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Community radio volunteer celebrates 30 years on-air

TFM Ram Kumar et al
Community broadcasting stalwart Ram Konesh (centre) with TFM sales manager Rekha Kulkarni (left) and station manager Matt Bernasconi

Musical composer, percussionist, singer and doyen of Darwin’s airwaves, Ramkumar “Ram” Konesh is celebrating 30 years volunteering at 104.1 TFM, the community radio station operated by Charles Darwin University.

Ram began his broadcasting career shortly after his family emigrated to Darwin, where his aunty and Tamil scholar Thiraviyam Ramachandran was a volunteer with what was then Top FM presenting a live-to-air show aimed at the Tamil community.

“In 1989 I started to work the (studio) panel for her and filled in as the show’s host when she had to be somewhere else,” Ram said.

“During that time, I also presented a multicultural youth program.”

Ram said he always tried to bring something new to each live talkback show, and to cover the topics of the moment in unconventional and interesting ways.

“It was very exciting in those days because all our shows were broadcast live from the studio,” Ram said.

“But during the troubles that affected the lives of Sri Lankan people, we did have to suspend the talkback element of our programming for a while to focus on positive cultural issues that still existed, even through some tough times.”

Ram, who works as a financial officer with the NT Department of Health, also spent time in India, where he produced five musical albums and a number of videos of contemporary Indian music.

He is a member of the Darwin-based band, Pulse, which plays live shows around the Top End.

For someone with a busy creative life, Ram said he would always find time to be a part of the programming at 104.1 Territory FM.

“When the red light comes on, I still get nervous . . . that’s the thrill of broadcasting,” he said.

TFM station manager Matt Bernasconi said: “Thirty years’ hosting our India/Tamil radio show is a fantastic achievement. Ram is part of the DNA that makes our community radio station great for all listeners.”