RJ Sudha reaches out with her voice

RJ Sudha's tamil radio showPsychiatrist Scott Peck once said, “Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”

The words couldn’t have been truer to Sudha Rajgopalan. She was drawing a six-figure salary in a Silicon Valley company, but left one day in 2018 to do something that meant more to her.

In a career spanning a couple of decades, she has been an engineer, product owner, a women’s rights’ leader, and community organizer. Rajagopalan has helped women communicate better and improve their presentation skills, conducted workshops to help women be independent. She spearheaded toy and food drive during holiday seasons. 

Tamil radio show by RJ Sudha engages the diasporaToday, as RJ Sudha, she hosts Tamizh Suvai (the taste of Tamil), a radio show that connects the Tamil diaspora to their roots. As the founder and anchor, she ensures the radio show is not just a platform for music lovers but also brings the world to the listener’s living room every weekend.

“We take care to have special guests and “context-sensitive” cinema music that is the trademark of the show,” Rajgopalan says, “So if the subject is women empowerment, the song selection reflects the mood.” Recently Tamil Suvai celebrated the birthdays of famed poet Bharati and Tamil actor Rajinikant, during a conversation with the great granddaughter of the poet, Mira Soundararajan. The songs played were a mix of those involving both the titans.

“I wanted to be an entrepreneur and work close to home,” Rajagopalan says.  “I literally ‘talked’ my way into three months free air time as the owner of Radio Fever was quite impressed by my interests and knowledge in various subjects. I had this vision of reaching out to the world with my voice and an urge to leave behind a legacy beyond coding.”

Her show, which airs from 7 to 9 PST Saturdays, goes live on Facebook, too. Her husband R J Venky adds zing to the show with his droll one-liners. 

Sudha says wryly, “Through the week, I hunt for a speaker, spend hours talking to them, prepare questions and the script, and Venky spends about two minutes to ask what the topic is and goes impromptu and is an instant hit!”  Still, in a little over two years, her listenership has grown to almost 3,000.  

The show’s list of guests look like a Who’s Who.  It has had 2018 Magasaysay award winners from India Sonam Wangchuk and Bharat Watwani. For politics, it relied on Rich Tran, the mayor of Milpitas; and Harini Krishnan, a Democratic Party organizer. It has hosted several healers – mainstream and alternative. The first included Dr. Ravi Kannan of the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Silchar; gastroenterologist Dr Palaniappan Manickam; nephrologist Harish Dwarakinath; and gynecologist K. R. Hema. Kerala Ayurveda’s Dr. Jayarajan Kodikannath, Dr. Sheena Sooraj and Dr. Namyatha Paathak have their share of air time, too.

The organization is also the official media partner for the American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association (ATEA). Besides the duo have hosted celebrity singers like Unni Krishnan, Vijay Prakash, Karthik, and stand-up comedians like RJ Balaji and Alexander Babu. A star attraction was actress Trisha Krishnan. Others include astrologers and local artists.

The organization is also the official media partner for the American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association (ATEA). Besides the duo have hosted celebrity singers like Unni Krishnan, Vijay Prakash, Karthik, and stand-up comedians like RJ Balaji and Alexander Babu. A star attraction was actress Trisha Krishnan. Others include astrologers and local artists.

My show has been a platform for a number of non-profit organizations,” says Rajagopalan, who also actively involved with Sewa International.

“I am committed to their cause and I try to follow up after the show, and connect them with other contacts so they grow. I get the immense satisfaction of seeing them grow,” she says.

She says she is grateful to her close-knit group of family and friends for helping her choose the right set of songs, discuss movies for brainstorming ideas, and for keeping the channel not just alive but kicking merrily.

The RJ signs off, saying, “Suddenly, I feel like a celebrity in my neighborhood. People want to reach out to me, take selfies with me and want to be a part of my show. I feel God has put me in this role for a bigger purpose and make a difference.  When my guests endorse me with poems, lovely letters or even a basket full of goodies, my joy knows no bounds.”

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