Sheba Mathew’s Journey From Being an Introvert to a Successful RJ

Sheba Mathew (RJ)

Insights

  1. Radio Jockey is a complete package of a creative head, producer, and manager along with speaking skills and a little luck factor.
  2. RJs are required to be cool and entertaining. Therefore, they can’t afford to be boring.
  3. Work-life balance is good except there is one big disadvantage and that is no traveling as you’re required to be in a studio.
  4. Radio Jockey is a short curriculum covered under mass communication studies. There are no specific courses for becoming a radio jockey.
  5. Don’t ever get into an institution, which promises that they can make you an RJ in 3 months.
  6. The minimum salary you can expect is INR 15,000/- per month and maximum goes to INR 7 lakhs per month.
  7. Just because you speak a lot, or your voice is attractive, doesn’t mean that you can be a successful radio jockey. It’s much more than that. It is being able to relate to your audience.

Profile details

Name – Sheba Mathew

Profession – Radio Jockey

Age – 29 years

Gender – Female

City – Kanpur

Industry – Media

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/rj-sheba-mathew-06317b42

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/Radiojocksheba/

Where have you been born and raised?

I hail from Kanpur and was born and raised in a Christian family. My father is employed as an art teacher and mother is a head nurse in a hospital. My younger brother is a National Chess player and a chess coach at the school.

I completed my graduation from Christ Church College.

Just like a normal student, I uploaded my resume to Naukri.com website, and fortunately, it worked out like magic.

Though, I always dreamt of being an accountant or running my own business.

Who all had the most influence on you and how?

To keep life moving forward, you need parents and mine have always been my inspiration. Their nurture made me who I am today. They hardly disagreed with my decisions and during rough times, they stood by me. They’ve let me accept downfalls with the hope of rising again.

Please give us a summary of your career.

Just after my bachelors in October 2007, I was called for an interview. The interviewer panel found my voice suitable for being a radio jockey.

Without hesitation, I entered the media industry after my selection at S FM, which is now famous as Red FM.

I worked for eight and a half years at Red FM and then in March 2016, I switched to Big FM at Agra. But, due to some unavoidable circumstances, I resigned from there within three months.

In July 2016, I received a call from Fever 95 FM. Since then, I am working here as a morning jock and my show timings are 7 to 11 am. I’ve covered all hours (morning, noon and night) in all these working years as an RJ.

Which institutes are best for the education/training of a Radio Jockey?

I neither pursued mass communication after intermediate nor any post-graduation, I would like to share it was my fate. As there was a new radio channel and liked my voice, I got in.

Radio is a small portion under mass communication. There are some best institutes in our country like Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and Jamia Milia Islamia.

I won’t recommend any specific university as RJ job is totally dependent on one’s talent. Don’t ever get into local institutions which say that they can make you an RJ within 3 months.

Nobody becomes a radio jock in a couple of hours or days. The fees and charges of this course depend per college and if you want to do well you must pay for your required course.

How does one become an RJ?

To be a radio jockey your first check is creativity. You need to create fresh content every day. Although the latter is quite challenging but that’s where you showcase your skills.

There are different radio channels where people can apply for radio jockey if they think they have an attractive voice and creativity skills.

The selection process involves voice test, write for radio, advertisements, knowledge, pronunciations, language skills etc.

The best way to enter this profession is through an internship. These days broadcasting channels are hiring interns where they train them, sharpen their skills and provide radio studio. During the internship, you are supposed to work across RJying, copywriting, producing shows, sound engineering, outdoor broadcasting, selecting news for radio and few more jobs.

It is completely based on terms and conditions of a company if they hire fresher or a pro; paid or unpaid internships; or few conduct radio hunts in which candidates are hired through on-stage rounds.

What is the salary of an RJ in India?

The remuneration for this job depends on RJ’s performance and the number of channels s/he is on-air.

The minimum salary you can expect is INR 15,000/- per month and maximum goes to INR 7 lakhs per month.

Salary is totally dependent on you and your company’s standing in the market. Annual increments can range between 2% to 80 %.

Otherwise, when you are stable and switching to another channel, you can negotiate salary package as with time it increases eventually.

How does a normal day in the life of an RJ (you) look like?

On a normal workday, I do my show “Total Kanpuriya” from 7 AM to 11 AM. This is followed by a break. Other than being on air, I give my voice for the advertisements or promotion activities.

I prepare my schedule and for the show next day including news, the topic of my show, phone calls, songs, editing, research, and discourses.

With the vastly changing world, we need to be on our toes and always be updated with the news. Our content has to be new each day and it’s all about infotainment (information and entertainment).

I am my own scriptwriter and I often speak independently of a rigid script. This comes naturally with experience. I have been to the studio at odd hours at times of emergency, which is affecting citizens of India.

Additionally, I have covered show of another jock (RJ), who is absent. We need to fill in for others, as the show must go on.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to become an RJ?

  1. Your gain more self-confidence and your creativity, intellect, and communication skills improve beyond imagination. I was an introvert, but my profession changed my personality.
  2. The salary is not fixed, it is flexible and as I have mentioned it mostly depends on your performance plus skills. The increments can happen in a year or maybe in four months, it all depends on you.
  3. The work-life balance is amazing. You get to socialize on the job. There is no forced professionalism like a 9-hour job. You also receive fame and popularity as an added benefit.
  4. Talking about growth, you get famous being a radio jockey if you have your own style and rhythm. People listen to you and love your show, you have your fans and people want to see you. You can also be a Programming Head of the company who manages all the radio stations and helps radio jockeys, check for their content, but they aren’t into glamour thing. After this post, you can climb to Regional Programming Head and later National Programming Head.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering being an RJ as a career?

  1. The main requisite is ‘fresh content”. It becomes tough after a point to come up with new topics. Even songs and trends seem to become similar to something previously done, leaving your brain muddled.
  2. Another disadvantage is that you can’t travel as for RJ’s, the studio is their home. I seldom meet people or go out to cheer the crowd. This charges me and allows me to discover subjects, which I haven’t taken up yet.
  3. Internships are mostly unpaid and therefore the starting of this career is challenging. On top of that, there is tremendous pressure to learn everything in a very short period of time.
  4. The starting salary is also low, which makes it very hard to make a comfortable living out of it.

What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding a premium for an RJ?

The relevant trends and skills for a radio jockey are:

i) Computer knowledge (MS Office and other software)

ii) Sound software, which is covered under training period

iii) Production courses

iv) Audio automation software

These topics fall under your training for a radio channel where they make you learn and work on such technologies. Different companies use different software like Zeta, Sony Vegas, Audio Vault, Next Zen, and others.

You also need to know about radio devices viz. mixing console, microphones etc.

What kind of person would be happy as RJ?

You can be happy anywhere if you love your job. Someone who is creative, has good communication skills, with strong determination and is willing to take on pressure would definitely love this career. Once you satisfy your audience, you feel immense joy.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

I would have liked to become a VJ (Video Jockey). Now, I wish to host a television show after all these years I’ve spent being a voice charm. Other than being a VJ, I would like to be a travel blogger.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?

Students who want to pursue my career can contact me through my Facebook page or contact any other radio jockey for advice. You should grab all opportunities in an internship. Don’t take admissions at local radio institutes. Before joining any radio station, make sure your blood pumps for radio activities, listen to every show, notice other radio jockeys, the time bands, ads and learn to write for the ear. Radio is a local medium so come up with relatable topics where our audience can connect and appreciate your show. Other than this, confidence and exposure is another key. The rest depends on your luck. All the best.

You may also like to check our conversation with RJ Naman.