Thursday, April 10, 2008

My First Experience as a Radio Professional...

Being a creative and truly versatile soul I keep my fingers in many pies. It’s my nature to keep doing something new constantly in life. Kabhi dance to kabhi writing... Kabhi swimming to kabhi teaching..! Last year I appeared for a written exam at Radio station for Gujarati news reading position. (Have you heard a software professional doing so before?!)I passed this exam and a voice audition followed in February 2008. (It was just before a day I was supposed to leave for my marriage in Gujarat!)I cleared that too. And last month my training started for the post of a Gujarati news reader of Aakashwani - All India Radio. I have to reach AIR building after my office hours whenever I am supposed to do the duty. Generally 2 officers are on duty every day. They have to sort the news items from the heap of papers that keep piling up through out the day. (These news strips come from News agencies like PTI, Bhasha etc.)The news are printed in English and Hindi. The officers on duty have to sort and select some 10-15 news items for translation. They translate them into Gujarati and then it is supposed to be read by one of the officers during 10 minutes interval from 08:50 PM to 09:00 PM.I find it all very interesting - specially the reading the news on Radio (Live broadcast) part! Though this news bulletin can't be heard from anywhere in India (It is for Gujarati Audience in middle and East Africa) I am sure it would give me immense satisfaction and pleasure when I would read my first news on Radio.
On Wednesdays there is a program called 'Vartman Na Vhahen'(Current Affairs) and on Thursdays - 'Akhbaar Ni Atari e thee'(From the news balcony) which are both five minutes duration programs. Here the officer on duty would prepare an article from newspaper or write something related to current affairs on his/her own and read it on Radio.

Yesterday I got the first chance to go On Air. I had to prepare and read an article from a newspaper for 5 minutes. Now this 5 minutes should also include brief intro and the summary and the presenter’s name etc. I was over excited to step into the world of Radio and doing something new of this sort for the first time in my life. (I have participated in Radio Drama during my school days some 15 years ago and have cleared auditions also for Gujarati drama and news reading but this was for the first time I was going to present something professionally for a Live audience in Africa. I had chosen an article on 'Global Warming’. The article was long and my mentor Maitrayiben warned me about its length and that I would not be able to read it in 5 minutes. But I was over-confident and assured her that I would edit some part and finish it well in time.

Was I nervous when I entered the recording studio? I had decided to record my own voice through my mobile as there was no other way I could have heard what and how I spoke. I had kept the settings also ready on my mobile just had to press OK to start recording. But as soon as the newsreader Jyotiben finished reading news I got excited and in hurry forgot to click OK on my mobile. I took my seat and started reading. I guess I was too fast. Though my pronunciations of Gujarati words were quite clear and I didn't do a single mistake in reading, I made a blunder! I didn't look up to see the clock hanging on the wall opposite to me which is a must ritual for a newsreader or anybody who is giving a live performance on radio. I didn't see what my mentor Maitrayiben wanted to tell me through signs. I didn't see at the big equipment which had a scale to show how loud you speak. Louder you speak higher is the angle by which the needle of this instrument deflects. I never noticed deviation of this needle. I just kept on reading (or running?!) to finish my article. It was more than 5 minutes. I could feel the uneasiness around but didn't stop. kept going on and on. even after Maitrayiben clearly signed me to wind up, I could not stop. Finally she had to come beside me and abruptly switched off the button to stop the broadcast and to allow the radio speaker Taruben to continue her further program. After the recorded program tape was connected to the broadcast equipment, Taruben gave me a firing! She was not angry upon me but she explained me all my mistakes clearly and with a seniors style. She is a veteran in this field and knows all the nuances of Radio job. So is my mentor Maitrayiben. She also didn't favour me and explained me all the things I shall take care of while giving a program on Radio. Both these ladies were very kind and didn't insult me at all or scold me but taught me some very important lessons. I felt very very bad from inside. I tried to read newspaper and book (Kite Runner) in train while returning home but could not concentrate and my mood was not good. After returning home, first I narrated the whole incident to my mom and sister but still mood-change thing didn't happen yet. Now today after a day is over since my yesterday's bravado and after writing it down in this blog and sharing it with all my good friends (you all!), I am feeling good and now I feel I have overcome the blunder! Now my next duties are in next week.

Hope I do full justice to my job as Radio presenter and do my Best!


  1. hey bro, I think it was fantastic enough to just go live, on AIR! Think about it - you got an experience which remains as a dream, for millions. Gratefulness often brings a paradigm shift. I hope that with this perspective of looking at it gratefully, you will feel a lot more better! Don't worry about the blunders, they are a thing of the past. And the day won't be far when South African Indians would say, "let's hear our Vikas bhai!" My best wishes are with you, bro.

  2. Hey Vikas, this is really great. You needn't worry about the initial hiccups. I am sure you will turn out great as a newscaster, and soon, as one of your friends said, we'll have the African Gujratis saying "Let's hear our Vikas Bhai."