Metrolife: Vulnerable to abuse, RJs take it in their stride

Metrolife: Vulnerable to abuse, RJs take it in their stride

Rapid Rashmi. Image courtesy: Artist

An RJ has complained to the police against rape and assault threats she has been receiving in the wake of a show in which she asked a 'provocative' question.

Rapid Rashmi, who hosts the Rapid Rashmi Show on Facebook and another show on Big FM 92.7 channel, asked director Anup Bhandari how he would describe people who wouldn't watch his latest release Rajaratha. His answer was 'Kachada nan makkalu,' translating to 'trashy b******s.' 

It sparked a furore, and the Film Chamber made him and his brother Nirup, who plays the hero of the film, apologise. Rashmi also had to apologise for asking the question.

Being an RJ brings with it professional challenges. And that includes sharing opinions, and sometimes details of what is happening in their lives.

RJ Rashmi, whose full name is Rashmi Ramakrishna, prefers to keep it all open. “This is how I look at this: my listeners are my friends. Listening to what I say has become a practice for them, so I talk to them as freely as I can. I find that being open to them brings out the common factor with them instantly.”

She is thrilled that radio jockeys are seen as the face of a community now. She says, “When I started my career in 2006, I was a bit hesitant to share my personal life stories. My audience would only understand the persona but now they know my personality too. The digital media has helped change that and I couldn’t be happier,” she exclaims.

Disha Oberoi, who works for Red FM 93.5, is more circumspect about sharing personal stories. “It is the need of the hour to join social media and be present in as many platforms as you can. And you have to keep updating your accounts with whatever is going on so that your listeners feel included in your life,” she admits.

She chooses to post only what she thinks the world should know. “It is a lot of work to think what you have to say and post. I am a fiercely private person; this is something that I am trying to work on and know what kind of content works,” she explains.

Disha recalls a time when the radio channel was running a ‘no honking’ campaign, and she used to get lewd messages for the tagline they used – 'Don’t be horny.'

She explains, “I used to be overwhelmed and scared but thankfully the firm has your back. This has just become a part of my life now.”

Sundeep Rao was already a popular figure because of the stand-up comedy shows. Joining Indigo 91.9 has only increased his fan base.

He says, “There are certain guidelines that the radio channel will have on the topics you can talk about. But the world of stand-up comedy and radio is quite different. Radio is a mass medium where you can’t see the people you’re talking to or know how they are reacting to you. So it’s important that you try to keep your topics as generic as possible and relate to your listeners.”

He has made a conscious decision not to be too active on social media, so he says that a lot of people don't know what he looks like.

“Being popular should be a by-product of what you do. I like to be as uncensored as possible when I am conversing with my audience,” he says.

Sriram Sullia of Fever 104 FM likes to keep his private life private, especially when it comes to his daughter. He says, “I post very limited things when it comes to the little one. I understand she is an individual and I need to respect her privacy. She can decide if she wants to come into the limelight, but till then, it will be as limited as possible.”

However, he is more than happy to embrace the celebrity tagline given to him. 

“I don’t mind if people see me in a public place and want to take a picture with me. I personally like the attention,” he says, laughing.

Threat messages
RJ Rashmi recently filed a complaint with the cyber crime police and State Women’s Commission after she began receiving abusive messages and threats on her Facebook account.
She says the messages started pouring in after her show with brothers Anup and Nirup Bhandari, in which they jokingly referred to unwilling audiences as trash. Rashmi says she has apologised for the incident but continues to get threats.

It’s part of the job
“When you put out information, be prepared to be judged and criticised. You need to accept that this is part and parcel of the job.”
RJ Sriram Sullia

Flood of support on social media
“My colleagues have been extremely supportive during this period. They are expressing their feelings on social media. Even people who were initially critical of me have lent their support in the face of this harassment. Some troll pages have also backed me.”
Rapid Rashmi

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