All India Radio

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All India Radio
Logo of AIR.svg
TypeGovernment organisation
Headquarters Sansad Marg, New Delhi – 110001, India
Motto Bahujanahitaya Bahujanasukhaya (बहुजनहिताय बहुजनसुखाय) [1]
Owner Prasar Bharati
Launch date23 July 1927;95 years ago (1927-07-23)
Webcast AIR
Website All India Radio, News on AIR

All India Radio (AIR), officially known since 1957 as Akashvani (literary meaning "Voice from the Sky"), is the national public radio broadcaster of India and is a division of Prasar Bharati. It was established in 1936. [2]


It is the sister service of Prasar Bharati's Doordarshan, an Indian television broadcaster. [3] Headquartered in the Akashvani Bhavan building in New Delhi, it houses the Drama Section, the FM Section, the National Service, and is also home to the Indian television station Doordarshan Kendra, (Delhi).

All India Radio is the largest radio network in the world, and one of the largest broadcasting organisations in the world in terms of the number of languages broadcast and the spectrum of socio-economic and cultural diversity it serves. AIR's home service comprises 420 stations located across the country, reaching nearly 92% of the country's area and 99.19% of the total population. AIR originates programming in 23 languages and 179 dialects. [4]


Ākāśavānī (आकाशवाणी) is a Sanskrit word meaning 'celestial announcement' or 'voice from the sky/heaven'. In Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, Akashvanis are often featured in stories as a medium of communication from heaven to mankind.

When the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) was renamed All India Radio, Rabindranath Tagore rechristened it as Akashvani, the voice that comes over from the skies, through a poem penned for the inauguration of Calcutta’s shortwave service. [5] [6]

'Akashvani' was also used in the context of radio by M. V. Gopalaswami in 1936 after setting up India's first private radio station in his residence, "Vittal Vihar" (about two hundred yards from AIR's current Mysore radio station). [7] Akashvani was later given as All India Radio's on-air name in 1957; given its literal meaning in Sanskrit, it was believed to be a more than suitable name for a broadcaster.


Old Akashvani Bhawan on Sansad Marg Akashvani Bhawan, Parliament Street.jpg
Old Akashvani Bhawan on Sansad Marg
AIR headquarters in New Delhi Akashvani Bhavan in New Delhi.jpg
AIR headquarters in New Delhi
Radio Television License Radio Television License India - 1976.pdf
Radio Television License

Broadcasting began in June 1923 during the British Raj with programs by the Bombay Presidency Radio Club and other radio clubs. According to an agreement on 23 July 1927, the private Indian Broadcasting Company Ltd (IBC) was authorized to operate two radio stations: the Bombay station which began on 23 July 1927, and the Calcutta station which followed on 26 August 1927. The company went into liquidation on 1 March 1930. The government took over the broadcasting facilities and began the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) on 1 April 1930 on an experimental basis for two years, and permanently in May 1932 it then went on to become All India Radio on 8 June 1936. [2]

In August 1947, All India Radio hired its first female newsreader, Saeeda Bano, who read the news in Urdu. [8]

On 1 October 1939, the External Service began with a broadcast in Pushtu. It was intended to counter radio propaganda from Germany directed at Afghanistan, Persia and Arab nations. 1939 also saw the opening of the Dhaka station of Eastern India, in what is now Bangladesh. This station catered and nurtured the pioneers of Bengali intellectuals. The foremost among them, Natyaguru Nurul Momen, became the trail-blazer of the talk-show in 1939. He wrote and directed the first modern radio-play for this station in 1942. When India became independent in 1947, the AIR network had only six stations (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli). The three radio stations at Lahore, Peshawar and Dhaka remained in what became Pakistan after the division. The total number of radio sets in India at that time was about 275,000. On 3 October 1957, the Vividh Bharati Service was launched, to compete with Radio Ceylon. Television broadcasting began in Delhi in 1959 as part of AIR, but was split off from the radio network as Doordarshan on 1 April 1976. [9] FM broadcasting began on 23 July 1977 in Chennai, and expanded during the 1990s. [10]

Deccan Radio (Nizam Radio 1932), the first radio station in Hyderabad State (now Hyderabad, India), went live on air on 3 February 1935. It was launched by Mir Osman Ali Khan the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad with a transmitting power of 200 Watts. On 1 April 1950, Deccan Radio was taken over by the Indian Government, and in 1956 it was merged with All India Radio (AIR). Since then, it has been known as AIR-Hyderabad (100 kW). [11]

Domestic services

AIR has many services in a number of languages, each serving different regions across India.

