Station Manager, Unity 101
Ram Kalyan "Kelly”
Ram Kalyan – better known as "Kelly” – is the founder and station and Project manager of Unity 101 Community Radio, the leading ethnic community radio station in the south of England.
Unity 101 was among the first batch of community radio stations in the UK that were granted permanent community radio licences by Ofcom, 16 years ago. The station has been recognised at the highest level in the UK, in 2012, when it was given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for “promoting community cohesion via a multi-lingual broadcasting service”.
Kelly’s driving force is to connect Southampton’s communities, and to create a city where people can live together harmoniously. He is committed to sharing the cultures of the city’s Asian, ethnic and faith communities to foster greater understanding. Additionally he is keen to up-skill diverse communities to open up opportunities for them to engage more fully in the wider community – whether in their career, friendship groups or leisure activities. It was with these in mind that he created Unity 101, with the ethos ‘for the community, to the community, by the community’. An ethos that remains as true today, as it was when he set up the station.
Educated in Nairobi and England, Kelly is a qualified electronic engineer in sound and lighting. He started working in the media industry while at college. Following several years as an engineer, he started working as a self-employed professional presenter in 1979, being voted Best Regional DJ by the Disc Jockey Federation of Great Britain.
Through his career, Kelly has played a high profile role in the establishment and success of a number of major UK entertainment venues, such as The Academy and L’ Odeon in Bournemouth. He has also promoted numerous world-class bands, managed a record label and an artist management agency.
Kelly has now been running Unity 101 for more than a Twenty years, on a daily basis, 365 days a year, supported by volunteers who are equally passionate about communities and ethnic media. The station is supported by more than 158 partner organisations and businesses from across the public, voluntary and private sectors, including Solent University. The station and the university’s partnership began more than fourteen years ago. Unity 101 provides Solent’s students with opportunities to gain valuable work experience in a working radio station and at live events, helping to set them up for careers ahead. Equally, Solent support for Unity 101 is immeasurable.
Kelly was awarded a trophy of appreciation for his help assisting the Qipao Cultural Creative Exhibition – in Southampton during Chinese 100th Year. He was also given an award of appreciation from the Southampton Scout Club where he supports young people in their community work.
He was then presented by The High Sheriff of Hampshire Award in recognition of great and valuable services to the community. Shortly after, the Mayor presented him with the City of Southampton Award for his work connecting communities in particularly Derby Run. He was also presented by Pakistan welfare Association lifetime achievement Award and finally – his greatest honour, Solent University has bestowed him an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree.
Both air and off air, Kelly strives to bring communities together at every opportunity.