V. Chockalingam (Chocko)
Managing Trustee

Growing up in 1980s India, radio was my main means of listening to the latest music, be it Indian movie hits or western pop. I was fascinated enough to ham a radio set in 1980 and on every Sunday for a couple of hours “broadcast” music to my friends in the block where I lived. And it went on for eight years! The seed of the idea, radio and community, lay dormant for a while and took root a few years ago. While frequenting Salem and Yercaud I realized that for a vast majority of people living here, unlike in big, metropolitan Bangalore, radio was still the go-to source of news, entertainment, and culture.

In the western world, as well as in big Indian cities, there is a proliferation of radio stations, and we are spoilt for choice. But there are still parts of our country where people are deprived of this choice, be it in the hills of Yercaud, in rural areas of the Salem district, or in the town itself. Salem District is a vibrant melting pot of urban and rural communities, where large and small industries from steel to handloom thrive side by side with agriculture, organic farming, educational institutions, and tourism, making it a perfect ecosystem for community radio. Unlike visual or social media, radio is not distracting and allows us to do more than one thing at a time, whether it is listening to programs while driving to work, polishing silver anklets, weaving cloth or a street vendor selling her wares.

Valliappa Foundation is proud and honoured to present Sona FM 107.8 Community Radio, the culmination of a youthful dream and decades-long desire to provide space, means and voice for the people of Salem District, to build community through dialogue and exchange of views, to promote local culture, sports, music and business, and to disseminate information on any subject that may be of interest to you.

What better or more powerful way is there to bring together and celebrate a diverse lifestyle?

When Chocko first told me, in July 2021, that the Valliappa Foundation had applied for a license to set up a Community Radio Station in Yercaud, and that the permission was imminent, I could not contain my excitement.

I had just completed a year winding down a very successful 5-year national program on health governance in a small west African country, where I had experienced first-hand the power of community radio. In that program, community radio was the primary platform through which people were engaged and empowered to access healthcare as one of their basic rights.

Although Valliappa Foundation is a comparatively small entity in the vast array of The Sona Group, I believe that Sona FM has the potential to make a significant contribution to its long tradition of philanthropy and social change that started 100 years ago.

With patience, with sustained effort and a commitment to the principles of community radio, I believe Sona FM will become a jewel in the crown of The Sona Group.

As we start this journey we are filled with joy and excitement about the possibilities that lie ahead, and honoured to be a part of this initiative.

Head, Valliappa Foundation

Subramanyam, the driving force behind Sona FM, brings a wealth of expertise to his role.

An MBA background and a track record of successfully managing national and state-funded skills development projects have well-equipped him to motivate, mentor and manage the Sona FM team from its inception.

Subbu’s insatiable passion for acquiring new skills and his naturally inquisitive nature allow him to seamlessly blend his prior managerial experience with an adaptive approach to work.

He embodies the qualities necessary to drive success and propel Sona FM to new heights. Originally from Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, he is a fluent Tamil speaker.

Copyright @2024. All rights Reserved

  • Sona FM 107.8
    4/14, Reddipatty Road,
    Mamangam, Salem - 636302
  • Phone:
    (+91) 978 770 1078, (0427)234 1078
  • Email:

Download Sona FM App

google-play google-play

CSR Project by

play pause
Sona FM 107.8 an initiative by the Valliappa Foundation