With Anil-ki-Awaaz, he's probably become the best known radio personality in desi America. He's also established himself as a media exec in the Asian-American sector, with companies such as Imaginasian.
But now Anil Srivatsa, who was raised in Bangalore, is packing up and returning to India. India Today has appointed him COO of Radio Today's FM operations, which means he'll be overseeing seven FM stations to be launched across the country, starting with Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
And so the reverse brain drain infects the media business, although it's probably time to think of a better term for this phenomenon. Suggestions?
We asked Anil to tell us more about the move. NOTE: He's openly recruiting talent from the U.S., so feel free to email him your CV and whatnot, at vatsacom[at]gmail.com.
Congrats on the new gig. You have a high-profile career in the U.S. now. Why give that up and go to India?
do so at a level I can make a difference. I waited patiently and did what I had to here till the moment arrives... and by god it did!! and I could not have asked for a better company to work for to mark my homecoming 14 years later. It used to be that folks immigrated here in search of opportunities that India could not offer, so what is wrong in going back to India when the
opportunities there are far more attractive than here? I am surprised why more people are not considering it. If they wait too long, that ship could sail anytime.
Since this is a blank canvas, I need to hire my executive management team, managers, ON-Air talent, operations folks, interns, and other support staff. This is an overwhelming task but my 14 years of Start-up experience has taught me well and I am sure with a little bit of creativity and management support, this can get done pretty fast. Before I go to India, if I can scout some talent here, I'd like to take a little bit of the American attitude and mix it in with the Indian ingenuity to create a healthy mix in the team.
This is an open call to those that aspire to explore India professionally and personally and add their experience to the landscaping that Radio Today will contribute to the industry. I am looking to filling full-time positions with American Desi's who are willing to re-locate to either Delhi, Mumbai or
Kolkata (The first three stations to get launched by Feb 07).
1. Staying on the cutting edge
2. Research, Packaging and presentation
3. Looking at media in a 360 angle (there are some already in this mode)
4. Visionary deal making in the business of Media
5. Marketing and Market analysis
What can desi journalists in the US learn from India?
Well, there are Desi's who are Journalists in the Mainstream and there are Desi's who are Journalists within the Desi Media so I am not sure who you mean but I will take a stab at some general observations:
2. The optimism that twinkles in the eyes...when you are in India this optimism is infectious. This feeling makes you want to go to work everyday
3. I think more than learning from India, Desi Journalists in the US need to learn more in India by visiting the country and interacting with their counterparts more frequently. It is a different world there, one that is growing and only scratching the surface so far, a vibrant economy that
teaches as it evolves and this, one cannot get here in America as the American society has reached an advanced stage economically. Journalists that saw America growing and evolving are today legends of Journalism and if one has aspirations to become one, then India is the place to embrace as it evolves. I did not feel the true extent of this free flowing river, called India until I committed to visit about 2-3 times a year and felt the real pulse.
come a long way in India. My experience ON-Air was more memorable when I began Anil ki Awaaz here in 1997 and even if I should say so myself this inspired many entrepreneurs to dive into the radio business in the US with some surviving and other fading away. I will speak to the ON-Air part of your question as my business experience In radio directly is very limited, which is why I am excited about this new position. My 17 years in the TV and new Digital media side has prepared me to take the radio world on and my advise will come once I have personally experienced it.
If you want to successfully create an ON-Air Brand which is YOU as a host, then you should:
1. Be Committed to your show... keep time - remember others are waiting for you to begin and their time is precious.
2. Be honest with yourself on-Air. DO NOT pretend to be something you are not.
3. Gain the audiences trust and confidence. This can happen if point number 2 happens
4. Be approachable on and off Air and don’t behave like a super star. Radio listeners connect with the presenter and not the presentation
5. Take a stand on issues and stick with it... even if people disagree with you they respect it.
6. Feel the pulse of your environment and speak about it boldly. Read up and listen to the sounds and voices around you and learn to relate to a 2 year old and a 80 year old. You can be mature and Frivolous but just not frivolous without being mature. The latter gets old fast.
7. Be prepared to do any job within the Radio station as every position is a learning experience. I started as a Board Operator in 1994 with Holt Radio Corporation in Allentown, PA and that gave me the grounding on how things put together by management comes together before it hits the air waves. This made me better on-air and better at the business.
Okay, I can go on but if there is more interest, please get in touch and I will be happy to point you in the right direction. All said and done this is like any other business. So if you have media domain experience, running radio is much easier as you can relate to the business, the creativity and the social responsibility that comes along with it...but the one advise I will give that I follow like a mantra is to HAVE A HEART. DO business with the heart as a conscience keeper of the mind and
paint the BIG picture.