Making waves with Tamil listeners
KUALA LUMPUR: For many, the day cannot begin without them. For the estimated 700,000 people who tune in to the Morning Breakfast Show (Kalakkal Kaalai) on THR Raaga every weekday from 6am to 10am, deejays G. Uthayakumar and R. Anand are household names.
The show, which began in August last year, discusses several contemporary issues each day — topics which are thought up every Thursday during a brainstorming session.
Despite the popularity of the show, the duo still have their detractors who complain that their on-air presentation spoils the Tamil language.
Uthaya, as he is fondly known, is passionate about the language and culture. But, he believes the way he and Anand speak on air is the right way to reach out to today’s generation.
"People listen to us because they understand what we are saying. If we speak in ancient Tamil, how many would understand? Getting the message across, I think, is most important."
His views were echoed by Anand, who added that reaching the targeted audience was crucial as people listen to a station they can understand.
"Not only that, by speaking in a Tamil everyone understands, more youngsters have started to speak in Tamil and listen to Tamil songs and music," said Uthaya.
When they are on air, the duo seem a fantastic fit. Off air, however, their lives are as different as night and day.
At the end of their work day, both head back home to take short naps. But, there the similarities end.
After their naps, Uthaya takes care of his multi-level marketing business, while Anand heads out to functions and clubs to sing with his band, Synergy.
The duo occasionally have to attend road shows and stage performances together.
And what are their views on their success? It is something they both shrug off.
Uthaya credits his success to the Sri Murugan Centre (SMC).
"I did not know what to do after Form Five. The thought of furthering my studies did not exist in my mind then. But they (SMC) helped me. They gave me guidance and motivated me to think big."
Big, perhaps, is an understatement. Uthaya began dreaming every day of becoming famous. And that he did, in 2001, when he landed himself a job as a VJ on Astro’s Padam, Paadal, Puthir game show.
It was that one-year stint that helped him secure the job in THR Raaga.
For Anand, the job adds fun to his already fun-filled lifestyle. Music is his world, whether on air, with his band or at the studio he co-owns with his brother Ram.
"I love singing and performing. When I don’t have any rehearsals or shows, I spend my evenings at the Synergy Studio," he said.
Anand hopes to go into music production and train aspiring Indian singers.
"It is a way of giving back to the society," he said adding that constructive criticism from the public had helped him to perform better on air.
Airtime Management and Programming (AMP) radio networks publicity manager Badrul Hashim said when the show started last year, there were about 500,000 listeners.
He said based on the Nielsen Media Listenership Survey the number of listeners has increased to 700,000.