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Riding a NEW WAVE

RJ Seetal Iyer speaks about retro music, her career move, and more



Seetal Iyer: `You connect with your listeners.' — Photo: K. Gopinathan

KNOWN ACROSS the city as the "matinee girl", Seetal Iyer, who was till recently the bubbly presenter of The Matinee Show on Radio City, hopes to start a new chapter in her RJ career with WorldSpace, the only satellite radio service available in India. Seetal, in the days to come, can be heard on the Farishta and Jhankaar channels of Worldspace — both of which are dedicated 24-hour Hindi music channels. Like the other 20-odd 24/7 channels, Farishta caters to niche listeners who seek evergreen retro Hindi music entertainment, while Jhankaar is a new channel that would play popular hit numbers.

Metroplus had an exclusive tête-à-tête with Seetal at the Bangalore WorldSpace station last week:

What would be the challenges in a new radio station, after being with Radio City since its inception?

As an RJ, working with WorldSpace would expose me to a different kind of challenge. When I was doing The Matinee Show, I was catering to listeners who wanted to hear popular and hit numbers, but through WorldSpace, I am reaching out to a group of mature music lovers who know exactly what they want, and it will be challenging to satisfy their musical needs. Also, here I have the freedom to play music that is good, not necessarily what is popular.

But is retro music appreciated only by the older listeners?

It is true that only mature people listen to golden oldies, but by mature, I do not mean maturity in age, but the listener's maturity in knowing his/her music, and identifying exactly the particular genre of music that is interesting to listen to. It is thrilling for an RJ to interact with groups of people who appreciate the same style of music as you do, and somewhere down the line, you connect with your listeners and realise that there are many more people who think like you do.

Is the onslaught of remix music adulterating the quality of evergreen songs?

It is surprising that certain remixed songs have created interest among listeners for the original version. For instance, an average Hindi music listener wouldn't have heard the original version of "Saiyaan Dil Mein Aana Re" until its remix version was released, and this obviously increases the appeal for the original track. But then, hardcore fans of retro music will have definitely heard the original, and it would depend on their individual taste whether they like the remix or not. Personally, I wouldn't mind listening to the newer versions, unless the remixing is badly done.

Does shifting base to a satellite radio station mean changes in the studio atmosphere and working style?

Not really. Technically, the way we do the shows are the same, and the equipment we use is similar.

But the shows won't be live...

Though my presentation for the WorldSpace channels won't be live, it will be equally challenging. When I speak to the microphone, I imagine a group of people in front of me, who listen to and appreciate the same kind of music as I do. Through WorldSpace, I'm reaching out to listeners who are paying for the music they want. I definitely cannot afford to fumble or play the fool. So, it doesn't really matter if I'm live or not.

A. VISHNU

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