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interview with...
Anil Srivatsa   

Anil SrivatsaAnil Srivatsa, the voice of 'Anil Ki Awaaz', is a new format to Indian radio.    A man of many professions and many interesting views.  Hear him once and be sure you'll be back for more.  Could he be the first Indian 'Shock Jock"?

We sat down with him, find out what he told us.

Interview by Rahul A. 


Q. So why didn't you get into a career as a Doctor, Engineer or Computer Professional?

Well, that's a legit questions and the legit answer is that I did go through the phase of wanting to become a doctor, then I found it takes a lot of work. At the time I brought new meaning to the word Lazy. So so much for doctorgiri. As for the engineer part of it...well, I found we needed a reasonable Mathematical ability and for me that word 'Math' was a nightmare ...My math was so bad that even the army did not let me in. SO my next career plan got shot down because of Math too. I must admit I did get into engineering school but turned it down for someone more worthy. My career plans evolved into a fascination for Crime and how they get solved.

Logically I majored in Journalism and Criminology, did a short two year stint as a Special Police officer in Bangalore City at the same time I was the editor of Bangalore's only City Magazine Blossom City. I took solace from the fact that My brother turned out to be a Neurosurgeon, My dad an Engineer in the Indian Navy and My mom a well known Journalist and media personality in India...I lived out my ambition through their lives. To cut a long story short my checkered career evolution settled me into the world of Radio and TV Broadcasting so the path went like this: Doctor...Engineer... Army... Criminal investigator... Broadcasting... somewhere in-between I did a do a one year course in COBOL at NIIT in Bangalore.


Anil w/ Sir Garfield SobersQ. What is your education/professional background?

BA - Criminology, Journalism, Public Administration - India
MS. Radio and TV management (Telecommunications)- USA

Professional, Earliest to Latest:
1. Business Manager - Bangalore City's Magazine - Blossom City
2. Editor Publisher - Blossom City
3. Master Control Operator - Philly 57 TV WPSG
4. Board Operator/Technical Director/Announcer- Holt Radio - WTKZ/WXKW - American Talk station
5. Production Manager of TV series on TLC/Discovery Medical Detectives - (Still running on Thursdays at 8:00 PM)
6. Started Anil-KI-Awaaz as a hobby/Vocation
7. Currently Director of Cricket at Kelly Broadcasting Systems.

Through all this I have:
a. Been MC to over 50 public events in India and USA (Last year's India Day Parade in New York)
b. Hosted Radio programs on All India Radio - first one was when I was 7 yrs old.
c. Interviews on Bangalore Dordarshan, WFMZ-TV in Allentown-PA, AVS, News Anchor on TV Asia, Hosted Cricket Highlights for KBS
d. Was a small time model in India and have done a few press ads, runway and TV documentary.
e. Was the full time (paid) DJ at two night clubs in Bangalore - Final Countdown and Knock Out.

So I have had fun with my career.


Q. How did your Radio program start? and for those who are not familiar with your show.. on what station/timing can you be heard?

Anil w/ Apache IndianWell, in the US it all, started in Allentown where I would host a show once in three weeks(we had a rotation of DJ's). I heard about the show on WPRB 103.3 FM from Princeton, NJ. I could hear it in Allentown which is about 70 miles from Princeton. So I decided I have to expand my reach and this was the station to do it on. I made the management an offer and they accepted.  The previous hosts were about to graduate and the timing was perfect. The show was called Awaaz before I bought the time. I did not want to change the name so I just added my name to it as this was going to be a personality driven show in addition to being a music show...my personality, hence Anil-Ki-Awaaz was born on March 8, 1997 and ever since airs every Saturday at 10:30 am on 103.3 FM. Now I can be heard live on the net all over the world by pointing you browser to listen.to/wprb or following the link on my web site www.indiaradio.com


Q. What age group are your trying to attract with your radio show?

I try an appeal to all age groups in my two-four hours. I am a little partial to the younger lot as they have been deprived the most. I want to help them play catch-up to us FOB's (heeheh)and at the same time expose them to the old classics and help them appreciate it by giving them new perspectives about the old stuff.


Q. When did you know that your radio show started to become popular in New Jersey?

At the risk of being modest...I still don't think the show is as popular as I want it to be. But I hope to go on doing what my heart tells me and run this show as one for my listeners and not as one for my advertisers.


Howard SternQ. Are their any radio personalities that you follow?

Yes, in the early days my mom...she was good. She taught me to do it with my heart and passion. And now it's Howard Stern...yes I can practically see the women stop reading at this point...it's not his content that fascinates me...but his ability to appeal to the masses and his ability to keep the air alive, his career story and how he made it and his business senses. He is funny a lot of times.


Q. Do you have a co-host like Howard Stern's (Robin Quivers)?

No I do not have someone like her. Although I am desperately trying to find someone like her.  I am looking for someone feisty and able to stand up to my bullying on the air.


