Richard and Padma Coram
Richard and Padma Coram Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Old-timers in the UAE are in shock and devastated as news spread of UAE pioneer Richard Coram’s sudden death.

The former radio show host on Dubai FM92, along with being a noted news presenter on the city’s Channel 33, was the brainchild behind the event management company, The Talent Brokers.

According to reports, Coram died in the UK from complications arisen from the coronavirus. He was in his late 50s.

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Richard Coram with his wife Padma and their son Aryan Image Credit: Supplied

Both Coram, along with his wife Padma, were well known for pioneering the live entertainment arena in the UAE, bringing mega shows to the country before it became a regular occurrence. The Talent Brokers were also behind the much-talked-about Michael Jackson concert in 1994, which was eventually cancelled by the artist due to personal reasons.

For friends, Coram was “one of the nicest guys to know”.

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Richard Coram as a radio presenter on Dubai 92 FM Image Credit: Gulf News/Archives

“I knew Richard since the late 80s, when he was a presenter on Channel 33. He was such a lovely man to know and I hold such fond memories,” recalled Rajeev Khanna, Commercial Director, Gulf News. “Richard, along with wife Padma, literally changed the live music scene in the UAE. Much credit goes to them. My heart goes out to Padma and their son.”

BPG Group CEO Avi Bhojani remembers Coram as ‘the voice of Dubai’. “I knew Richard since I moved to Dubai in 1988. He was the voice of Dubai in many ways, from being a radio presenter to being on TV. Every live event, black-tie affair had Richard’s voice attached as a host and master of ceremonies. He will truly be missed.”

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Richard Coram seen here in his earlier days in Dubai Image Credit: Gulf News/Archives

“My earliest memory of Richard was as a 19-year-old from the UK who used to DJ at Juliana,” said Ian Fairservice, founder of Motivate Media Group. “He had been sent down to Dubai to DJ at the Metropolitan Hotel and had walked into our offices to be profiled for a piece in What’s On. This would have been in the very early 80s.

“Richard was a thorough professional and immensely likeable which was one of the reasons he was so successful across various broadcast media and as a concert promoter. He had a wonderful sense of humour and always remained modest and down to earth in spite of the famous people he knew and worked with.

“We would go on to become very good friends, even as his career progressed in Dubai from a DJ to a radio presenter on Dubai FM92, followed by a career on Channel 33.”

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Richard Coram with Gulf News readers Image Credit: Gulf News/Archives

Fairservice also recalled Coram’s contribution to the UAE events scene. “Richard built a successful career with the Talent Brokers, working with Bryan Adams several times to bring him to Dubai, and even hosting a Rolling Stones concert in India. He worked with very big acts and was a well-respected impresario,” he continued.

Fairservice said the couple, along with their son, eventually moved to England after spending decades in Dubai.

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Padma and Richard Coram with late Indian artist MF Husain Image Credit: Gulf News/Archives

Long-time Dubai resident Anthony Permal referred to Coram as the ‘soul of the city’. “When I first moved to the UAE in 1997, we had two radio stations and the voice that we would hear over the airwaves often belonged to Richard Coram,” recalled Permal. “Being a part of the events industry, I also remember Richard and Padma from the Talent Brokers. They were behind the Michel Jackson concert, even though it eventually didn’t happen and Bryan Adams as well. You only needed to see their name attached to an event to know it would be a quality show. This was Richard’s legacy. No part of events that hasn’t been touched by Richard.”

“He and Padma shaped the live entertainment scene in Dubai by bringing in some of the world’s biggest stars — who then went on to spread the word about how they’d been treated like royalty in the UAE,” added Keith Fernandez, a content and media communications strategist and former Entertainment Editor in the UAE. “I have countless memories of the shows they mounted. Unlike many of the industry’s later cowboys, these were almost always superbly organised shows, with excellent security, F&B and logistics. My sympathies go out to his family.”

Former Indian skipper Ravi Shastri and head coach of the Indian cricket team also posted an emotional message on Instagram in rememberance of Coram. "Always devastating to lose a good friend - Richard Corum. Sleep easy, Rich. God Bless. My thoughts with family and friends."

Coram is survived by his wife Padma and son Aryan.


A tribute to Richard...

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Richard Coram Image Credit: Gulf News/Archives

My earliest memory of Richard was as a nine-year-old who would eagerly tune into Dubai’s only radio station religiously to hear his raspy voice over the airwaves. To a young child growing up in the emirate who only had the one radio station and Channel 33 to fall back on, Richard was the window to the world.

Watching him read the news on TV night after night at 9pm, it was the very first time that a career in journalism seemed a possibility.

When I returned to the UAE years later and ready to embark on my writing career here, it was Richard and Padma who made me feel welcome as a cub reporter covering the entertainment beat. Over the years, our professional relationship grew into a warm friendship that I still cherish even if the communication fell wayside after they moved to the UK.

Someone called him the ‘voice of Dubai’ and in many ways, for a child growing up in the 80s and 90s, he really was. If only we could hear it once again.