Exactly two decades ago, in the year 1997, two carefree teenage brothers made their radio debut . The brothers were Asish and Prasan Syangden, who debuted with their show called Music Jam With Rhythm Brothers on Kantipur FM. Well, actually Kantipur FM didn’t have its own bandwidth back then and all the radio channels had their time slots on 100 megahertz bandwidth with Radio Nepal. Kantipur had its slot between 7 to 9 PM and these two Syangdens used to come with their show from 7 to 8 PM.
When the Rhythm Brothers started back then, there were hardly some English presenters and then these two teens came up with this ‘weird’ idea of running the show in Neplish – mixing Nepali and English. They were not only mixing two languages; which was not very common back then, that too on the radio; but they were also using slang words. And of course, they didn’t exactly pre-plan or rehearse for the show and had impromptu scripts. They were not thinking about what they will be talking on air but talked about things they wanted to talk about, and that too in the way they loved to. In short, they were doing everything that they weren’t supposed to do. They were not doing what everyone else was doing. And surprisingly, the youths were finding the show extremely interesting and their talks very relatable. It didn’t take long before they became the most sought after voices on the radio. And well, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
While the younger Syangden is now based in the United States, Asish still is doing what he does the best and still remains everyone’s favorite radio personality. With the year 2017 running, it has been two decades since he has been ruling the radio scene and inspiring various other aspiring radio jockeys.
Asish Syangden left Kantipur FM five years ago and started an online radio channel called Revolution Radio. He also is a part of British Gurkha Radio and recently, he started a new show titled #ashishlive on a completely new and probably the most happening platform — Facebook Live. We talked to him about his journey so far, his new show and some other things. Excerpts.
It’s been two decades. If you had to describe your radio journey in one single word, what would it be?
A question that many of your fans too wonder about – why radio and not television?
Radio because it’s more spontaneous and more challenging as you need to express everything through your words and voice; and also the mystery of the person behind the mic talking and making the listeners use their imagination is just something that I love.
From back in the 90s and ’00s to now, what differences do you see in the industry and even the listeners?
When we started, it was taken as a hobby but now people take it as another avenue of opportunity and also a full time job. Likewise, the listeners have also come a long way, now they are more expressive then back then when they were shy just to call up.
Which phase or years do you think were or are the best time for the radio industry and why?
Radio is something which will never be boring or outdated. I’ve done both, commercial radio and online radio, and have great response while dong both. But it’s just that right now the quality of people in radio has gone down and any tom dick and harry is operating a radio station; thus the disinterest shown towards radio. It’s actually not just radio but television too is going through the same phase. But if you give something different and interesting to your listeners or audiences, you can definitely gain the interest and love from them again.
Name three people from the industry you have a lot of respect for.
Michael Chand, Robin Sharma and Prasan Syangden.
What is #asishlive?
It’s something that came to my mind as soon as Facebook started their live streaming feature. It’s an open platform where I talk about anything and everything that I can’t do on any of the traditional forms of media. It’s where I can interact with people directly and instantly get feedback. I also promote local artists and musicians through the show.
Do you find any differences when you are talking on Facebook Live as compared to talking on the radio?
It’s completely different from anything I’ve ever done and also the toughest thing I’ve ever done. While you are on the radio or television, you talk for a while and then play a song or you have commercial breaks and then you come back and talk again. Whereas on Facebook Live, the camera is right in front of your face all the time and you are being constantly watched without any breaks and music videos. So you really have to be on your toes and always have to have something interesting to engage the viewers with. Hence, spontaneity has to be always on point, always.
When and where can the audiences catch #asishlive?
The show goes live on my Facebook page at 10 PM (NST) on Wednesdays.
There are also some prizes for the listeners of #asishlive. You took some listeners for a momo treat recently. How did it go?
I wasn’t actually planning to give out prizes and the momo date was a random and very on the spot decision that I made during asishlive. And after that episode, many people approached me to have their products and services to give away to the lucky winners every week. And as of now, it has been a regular feature. And about the momo date, it was perfect. And I was the one who ended up eating the most in the end. *laughs*
Let’s talk some music now, who are three of your favorite Nepali artistes or bands?
Oh, it’s really tough to pick just three. I mean, there are quite a lot of them but if I have to choose just three; my favorite band is Alabtross, favorite male artiste is Diwas Gurung and the favorite female artiste is Astha Tamang Maskey.
What kind of music do you generally listen to?
Anything and everything.
You’re fond of music, we all know that. But are you into movies as well? Who are your favorite actors?
Yes, I’m a movie buff and I do go and watch films quite regularly. But I’m very picky while deciding which films to watch, specially Nepali films. But the recent Nepali movies that I’ve watched have all been babaal (spectacular). My current favorite actor is Bipin Karki. I loved his performances in Pashupati Prasad and Jatra. He is an extremely versatile actor.
Which were the most recent Nepali films that you liked?
I loved Pradeep Bhattarai’s ‘Jatra’ and Deepa Shree Niraula’s directorial ‘Chhakka Panja’.
Now, a ‘Million Dollar Question’ that every fan of yours wants to ask you, would we ever have the privilege of listening to the ‘Rhythm Brothers’ together again in future?
I don’t think that will be possible ever again.
We’re almost at the end of the interview. But before we wrap it up, we’ll have a quick rapid fire round. So, are you ready?
Momo. I can eat it anytime and anywhere.
Any zombie movie
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones
1974 AD or Nepathya
A country you would love to visit
Any country with beautiful beaches
If you could fix just one problem of Kathmandu, what would it be:
Traffic jam. I would have said loadshedding but it has been sorted out for now. Thanks to Mr. Kulman Ghising.
Which is more irritating, Kathmandu’s pollution or the traffic jams:
Choose one, become a billionaire or eradicate loadshedding from Nepal forever:
Become a billionaire, so I can buy my own power plant. *winks*
If you could spend a day with any international celebrity, who would it be?
Favorite Nepali city, other than Kathmandu
Pokhara, simply because after Kathmandu that’s one place I can definitely see myself living in.
Well, that’s it for now. Thank you for your time.