people. • An event to honour local heroes, such as Dr. Kanaga, who is Asia’s fi rst female neuro surgeon. • A b i k e r a l l y t o s p r e a d awareness on the importance of using helmets. • A morning walk to spread awareness of keeping healthy and to make exercise a regular routine. W h a t m a k e s t h e t r e n d interesting is that the station has never asked for sponsors to fund these activities, as the entire cost has been borne by the station’s marketing budget. So this begs the question, why does the station adopt this strategy? Zarine Jalil Menon, station manager, BIG 92.7 Chennai, thinks the money is well spent and the effort well worth the trouble. "As a radio station, we want to be well connected with our listeners. To do that, we need to address their issues a n d c o n c e r n s , w h a t e v e r t h e y m i g h t b e . " Menon also believes that if the station is able to create public awareness of certain issues, "all of us [can only] gain from it." The station doesn’t isolate a n y o n e c a u s e a s m o r e important than the other, as Menon says, "We will highlight any cause which deserves attention. We have had our l i s t e n e r s c o n t r i b u t e t o t h e medical expenses of children who could not afford it. If such instances come to our notice, we will defi nitely highlight them and involve our listeners in the alleviation of the problem." A l t h o u g h , a c c o r d i n g t o Menon, the benefits from the spend are visible, they are not c omme rc i a l l y me a s u r a b l e . "Through such activities, our listeners and advertisers see us as a responsible station. As we have stuck to CSR from the time we launched, the city sees our conviction in our own policy, and that is very important for our reputation- building."

The Radio Jockey’s Handbook

Do you have what it takes to become an RJ?
Being a radio jockey is not only about relying on your voice, but it involves a whole lot of knowledge as well, says jock, trainer and writer, Simran Kohli in her new book
What does it take to become a radio jockey? And who better to answer this question than someone who’s been there – and is still doing that?
Simran Kohli is now a radio jockey with Big FM in New Delhi, and is also the producer of the late night show, 9 Baje Ki Setting. Having worked with Radio Mirchi, the BBC, Red FM and Hum FM (in Dubai), Simran felt it was time that she shared her experiences – and penned them down in a book, the first of ten books on radio that she proposes.
The Radio Jockey Handbook, which is available in both English and Hindi, targets both the would-be jockey and those already involved in the profession. The book’s structure is properly thought through and carefully laid out.
Adopting a question and answer format, the handbook first deals with the crucial question: do you have what it takes to become a jockey? Most aspirants think that all one needs is a voice, and Kohli quickly disabuses the reader of the notion. She makes it clear that the successful jockey needs more than God-given talent, and that there’s a lot of hard work – and knowledge involved. The book takes you through the process involved in the creation of a program, the elements that go into making a show, the preparation required to make the most efficient use of the resources available at hand.
For the would be radio jockey, Kohli’s book serves two purposes: one, the aspirant, after reading the handbook, is clear that he or she does not have the requisite skills to succeed in this demanding industry. The second is that the aspirant is certain that radio is an industry that he or she could make a mark in.
The book is laced with experiential illustrations that make one’s understanding of the craft better, and the aspirant makes a more informed decision on whether or not to pursue a career in the burgeoning industry.
For those in the industry, the book aims to make them better professionals, teaching them how the maximize the talent and resources at hand.
Published by Fusion Books, The Radio Jockey’s Handbook is handy to have around for professionals, and an investment well made for the hopefuls.