I am a host for a South Asian Radio station based out of New Jersey. I have been involved with TV, radio and stage shows for a good while now.
My typical ‘Radio Day’ doesn’t usually require much immediate preparation. However, it does require a lot of regular reading. I make it a point to read about the latest happenings around the world, and in our South Asian community everyday. That helps me when I talk on air. Some people know me as a
chalta phirta Bollywood ka encyclopedia (a walking/ talking Bollywood encyclopedia). I am a spontaneous host. I like to act as per my mood. I also interact with my listeners a lot and don’t prefer scripting before the show.
Only for some special shows do I write notes. Otherwise I start thinking about the show when my hour starts. On Sundays, I host the Wedding special show, and the topic of discussion in that hour is decided during the 10-minute drive to the studio. I believe in being spontaneous. Sometimes, if I feel that the response from the listeners is not that great on a particular topic, I change it in the second half of the show.
I take a lot of ideas and suggestions from my program director Kulraaj
Anand. It is also thanks to him that I am known in the media world as
“Mamta Jisko Kuch Nahin Jamta". The title came to his mind in a couple of seconds on my first day at the studio, six years ago. This tagline is my identity today.
The most interesting part of being a radio host is that I get to build a bond with so many people through the airwaves without having met them personally. In the six years that I have been doing radio shows, there have been a lot of incidences that have left an imprint on my memory.
I used to host a Bollywood quiz, and in one episode I was asking a question related to the color of the dress Aishwarya Rai wore in
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, when one frustrated listener called in and said
“Mamta, duniya main itna kuch serious discuss karne ko pada hai tumhe Aishwarya ke kapdon ki padi hai..humain kya lena dena usne kya pehna kya
(There are so many serious issues in the world, and you are worried about Aishwarya’s clothes. How does it matter what she wore?)”…I thought he was quite right.
There have been instances when visitors from India listen in to our station and tell me that my shows are like the ones done in India. It feels great. There have been many joyous moments meeting famous personalities: Amitabh
Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri
Aamir Khan , Abhishek Bachchan and many others. There has always been something to learn in the brief meetings with them.
There have been embarrassing moments too. I host a show called “The Wedding Special”, where I talk to listeners on any interesting topic related to married life and play wedding songs. It is a fun filled and entertaining show on EBC every Sunday afternoon. Until early this year, a majority of my listeners kept guessing if I was married or single, as I never answered this particular question. I used to tell my listeners,
“Arrey bhai mujhe kuch jamta hi nahin to shadi kaise
jamegi!” I received many proposals on air. But then, all of a sudden, the news of the arrival of my baby was announced straight from the hospital on air…some of my listeners must have been shocked. Thank God, it didn’t raise any controversy!
When I started my media career, I had less of personal responsibilities, but during the last six years, life has changed a lot. I am mother to a nine-month-old girl
Mehr, which takes a lot of time and commitment.
I am a computer engineer when I am not hosting/presenting. I work for a marketing company. In a typical day, I get to work around 8:30am, be back by 6 pm, take care of the baby, cook dinner, read about latest happenings around the world, make a note on what’s happening in our South Asian community locally, and go to bed by midnight. Certain weekdays, I may attend a media press conference or function, which occupies my evening. On weekends I have lot of social commitments. I also host stage shows. I have been part of cultural programs in the tri state area, mostly on Saturday, so if I have to host a show, then weekends get busy.
I am originally from Delhi. My father was in the defense services so I got to travel to almost all parts of the country. This made me aware of the vast cultural tapestry of our country- its different traditions, festivals, colors and since childhood I was fascinated with all that. When I was in the 11th grade, I went for an All India Radio audition, and was selected as an announcer. But at that point my focus was studies so I couldn’t work on AIR. I was very involved in debates, dance and drama at school, college and interstate levels. Cultural activities used to interest me more than studies, but somehow I performed very well academically. When I came to US in 1996, I heard that EBC Radio was looking for
RJs. I decided to give it a try, and from that day a new journey began. I have slowly become a very active part of South Asian media. I started hosting shows based on
Bollywood, giving listeners the latest updates from
filmi duniya and also hosting an extremely popular quiz show, again based on
Bollywood. After hosting shows on EBC Radio for about six months I received an audition invite from a south Asian TV producer. There again I was the chosen one and started hosting TV shows on weekends, which were aired via cable network and nationally on Dish Network. To my surprise, after hosting TV shows for about 5 months, I became the proud producer of the show and got to learn a lot about production work, but all through this phase I remained an active part of radio, although the focus was television at that time. Then, in 2001, I sold my production company and went back to my first love, radio, once again talking to strange people and entertaining them with new and old songs.. which I still do to this day. During the span of six years, EBC radio has changed frequencies. Right now we are on 1170AM,
To be a radio host is easy. But to be a good radio host is tough. The technique is never to be fake, artificial, rude or arrogant. I present my shows as if I am talking to my peers. I am as natural as I am in real life. An RJ is judged by the confidence in his/her voice. Even if you make a mistake, you have to cover it up with your confidence.
But most importantly, a radio host should love to talk!
Please visit my website when you have a moment: www.voiceofmamta.com