Man Skills

what does it take to be a radio jockey with yanik shrestha

Yanik Shrestha is one of the most popular RJ’s in Nepal today having worked with major radio brands. In fact, Yanik and his radio journey since 2000 mirrors the phenomenal growth and popularity of private FM radio channels in Nepal. Now serving as an RJ with Radio Nagarik, he has been part of this trans­formation that saw ‘entertaining’ radio becoming an affable and friendly partner for people from all walks of life. He is a big advocate for human rights and justice, and runs a program for that cause. He says radio is his love and passion, but his profession is in human rights and civil society. However, that being said, he is one hell of an RJ with lots of experience and an amazing voice. In this conversation, we make an attempt to know about him and his story for youth aspiring in a career of Radio Jockeying. So, what does it take to be an RJ? Take it from the best.


How did you get into Radio Jockey¬ing?
I becoming an RJ was completely unplanned for. I come from a musical family. My mom in particular was a musician, teacher, promoter, and a jazz singer. I grew up around music as my mom would be cooking with jazz playing in the background. As a kid I didn’t really understand it, but that’s how it starts; you start knowing more and more until you get drenched in that kind of surrounding and you grow to appreciate it over time. Then, as I was growing older, as everyone, I was confused as to what I wanted to do in life.
Back then, Radio Nepal was the only radio that was in operation at the time. Eventually, the industry did get privatized and it flourished. This was around the year 2003 or 2004, and Niraj Dai was a key figure in it all. He used to be my P.E. teacher and I knew him quite well. After I was done with my schooling, our paths randomly crossed. We began to talk, and he eventually told me that he was looking for a few voices for radio and whether I’d be interested or not? I answered that with a loud yes as I wasn’t doing anything else at the time. I think I was 17 then and I have been on the same path ever since.


How do you feel about it?
I love it. As I grow older I see the changes around the radio industry. I see new faces and new voices that come in, how they speak, how they present themselves on air. So, it is very interesting to me. All the transitions I have seen from 15 years ago to now is an experience I’m proud of. And the part about radio I like is that it is a space where people know the voice and the name, but they don’t know the person personally; which is unlike any other media platform. You can have our privacy and I love that aspect about radio.


Did you go through any challenges? And if so what did you do to over¬come them?
Certainly. As every industry, radio has its own challenges. To name a few; not enough salaries, difficult timings, and weird protocols that didn’t match the work. But I am a guy who is vocal about things that should be changed if it doesn’t make sense. So I’ve always taken a stand and that is how I’ve overcome some of them. However, some challenges are not in that easily and it is a process that takes time. Some of those my hands to overcome that easily and it is a process that takes time. In the same manner, some of those challenges have been addressed over time and I am glad about that. The trick is to not stay silent.

How has the Radio industry changed from what it was to what it is now?
I think Radio is endless and timeless. It will always be there. The matter of how dormant some of the radio stations are is because they are not being able to keep up with the time. You just have to move ahead with the advancement of technology. Like Radio Nagarik, where I work right now, is doing a lot of social media appearances like going live with YouTube and Instagram. Radio on its own won’t die even if we don’t keep up with the time, but it will be stagnant and monotonous. It is so easy to turn the dial and change the channels, so we need to keep the audience and the listeners interested and engaged. Hiring new voices and coming up with new shows is a must as well. Entertainment is the goal in radio, and we can’t just blame the organization all the time we as RJs need to keep improving our skills every day. To keep our voices on air, hard work is required, and that is what we should do, have done, and keep doing.



Do you have moments that you still cherish to this day over the years in Radio?
Yes. I have a lot of those that range from great to just downright scary. One scary moment is that there was this one girl who was in a rock band and was a frequent caller. But then she started stalking me. I honestly loved her music and what she was doing, but she got hold of my landline number and would to call me and tell me things that creeped me out. Then one day, I straight up asked her to stop meddling with my personal life.
Then there are wonderful memories. I am in touch with my callers from day one. I have seen them grow and do good things in life and that feels amazing. It is like looking at them from a distance but also feeling a sense of belonging and involvement, you know. All of these, both good and bad, are things I’ll cherish for life.

So tell us, what does it take to be an RJ?
Don’t be anxious about life, basically. And when a challenge does come up, stand up to it and work on yourself and with others around you. And if you are a music lover, I cannot stress this enough, but radio is music as well. You need to know the music and be passion¬ate about it. And that is how you engage with the callers. Give them information on the music they are listening to so that they may get something out of it than just furniture music. Don’t make it all about yourself either, but a medium to hear people and talk on contents that are relevant to them. Always remember how much information is too much because if you keep talking about things just you are passionate about, then what is the point of engaging people? Also, the fame and the popularity is secondary, don’t make it your goal. And you do need to think quickly, you need to train yourself to not mess up or get stuck. So do your research and make each of your shows as fluent as possible stuck so do your research and make each of your show fluent.

Do you have any advice for aspiring voices and RJs?
My advice would be to not be shy, because if you don’t try, you won’t know your potential. And after you have jumped in and tried, train your voice, do your rehearsals well. Find out new topics to talk on because when you are new, taking about a topic a few times will be interesting, but overtime you cannot do the same thing again and again. You can’t just talk about the weather and ask the callers how they are. Keep up with the current happenings in the world and make it interesting for people who are listening. So, do your research and hone your style.


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