“Main Rahul Makin Banna Chahta Hun” Not one but many of the students that I interviewed during my stint as a Journalism Professor in New Delhi said this to me.
RJ Rahul Makin has been the reason behind many young aspirants dreaming to be a voice that matters and stands for change. Today, we know him as India’s number 1 RJ with fiercely successful shows like Hostel Classics and Ishqiya decorating his cap in forms of feathers of victory. Currently, at Fever 104 FM, he hosts Pyaar Ka Punchnama , which is the No. 1 night show across Delhi NCR. He has more than 3 lakh followers on Facebook and 134 K Followers on Instagram. But obviously, all this did not happen overnight. He made his way to the top by working hard for years.
To find myself representing The Vent Machine in the studio of Fever 104 FM with RJ Rahul Makin is an achievement in itself. I heard Rahul for the first time in the show ‘Hostel Classics’ and instantly became a fan. Even back then, his voice had a subtlety and a sense of sincerity that made you want to stop and listen. Cut 2, I find myself studying Journalism in Noida and I hear that RJ Rahul Makin is coming down to campus for a workshop. It has been more than 8 years now and association with Rahul has continued to be a constant inspiration in my life.
Aggressively Active and Creative All The Time
When Rahul is not working in the studio, he manages his social media handles, writes poetry, works out without missing a day and even manages to take vacations! I am intrigued by his discipline and control over creative instincts. I ask him about how he manages this wow regime. “I still don’t think I am able to do enough,” he smiles modestly. I deny politely and ask that was all this talent always in there or did he have to hone his skills? He tells me that it takes a lot of discipline and time management to be able to accomplish certain goals and as far as talent is concerned Rahul believes that it is a gift he got from his mother.
“She was not an artist per say but always interested in Art and I think it is because of her that I started taking interest in Literature,” says Rahul. “Of course, you also have to keep learning and honing your skills if you want to grow,” he adds.
Rahul has been in the mainstream FM industry for more than 13 years now. He started off his career with All India Radio and moved on to work with 92.7 Big FM and 104.8 OYE! FM before moving to the Hindustan Media Group in 2015. AIR gave the foundation to Rahul. He credits his tenure at AIR for helping him get rid of his hesitation and made him free. Though, he says that the structures of AIR and FM are different and it takes altogether different training to survive in both environments. Despite being number one RJ for so long, he believes that there is still a lot to learn and accomplish. “When an artist’s mind stops working, it is the point of their death,” this is his mantra.
The 105-hour Run and Entry to The Limca Book of Records
Before switching to the private radio industry, before Rahul became the”Love Coach” of India, he achieved something extraordinary in the year 2009 when he was working with All India Radio in Jammu. He created history by being on air for as long as 105 hours, securing a place in the Limca Book of Records. I ask Rahul the story behind this historical event. “When you work towards something, which has a much higher purpose than yourself, you achieve the extraordinary. When you learn that you can actually bring about a change and do something selfless for the people that is the birth of a real artist,” Rahul explains.
He recalls that at that time due to some mishap during the Amarnath Yatra, there was intense communal tension in Jammu. Pilgrims were stranded and trapped. There was a havoc-like situation in the city and people were suffering deprived of food and work. AIR was the only radio station functional at that time. Rahul suggested that one RJ should be continuously on air to motivate people at the time of crisis and also share important information. His boss appreciated the idea but was concerned too. “What will we do if it went on for long?” Rahul was asked. “I think I can manage – worst case scenario, I will get admitted to a hospital. But, I want to go on for as long as possible.”
We stocked the studio with food, water and other needed supplies. A doctor was consulted and said precautions were taken. “I was going on and on, speaking with callers, discussing issues and saying prayers. I did not realize that 105 hours had gone by when the curfew was lifted.” Rahul’s boss had applied for the Limca Book of Record without his knowledge and they broke it.
“An RJ has a lot of aspirational value and you have to respect if God has graced you to be in a position where you can inspire people. I think that it is my due responsibility towards the people of India that drives me to be better each day.”
A Heartthrob With Massive Female Fan Following, Ironically Rahul Is Extremely Shy
Rahul has a crazy female fan following and rightly so. After all, he has been the voice of love for years. I ask him to share one memorable fan encounter. He laughs flustered and tells me how a woman once almost stalked him and somehow reached at his doorstep. Rahul got so awkward and embarrassed that he ran off from the back door! He reported the incident to his then-boss at Big FM. Apparently, the lady came down to the station and complained that Rahul did not meet her!
Though, Rahul has now learnt to deal with these situations politely. He fondly recalls another incident where a young lady gifted a cute puppy to him with her first salary. He accepted it humbly but was not able to take the pup home and gifted it to one of his producers.”It is amazing to have this kind of support and love,” says Rahul.
I Write From A woman’s Point of View
Rahul is also an avid poet. His poetry is a raging success among his listeners on radio and across platforms on social media. I ask him about the writing process.
“When I write, I write from a woman’s point of view. My content is either for a girl or by a girl.” he quotes Tagore – “There is a woman inside me and when she cries, I write.”
Here, I take a moment to thank Rahul for having this kind of thought process. In India, even a huge industry like Bollywood is struggling to find a way for making women-oriented films. To have a top-notch RJ who puts women on the top while developing content is sheer joy.
On Being Number 1
Rahul has won the Best RJ Award by All Journalists Association 2015, Delhi Ratan Award 2016 and Media Achievers Award 2016. He is undisputedly the number one RJ and I ask him what he thinks about that. “Of course I enjoy the ranking but at the same time I also believe on focusing more on how to make myself better. I also believe that the content has to come out from the heart to reach maximum number of listeners. You have to put your purpose above yourself, ratings will come automatically.”
Rahul points at the slogan written on the walls of the studio –
By the end of this interview, I am pumped, motivated and inspired fro life. It is artists like RJ Rahul Makin that are actually doing things on a daily basis to bring about the change. It is people like him that we should draw our inspiration from – to be better artists and use our crafts to bring about a change. Signing off with one my fav Makin creation. Enjoy –