Q. Are you interested in the Bollywood scene?

I like Bollywood and in fact I am desperately trying to get myself a role in atleast one movie before I die. I am of course trying to be the hero, but I am soon getting into the phase of settling for a character actor...if not I can always be the Hero's dad or grand dad...so I have a long way to fulfill my bollywood ambition - for now I am waiting to be DISCOVERED!!!!  I love Amitabh, Govinda is funny, Amir Khan, I liked Neelam, Kalol and Oooo la la la (I mean Urmila). My favorite movie - Agnipath.


Q. From my understanding you are from Banglore.   In your opinion are people in India wittier than the ABCD's   in the US.

I think wit comes from being aware of your surroundings and noticing things most people take for granted and then be able to narrate interestingly. Not to mention the importance of haveing a sharp mind and tongue. If language is a barrier then I must Say ABCD's are more witty... understood better by ABCD's. If you throow away the language barrier and open the contest to all Indians...I have to say that the wit of Indians (FOB's) is more interesting. The play on world, puns sarcasm and more exposure to a cosmopolitan environment makes a difference.
jo log duniya zyada dekhi hain na...Wit unme tazi hoti hain.

"Ghar ghar me paida ho shayar...tho shayari kis kaam ki. agar hijde bacchen dene lagen, tho Biwi kis kaam ki"


Q. Who are some interesting people that you have met though your radio show and other journeys.

Interesting people I have met through the radio:

Aishwarya Rai, Anoop Jalota, Apache Indian, Asha Bhosle, Shabana Azmi,  Bali Bhrambhatt, Sikander Bhakt (Minister for Industry and Commerce),  T.P Srinivasan (Indian Diplomat at the Indian High Commission in Washington D.C) - Great sense of humor, Shekar Suman (Host of movers and Shakers on Sony Entertainment in India)  Wants me to be on his show when I am in india next,  Shashi Tharoor (Executive Assistant to the Secretarg General of the UN).

Through my other Journeys:

Sorab Modi - A Bollywood legend

Raj Kapoor - Never met a sweeter man. His Holi celebration was the best

Ashok Kumar - A very good homeopathic doctor - Cured my mom's Asthma attacks and symptoms.

Shammi Kapoor - Well, he could have been my dad ...I keep teasing my mom as they had a thing in the good ol days!! :(

Smita Patil - Very elegant. A perfect example of how beautiful Black can be.

Firoz Khan - A regular Cow boy he is

Pooja Bedi - Sexy all the way. After her modelling assignment for Kamasutra (the Condem) her film caree was Condomed I mean Condemmed. Ditsy girl..you know like a flakey Blonde.

Protima Bedi - Very interesting outlook in life unlike her daughters . We hit it off real well. I am sorry she had to die a tragic death.

Dev Anand -- Advised me not to join the films. WHY?

Ila Arun -- when she was a nobody...cam to our home in Mumbai to ask my mom to do a story about her...my mom was a prolific Journalist back in the 80's

Suman Ranganath - We are teenhood friends and she was my Lambada/Swing dance partner. One of the most sexiest women I have met and Known. Very strong person and very focused about her career.

Vani Ganapati - Showed people that there is life after Kamal Hassan

Zakhir Hussain - Very much a Ladies man and I'd love to study the art from his notes

Ashwini Nachappa - India's former Sprint queen and Telegu movie star - Story of guts and glory ---almost married her!!

Mohmmad Azharuddin

Rahul Dravid - Family Friends for years (over 30). Saw him grow up and shape his own future. Very dedicated and hardworking.


Q. What is your Favorite Television Series?



Allentown Cricket ClubQ. Do you like cricket?

I love Cricket. In fact I still play serious cricket in the USA. I play in the Washington League and the NJ league. I have never played better cricket like am playing now... well almost. I loved GR Vishwanath, Kapil Dev, Sachin is fascinating to watch and Saurav Ganguly


Q. How are you involved in Kelly broadcasting?

With Kelly Broadcasting, I am the Director of Cricket. I am responsible for the success or failure of the channel. I will also be directing the new Channels we are about to Launch- B4U - a Premium Digital Desi Movie Channel set to launch in September and alos Sunworld - the full-time South Indian Channel.


Q. What are the future plans for the radio show?

As for future plans, Of course I dream of going 24 hours with other variety programs hosted by others. But for now...I would like to syndicate my show to other cities and become a household name across America. I know I have a good product, I am just looking for someone with money and faith to back me up. As a product I feel I am delivering almost the best. Anyone can press buttons and play music. My show is all about the life of a normal person at different times, moods and situations- All about a personality--no one can recreate this.


Q. Any word of advise for aspiring desi disk jockeys.

Not too many words just be honest, natural and be dedicated to your listeners not to yourself. Don't forget the presentation side...learn and watch from around you and absorb what fits your ability and put out the best show in a professional manner.


Q. For all the ladies out there...are you single?

What ladies? I am married to Deepali and have a beautiful little one year old girl Kavya. But why should this stop anyone!!!:)

Visit the official Anil Ki Awaaz web site.

Some images are courtesy of Anil Srivatsa.