Vividh Bharati

Vividh Bharati is one of the best-known services of All India Radio. Its name roughly translates as "Diverse Indian". It is also known as the Commercial Broadcasting Service or CBS. Commercially, it is the most accessible AIR network and is popular in Mumbai and other large cities. Vividh Bharati offers a wide range of programs including news, film music, short plays, music and comedy. It operates on different medium wave-band as well as FM frequencies in each city. Vividh Bharati service started in 1957.

Some programs broadcast on Vividh Bharati are:

Central Sales Unit

Central Sales Unit (CSU) is single window services of All India Radio for commercial purposes. Its name roughly translates as "Centralised Sales Unit". It is situated in Mumbai.

Other services

Regional services

The headquarters of the Regional Deputy Directors General are located in Delhi and Chandigarh (NR), Lucknow and Bhopal (CR), Guwahati (NER), Kolkata (ER), Mumbai and Ahmedabad (WR), Chennai and Bangalore (SR). [14] All frequencies are in kHz, unless otherwise noted. Most of the channels are also available online.

Northern regional service
Chairhara (Budgam)1485Delhi A819Delhi B666
Delhi C ( Vividh Bharti )1368Delhi D (Yuv-vani)1017Delhi (National Channel)1215
Jaipur A1476Jalandhar A873Jalandhar B702
Jammu A990Jodhpur A531Kalpa (Kinnaur)1584
Kargil A684Kargil B1584Khalsi1485
Lucknow A747Lucknow C1278Mathura1584
Budgam1116Budgam A1224Srinagar C918
Varanasi A1242Sawai MadhopurFM 101.5 MHzRaebareliFM 102.8 MHz
Northeast regional service
Agartala1269Guwahati A729
Eastern regional service
Bhagalpur1458, 1206Chinsurah ((Akashvani Maitree), 1 MegaWatt Transmitter Capacity)594 & 1134
Cuttack A972Darbhanga1296
Jamshedpur1584Gitanjali (Kolkata A)(200 KW Transmitter Capacity)657
Sanchayita (Kolkata B)(100 KW Transmitter Capacity)1008Kolkata C (Vividh Bharati)1323 kHz Medium Wave as well as 101.8 MHZ FM
Patna A621Ranchi A549
Muzaffarpur AFM 100.1 MHzMuzaffarpur BFM 106.4 MHz
Kolkata (FM Rainbow) (20 KW Transmitter Capacity)FM 107.0 MHzKolkata (FM Gold)(20 KW Transmitter Capacity)FM 100.2 MHz
Kurseong1440 kHz as well as FM 102.3 MHZ (5 KW Transmitter Capacity)Siliguri711 kHz (200 KW DRM Transmitter Capacity)
Santiniketan (Bolpur)FM 103.1 MHz (3 KW Transmitter Capacity)Murshidabad (6 KW Transmitter Capacity)FM 102.2 MHz
Western regional service
Ahmedabad A846Aurangabad1521
Bhopal A1593ChhindwaraFM 102.2 MHz
Indore A648Jabalpur A801
Mumbai A1044Mumbai B (Asmita Marathi)558
Mumbai C ( Vividh Bharati )1188Nagpur A585
Nagpur B (National Channel, 1 MW)1566Panaji A1287
Panaji B (Vividh Bharati)828Pune A792
Rajkot A810Ratnagiri1143
Parbhani AFM 102.0 MHzJabalpur Vividh Bharati102.9
MysoreFM 100.6 MHzJalgaon963
Southern regional service
Bengaluru612 kHzBengaluru(Vivida Bharati)102.9 MHz
Bangalore(Rainbow FM)101.3 MHzBhadravati675 kHz
Dharwad765 kHzDharwad FM103.0 MHz
Hassan1107 kHZKalburagi1107 kHz
Mangaluru1089 kHzMangalore FM100.3 MHz
Madikeri FM103.1 MHzSringeri FM101 MHz
Vijayawada103.4 MHz


