RJ Jane quit the corporate life of a senior sales manager to pursue her passion for radio.
Morning traffic in Bangalore is probably one of the most tedious ways to start a day. As Bangalore’s commuters heave synchronised sighs of frustration, they turn to their radios for relief – and RJ Jane is ready to help. With a piping hot mug of Americano in hand, she equips herself to amuse velocity-challenged and entertainment-starved commuters.
Jane’s been holding listeners’ attention for a little over seven years now. But before becoming an FM diva, she had waded deep into IT Sales. So what changed, you may ask?
From the matrix of IT to the world of radio
But our story doesn’t start there. An engineer with a marketing degree, Jane found herself in corporate circles, working in IT sales. After a year-long stint, she confesses she felt something missing, “I’m not of the opinion that hardware sales is an unsatisfying profession. It just wasn’t for me. I wanted to do something more, something that made me happy.” And that’s how she wound up as the Guest Relations Coordinator with Chennai Live.
She did radio programming before landing her first gig, to gradually become a prime-time regular and host ‘Metro Mornings’ on Chennai Live. “The other thing I think that worked for me is that I love to talk,” she chuckles.
It was back in 2009 when Jane made the switch. For a paycheck valuing far lesser than what she was making earlier and no formal education in radio broadcasting, Jane plunged headlong into the industry. Learning and working her way, she’s grown to don more roles and forayed into radio branding in these few years.
Her love for radio is what, Jane says, gets her out of bed every morning and into the studio, “Radio’s like a close friend – informative, entertaining and interactive. It gives you a great perspective of the people of your city.” According to her, it has the power to build relationships, “There are so many different people you get to meet on-air, some of whom you end up keeping in touch with.”
Speaking about the connection that radios help forge, she recalled the Chennai floods and how help kept pouring in, “It was truly marvellous to have so many people call in, offer help and coordinate rescue operations. It was an example of the collective power of the radio and people.”
From sales monotony to matching wavelengths on air
Sometimes interactions also lead to fangirl moments for Jane, like the time she met Shashi Tharoor, “He is someone I’m in awe of. He is so well-read and knowledgeable. There is so much one could learn from him, and be left longing for more.” With the pioneer show ‘Paperback’, Jane’s talked books with the big guns including Ken Follett, William Dalrymple, Ruskin Bond, Jeet Thayil, Judy Balan, and Sreemoyee Piu Kundu among others.
Jane says, “It started with my interest in the medium, coupled with my love for books. That was the inception of ‘Paperback’.”
And just like the show, it is imperative for radio jocks to keep their content fresh. With private FMs steering clearing of topics pertaining to politics, religion and reading news bulletin, RJs are always innovating ways to keep their listeners hooked. But that doesn’t seem to intimidate Jane, “There are just so many things to talk about! Like when Twitter announced increased character count for Tweets, or the Iphone X launch. The trick is to be on the top of your news feed and introduce a dialogue.”
From sedentary desk job to climbing radio waves – Jane’s secret to success
Jane has come a long way. She’s a recognisable voice on Radio One Bangalore. She’s built a niche for herself. And, she’s a person with insight into the struggles of pursuing off-beat careers.
“It is true that radio jockeying is more accessible today than it was when I started. But the fight to the top has also just become more difficult,” comes Jane’s honest reply. “Radio jockeys are no longer celebrities. Rather, we’re social influencers and friends you would have a conversation with,” she adds, and believes that that is what sets a good RJ apart.
And as risk-takers, she believes the younger generation is more open to seeking out alternate career options. This, she believes results from the sense of security that their parents have been able to provide. “I know of people in their early teens who are proactively finding ways to pursue their passions. And this is possible because of the support and insulation their parents provide,” she says.
Of people who have settled into their professions but are looking to add more value to their lives, Jane cites an example closer home, “My friend is a corporate yuppie by day and an amazing baker by night. She looks up recipes and bakes, all the while holding on to a full-time job. To me, anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and she’s a case in point.” And keeping true to herself, Jane has embarked on another new adventure with food vlogging. She has reviewed numerous restaurants including Mamagoto, Carlton Bangalore and Hard Rock Café.
The secret, Jane believes, is a little faith in yourself and a lot of courage to chase the dream. And coming from someone who’s been there and done that, this advice is gold!