The BBC Asian Network underwent some schedule changes earlier this month with station favourite Jas Rao moving from ‘Breakfast’ to ‘Drive’. BizAsia.co.uk caught up with the former Club Asia presenter to find out more about the new show and a bit more…
The last 18 months have been fantastic for you from moving to a London station to a national, how does it feel?
It۪s been a massive 18 months for me. Not only have I had a lot of fun and enjoyed myself, it۪s been a big step up and a huge learning curve which I۪m still embracing now. From starting off doing some cover work, then onto a weekly show, followed by covering the big Breakfast slot, until finally getting my own weekday show, things just happened so quickly and fast at the Asian Network. I always just took each challenge as it came along and I۪ve loved every moment.
When you were on Club Asia you experienced most time slots, which show do you enjoy presenting most?
Breakfast was always the toughest show for me, but also the most rewarding. Traditionally, breakfast shows have the highest audience figures on a station so there۪s instant pressure there, not to mention the physically demanding element of having to be awake and energetic at 4am everyday. Beyond all of that, it was still always a buzz starting the day off on the station, interacting with listeners and just playing great music. Sometimes it۪s good to be under the pressure of a big show too, that۪s when you either sink or swim.
What do you like most about hosting your own show?
Contrary to what people think, it۪s not playing the music because I don۪t get to chose it! I just love the whole creative process of coming up with good ideas, working on them with the team, getting them ready for the show and just executing it on the day. It۪s always great when you۪ve put a lot of effort and passion into an idea, you put it out on air and you get a fantastic reaction from the listeners. Of course that doesn۪t happen with all the ideas we come up with though!
How does your new drive show differ to what you were doing at breakfast?
One thing everyone will notice instantly is the decrease in news content. This can still be heard across the rest of the Asian Network, but my new drive involves more personality and listener interaction. There are plenty of things for the audience to get involved with and enjoy. Even musically you۪ll see a difference…I love my Bollywood!
Do you think you can be a little more open on drive time as oppose to breakfast because of different type of listeners in the afternoon?
I۪m not entirely convinced that the audience is so different across breakfast and drive time. Granted the listeners may be doing different things at those stages of the day, but are the audiences so different? I don۪t think so. I don۪t think I۪ll be any more or less open than at breakfast, I۪ll just make sure my material is enjoyable and can relate to families in the Asian community, that۪s the objective of my show at the end of the day.
What has been your most memorable moment on air since you’ve been with the BBC Asian Network?
There have been plenty of fun moments, from testing my strength with former world boxing champion Evander Holyfield, to dancing up and down Soho Road in my infamous Bhangra dancing video. The most memorable moment for me right now was the day after the Mumbai attacks last year. It was something I watched on TV for hours the night before, and when I got into the show the next day, we managed to put a great programme together, obviously taking into consideration the sensitive and tragic nature of the event. We had some amazing eye witness accounts of what happened in Mumbai, along with live reaction from journalists, TV channels, Bollywood actors and lots more. When you have a news element to your show and a story like this breaks, you want to make your listeners feel like they۪re actually at the scene, and we did a good job of it on that morning.
Which soundtrack playing on the station at the moment have you got on repeat mode on your iPod?
That۪s easy, it۪s got to be Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. I didn۪t think much of the film, but the music is spot on. It۪s a case of quality over quantity, because even though there are six songs on the CD, one track is an instrumental and one comes in a male and female version. Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai is the best song on there. I love my slow romantic tracks, and that۪s got to be one of the best ones of last year.
Which genre of music on the BBC Asian Network do you dislike most?
That۪s a tough one, because I love most of the stuff on the station. The way I look at is that Bollywood music is my favourite. It has been since I got into it about ten years ago, and it always will be now – just give me some Bollywood and I۪m golden!
What do you see Jas Rao doing in ten years from now?
I۪d love to add TV work to my radio career, but mostly I۪d like to win the lottery, retire early, own my own island and sit there all day eating chicken.
What are the perks of being in the public eye? Have you had any problems?
I think public eye is pushing it a bit. There are a lot of people in the Asian industry who fancy themselves as celebs۪, but not me. It۪s always great when people meet you and tell you that they love what you۪re doing and that they appreciate your work. I get the odd free CD too, so that۪s always a bonus!
Which Bollywood celebrity would you most like to date?
As horrible as this sounds, I۪d really love to take Aishwariya Rai on a dinner date. Now you may be asking yourself, why does this sound horrible۪? Well the reason being, I۪d like to take her out on a date, so half way through the meal, I could pop to the toilet, sneak out the window, and leave her there…because she really does my head in!
A final message to all Jas fans…
Keep listening and spread the word.
Catch Jas Rao on the BBC Asian Network
Weekdays between 15:00 – 18:00