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Bangalore to Dubai

Jonzie, one of namma Bangaluru's favourite radio personalities, is headed for Dubai



RJ Jonzie: `When I am on air, people think I am plain mad.'

"THE REQUEST Show with Jonzie — always imitated — but never duplicated." This was how RJ Jonzie Kurien opened his show on FM radio between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Being one of the presenters who hit the airwaves right from the inception of the country's first private FM station, Jonzie became the crazy guy of radio with his unique mix of humour, satirical (but harmless) remarks, and energetic music.

So, what did the trick for him?

"I can't deny it. I am an insane, out-of-my-mind person, and when I am on air, people think I am plain mad. But that's the natural me." He adds. "On The Request Show, I used to discuss and give my opinions about topics which the young Bangalorean indulges in. Initially it sounded blunt and bold, but what the heck, I connected to them and spoke their language."

Brickbats

But he wasn't spared of his share of brickbats too. "I had girls' parents calling me up and asking me to apologise on air, which I politely did. The whole point is, the parents cribbed about what I said on air, but they still heard me. And that was more important for me as an RJ," he says, with a twinkle in his eye.

Did he always want to be an RJ? "I began my career in radio with a few odd programmes on All India Radio, and then a stint at Radio Indigo, but my big break was definitely with Radio City, since it had a far better reach to the young Bangalore crowd which I was part of," he says. "Initially people who felt radio will not make it big in the country discouraged me from taking my job seriously, but the popularity and satisfaction you get as an RJ is unbelievable, and I am sure my colleagues and radio guys will agree with me on this," he adds.

Besides The Request Show, Jonzie hosted a new-age rock show every Thursday night called Rebel Yell. "The show was the first of its kind on radio and when we (himself and Santhosh, his co-host) were featured on the cover of Rock Street Journal, we knew we had our tuning right." For starters, Rebel Yell was the only show on FM radio that played New-Age Rock and New Metal for two hours a week.

New destination

Jonzie is all set to pack his bags and leave for Dubai in a few days — but promises to return. "It's not that I hate you guys, but as a radio person, I am just making sure that I don't reach saturation too fast. It's more of a promotion transfer for me. I am joining a station called Hum FM in Dubai, which essentially plays popular English and Hindi music. What is thrilling for me is the fact that besides being an RJ, I get to produce my shows, and manage the sound of the station. So, the whole show is entirely going to be my baby," he says.

Does that mean it is a permanent goodbye to Bangalore? Not at all, reassures the man. "I am an out and out Bangalorean. The city has given me so much and I can never look at a permanent departure from here. In the years to come, Bangalore will definitely see a surge in radio and the day an exclusive English music station hits the airwaves, Jonzie will be back with Rebel Yell. And how long will that take? "Not more than a couple of years," he says.

VISHNU A.

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