93.5 RED FM’s popular Nagpur radio jockey, RJ Akki in an interview with Nation Next talks about his inspiring journey as an RJ, his show ‘MH 935’ and why he loves being an RJ.
When and how did you become an RJ?
This may surprise many but my first ever job was as a Photoshop operator in Thakur Unicolour Lab situated at Modi no.3, Sitabuldi, Nagpur. I then worked in Reliance as a corporate sales executive and then I worked with Vodafone at the prepaid escalation desk. It was during my tenure at Vodafone that I got to know that 93.5 RED FM is starting its operations in Nagpur. I gave the interview, got a call for the second round after one and half months and got to know after two months that I was selected for the post of a radio jockey! I left for Bhopal that evening itself for a one-month formal training. I officially joined RED FM on February 1, 2008. It was purely luck that I became an RJ. I can now say that radio was my true calling in life.
How did your show come into existence and what’s it like?
In the initial ten months our channel was called as ‘S FM’ and back then I did shows like ‘Lift karade,’ ‘Morning no.1, ’Play with S FM,’ and ‘Chakkalas junction.’ Evening shows hold more weight as most of the advertisements are played in the evening. I worked hard and started my own show called ‘MH 935’ more than seven years back. ‘MH’ stands for Maharashtra and 935 stands for our Radio station. My show included a segment called ‘Janta ki Qawalli’ which has thankfully, been well received over the years. There’s also a segment called ‘Punchnama’ in which we have one-line punches for headlines of the day. In June 2016, I started a segment called ‘Band’ in which I do prank calls. Evening is the time when people come back tired from offices, schools and colleges and the intention is to refresh the mood of the listeners and make them laugh.
An RJ’s job is a monotonous job and requires a lot of hard work but a lot of people think that it’s just fun and no work…
It’s not a monotonous job. But yes there’s a lot of hard work involved contrary to what people think. I’m at my office from 12:30 pm till 9 pm and from 12:30 pm till 5 pm I have to prepare for my show. Other than this, there are times when I have to rush to take celeb interviews in case they are visiting the city. I hang out with my friends either in the morning before the office work or after it in the late evening or on Saturday when I have a half day at work.
An RJ is expected be happy all the time while on air. Does it take a toll on you at times?
It’s not that difficult for me and I can easily handle it. It’s taught to us that no matter how many problems we have in our personal life, it shouldn’t affect the show. During the show we need to be happy and keep our listeners happy too. After the show, we can go back to our personal life and deal with our problems.
A career of a radio jockey has a shelf life. It cannot go on forever. What are your future plans? Do you want to be an RJ always?
I love the zone I’m in right now. Talking to people and making complete strangers as friends is fun. Talking is my passion and I have an undying love for the microphone. RJs can continue till they are 40 and I think I will till then. There are a lot of other career options in the radio industry too. Given my experience, I will be able to apply for a post of programming head, a sound engineer or other senior positions. But being an RJ and having my own show gives me a high like no other.
What’s RJ Akki’s family life like? Akki is not your real name. Why and how did you get this name?
My family comprises of me and my mother. I’m the sole bread earner of the family. I have a sister who is married and I have a seven-year-old niece and a four-month-old nephew who are adorable. My real name is ‘Rohit Khandwe’ and I am a Maharashtrian. When I went for the training in Bhopal, there were popular RJs with aliases like ‘Akki’ and ‘Rocky’ whose real names were Akash and Rakesh. They were so famous that there pseudo names were given to RJs at other centers too as part of a strategy. I was rechristened ‘Akki’. After a few years this strategy was ruled out and RJs could keep their real names but my alias was retained as by then I became quite popular as ‘Akki’. I also have a nick name ‘Lucky’ but only my Mother calls me that, just as I’m called Rohit only by my best friends.