Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Harvinder Singh Kang. I voluntarily manage Punjabi Radio USA, a radio focused primarily on uniting Punjabis all over beyond the borders. Started in 2010 , Punjabi Radio USA has expanded its base to 11 on-air stations throughout California & Nevada and worldwide through the Internet. To pay my bills, I work as level 2 engineer in one of Fortune 500 companies in Silicon Valley.
What is your story?
Born and raised in a small village 10 miles from the Indo-Pak border, I’m an electrical engineer by education who ventured into media by accident. I graduated with masters degree from San Jose State University in electrical engineering. Between looking for jobs in 2010, I was working at Fremont Khalsa School organizing a kids summer camp. A friend came up with the idea of radio station focused primarily to nurture Punjabi values. I jumped in, learned my way to RJ’ing. An year later, I have had the chance to talk to numerous concerned Punjabi listeners as well as interview a number of who’s who in Punjabi community including two prospective Chief Ministers of Punjab and an ex-Jathedar of the Supreme Sikh authority.
What are some things you like and cherish about your community?
I identify with Punjabi community through Sikhism. Bhai Gurdas writes in Vaar 11 Pauri 24 Panjaabai Gur Dee Vadiaaee ॥24॥ (Greatness of the house of the Guru resides in Punjab.) The openness and high-spirited attitude and and the ideals of selfless help to others are some of the best qualities of our community.
History is one of the best recyclable material that a community uses to build its strength over time. The role models of a community are seldom the best story tellers. Punjabi community has been constantly falling short of recognizing with the models of gone-by era due to lack of positive story tellers.
We have numerous texts but not the story tellers who resonate well with my generation. There is a gaping hole in the efforts to promote political, historical and religious studies. The texts taught is often tailored and blind-faith is attempting to stump over research, question and logic.
The need of the hour is not only positive role models, but also good story tellers about those role models.
Back in the day, before the Internet, our stories and wisdom of generations passed on via vaars and sakhis (traditional ballads). People did not have media and ideas traveled slowly.
Now that we are connected, I believe it is the responsibility of every Punjabi who can read this to connect with his/her community, village, town and tell a story about its vibrant social/religious culture of his/her neighborhood. If we dig down, below the surface of unclean Punjab/India, there is a hibernating vibrant community and beautiful culture longing to be re-discovered and reclaimed.
What is your advice for youngsters who want to follow your profession?
Two words - Consistency and focus. Whatever you do, that is the minimum requirement. Improvement will come with practice. As an RJ, I have not seen one that did not stammer on his/her first talk on mic. Never feel intimidated by the person sitting on chair opposite to you - he/she has the same number of legs and arms as you do and is no way more intelligent than you can be. Keep your nerve. And last, keep your work and passion separate - that way it is much more enjoyable and exciting.
Any books/films/resources you want to share…
Books - Mahaankosh by Kahan Singh Nabha for improving Punjabi vocabulary, writings by Sant Ram Udaasi, The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara, Art of Electronics. Film - Mitti, Bhai Taru Singh.
Radio Automation software Jazzler, iPhone 4, Skype