What would you
call a mistake that happened 27 years ago, and has not been corrected so far?
Meet Jimmy Tangree. A freelance DJ, Jimmy is also an RJ and the Station Head at 91.9 Friends fm, Kolkata. He says that he got into DJing and RJing by mistake!
Well, we thank him for never correcting that one!
Q-You have been a DJ and an RJ for over 27 years and you say that you got into both of these by a mistake! Tell me about it!
A- This goes back to 1983 February. I had just finished my 10th, so I was about 16 years old. I come from a business family and my late father was a member of the Calcutta Swimming Club. I used to go there on Saturday nights for the jam session. One such Saturday night, the DJ had too many drinks and guess what happened! While the music was playing, he slept and the music stopped (believe me)! A lady who was a committee member of the club called me.
“Jimmy why don’t you start DJing from next Saturday?”
“I know nothing about DJing”
“Do you love music?”
“Then from next Saturday you start!”
So next Saturday night, I went to the club with my wealth of music- 6 audio cassettes! There was a cosmic amplifier, a cosmic deck and 4 normal speakers. There was no mixer, no CD player, no mic, nothing! So you played 1 song and as it was finishing, you pressed the button and started the next cassette deck!
That’s how I started my DJing career at the Calcutta swimming Club on a Saturday night. At that time I would not even have 2-3 couples on the dance floor!
Slowly I built it up and I remember, over a year, we used to have 600-700 people at the club premises on a Saturday night!
It was doing well and the club suddenly decided to bring in a high power system for the jam night! I still remember the system came with a small mixer, mic and of course cassette decks!
You know what? I could not speak to save my life!
I used to listen to a lot of radio and I always thought
“If the goras can speak so well on the radio, why can’t I even try?”
One night there was a ballroom session and I realized that I have to start using the mic. I put in a song and I was so nervous, I announced the wrong song, and at the end of it the mic slipped out of my hand!
That’s how I started talking on the mic in 1984!
I carried on DJing every Saturday night and I did opening acts for Dr Alban, Tata Young, Bryan Adams and so many singers!
In 1992-93, the Taj Bengal approached me to host their monthly event. In April 1993 I started doing this, meanwhile I was playing across the country and abroad as well!
In February 1994 I got a call from a gentleman, who was a part of the Times of India!
“Jimmy we would be starting a radio station, why don’t you join us?”
“I have never done radio in my life, I don’t know anything about it!”
I used to speak well, I used to rap, I had already performed at various outdoor sessions with a crowd of 8000 where the music and interaction was great! So he told me
“Jimmy you speak well, I think u can do it!”
I joined as a freelance RJ for Times Fm. I remember the first day on 26th July, I went for the first ever live private FM broadcast in Kolkata! I had never walked into a radio studio before! Those days private FM used to broadcast from the AIR studios. There were not separate frequencies.
My show was at 7 in the morning! I entered the studio and there was an engineer from Delhi. I looked around; there were CD players, gap machines, cassette machines and vinyl players.
I asked the sound engineer
“What should I do?”
“Just put up the slider and talk into the mic!”
That sounded easy!
You know what happened next? As I spoke, the transformer tripped and I was off air for about a minute!
That’s how I started my live radio career!
This went on and from Times FM I moved to Sa Re Ga Ma to India Today Group to Red FM to Friends FM. I have been the Head and an RJ at Friends FM for 7 years now.
I still DJ for major outdoor events. At Friends FM, along with RJing, I look into all the aspects of brand, connect and business! Every day is a learning, innovating and an engaging experience.
Talking of innovation, since the pandemic started last year, we were the only station where every single RJ was in the studio live and we still are live!
Qs- 27 years of DJing and RJing, you must have had many autograph moments, tell me about one such incident!
Ans- Much before I joined radio, Amitabh Bachchan was in Kolkata at the Netaji Indoor Stadium for the shooting of 2 Anjaane. My sister, her friend and me went to the Oberoi Grand to meet him. We knew someone over there, used that contact and were told that Mr Bachchan would meet us for a minute!
We walked to a room and the man who lead us knocked the door. A man wearing a white trouser and a red t-shirt opened the door.
It was AMITABH BACHCHAN!
I was zapped!
My sister and her friend took autographs while I was dumbstruck! I was just looking at him and I didn’t know what to say!
Qs-Do you have any message for aspiring radio professionals?
Ans-Radio is a field where you can learn anything and everything. You have sales, corporate and retail, finance, admin, HR and of course programming where all the RJs, producers, scriptwriters etc belong. Decide what you want to do. If you truly love RJing, pursue it and you will truly do well! Remember, it should not be rushed and hurried. Everyone these days wants to be a hero within a year, but it doesn’t work like that! It takes years of effort and sincerity. If you do become an RJ, never let the attitude get to you! Be humble, down to earth and connect! Listen to the autowaala and also a crorepati! Radio is all about music, engagement, innovation, interaction and the mantra is to connect and make people happy!
This article has been written by Pooja Gupta. She is a freelance writer, anchor and a former Radio Jockey. She hosts all kinds of shows and writes everything from ads, promos, articles, dialogues, short films, screenplays, feature films and even web series. For work, she can be contacted on email@example.com.
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