(Last Updated on : 18/06/2013)
All India Radio is the mother of all radio stations. The birth of Radio broadcasting in India has started on an experimental basis in the year 1921 when Times of India in collaboration with Post and Telegraph Department broadcasts a musical programme. Sir George Lloyd put forward this request to those concerned companies. In 1927 private radio clubs proliferated. In the year 1930 radio broadcasting started operating under the Indian Broadcasting Company. However, the company went into liquidation after a span of three years and the Government took the charge of broadcasting at their own expense. On March 1935 a separate office of the Controller of Broadcasting was created .The landmark in the history of broadcasting is the change of the name of the Indian Broadcasting to All India Radio (AIR) in the year 1936. In the same year Delhi station was formed.
From 1936 onwards the development of radio broadcasting was sluggish but steadfast. Nine AIR stations opened up in different places like Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Lucknow and Tiruchi. From 1957 onwards AIR was popularly known as Akashvani. Eminent personalities had lent their voices for radio broadcasting. On 12th November, 1947, the voice of Gandhiji was broadcasted in AIR.
Keeping in view the motto, "Bahujan Hitaya; Bahujan Sukhaya" i.e. the benefit and happiness of large sections of the people, AIR aims to provide information, education and entertainment. It has defined its objectives in the following:
. Preserve the country's unity and the democratic values as shrined in the Constitution;
. Present a reasonable and equilibrated flow of data of national, regional, local and international concern including contrastive views. Citation of any opinion or ideology of its own should be avoided. Integrity of the whole nation should be respected. Variety in broadcasting should be incorporated.
. Develop programmes which can arouse, communicate, elucidate, train, entertain and improve to satisfy all the audiences through out the nation.
. Formulate different programmes for broadcasting, keeping in mind all sections of people of the nation.
. Prepare developmental and reference programmes on various fields like Agriculture, Education, Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology.
. Prepare programmes for rustic, illiterate and poor population including the youths, social and cultural minorities, and the tribes and of those occupying the borders, backward or distant areas.
. Encourage consolidation and harmony of the nation.
AIR today has a network of 223 broadcasting centres with 143 medium frequency (MW), 54 high frequency (SW) and 161 FM transmitters. It encompasses an area of 91.42% serving 99.13% of the people in India. AIR covers 24 Languages and 146 dialects in home services.
Over the years the radio broadcasting has expanded its service both in terms of reach and content suitable to the requirements of the nation. A three- tire system has been introduced. The national Channel was formed on 18th May, 1988. It is located in New Delhi and it suffices national broadcasting. Hourly news bulletins, alternatively in Hindi and English are broadcasted from the national Channel. Major stations look after the regional broadcasts. Local radio stations are formed in different areas and they are now more than eighty in number.
AIR's services and programmes too have expanded in leaps and bounds. Till date these include News Services, Cultural Programmes, Extension education services, External services for foreign countries.
NSD produces news and comments both for Indian and foreign audiences' .It produces 112 bulletins in 17 languages emanating from Delhi and is transmitted to other stations.45 Regional News Units brings forth as many as 187 regional and 65 external news bulletins. The External News bulletins are being brought out in 25 languages. Spotlight' in English and 'Samayiki' in Hindi are the daily broadcasts covering current and local news. Programme on current affairs is disseminated every Sunday. It incorporates comments of experts, teachers politicians on national and international matters .Besides it broadcasts "Charcha ka Vishai Hai", programme in Hind, on every Wednesday;There are composite news programmes called "Samachar Prabhat" and "Morning News" in Hindi and English respectively. They are of duration of 15 minutes each incorporating a news bulletin, a commentary, and reviewing of daily press. A mid day news of one hour is broadcasted from 2 p.m. News is also available on the Internet. The News Services Division has its own website for updating News round the clock.
In External services, it covers 27 languages; 17 national and 10 foreign languages. Moreover programmes for rural folks, army personnel, sports, musical programmes are broadcasted to meet the thirst of its target audiences.
Although there are ample scope to transmit radio programmes of varied content and presentations, radio is considered solely to be a medium for developmental broadcasting.