External services

The external services of All India Radio are broadcast in 27 languages to countries outside India via high-power shortwave band broadcasts. Medium wave is also used to reach neighbouring countries. In addition to broadcasts targeted at specific countries by language, there is a General Overseas Service broadcasting in English with 8+14 hours of programming each day aimed at a general international audience. The external broadcasts were begun on 1 October 1939 by the British government to counter the propaganda of the Nazis directed at the Afghan people. The first broadcasts were in Pashto, beamed to Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier Province. Broadcasts soon began in other languages including: Dari, Persian, Arabic, English, Burmese, Japanese, Chinese, Malay and French. The external services broadcast in 16 foreign and 11 Indian languages, with a total program output of 70¼ hours per day on medium and shortwave frequencies.

External service transmitter sites
LocationNumber of transmitterskWFrequencyDRM !
Aligarh (HPT)4250
Bengaluru (SPT)6500100 kW
Chennai (Madras)1100720 kHzMW
Jalandhar (Goraya)1300702 kHzMW
Khampur-Delhi (HPT)7250
Khampur-Delhi (SPT)2500
Kolkata-Chinsurah/Mogra (SPT)110001134 kHz and 594 kHz (Kolkata – A)1142 kHz MW
Mumbai (Malad)1100
Nagpur (SPT)110001566 kHzMW
Panaji (HPT)2250
Rajkot (SPT)110001071 kHz AIR URDU1080 kHz (2 MW) Vividha Bharti
Tuticorin12001053  kHzMW

Two high powered FM stations of All India Radio are being installed in Amritsar and Fazilka in the Punjab to supplement the programs broadcast from transmitters operating from Jalandhar, New Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai and to improve the broadcast services during unfavourable weather conditions in the border regions of Punjab.

Today, the External Services Division of All India Radio broadcasts daily with 57 transmissions with almost 72 hours or programming covering over 108 countries in 27 languages, of which 15 are foreign and 12 Indian. The foreign languages are: Arabic, Baluchi, Burmese, Chinese, Dari, French, Indonesian, Persian, Pushtu, Russian, Sinhala, Swahili, Thai, Tibetan and English (General Overseas Service). The Indian languages are Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Konkani, Kashmiri, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Nepali, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

The longest daily broadcast is the Urdu Service to Pakistan, around the clock on DTH (direct-broadcast satellite) and on short- and medium wave for 1214 hrs. The English-language General Overseas Service is broadcast 814 hours daily. During Hajj, there are special broadcasts beamed to Saudi Arabia in Urdu. AIR is planning to produce programmes in the Baluchi language. [16]

The external services of AIR are also broadcast to Europe in DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) on 9950 kHz between 1745 and 2230 UTC. These external transmissions are broadcast by high-power transmitters located at Aligarh, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Gorakhpur, Guwahati, Mumbai and Panaji on shortwave and from Jalandhar, Kolkata, Nagpur, Rajkot and Tuticorin on medium wave. Soon All India Radio Amritsar will also start a booster service on the FM band. Some of these transmitters are 1000 kW (1 MW) or 500 kW. Programs are beamed to different parts of the world except for the Americas and the reception quality is very good in the target areas. In each language service, the program consists of news, commentary, a press review, talks on matters of general or cultural interest, feature programmes, documentaries and music from India and the target region. Most programs originate at New Broadcasting House on Parliament Street in New Delhi, with a few originating at SPT Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jalandhar, Kolkata, HPT Malad Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram and Tuticorin.

The External Services Division of AIR is a link between India and rest of the world, especially in countries with Indian emigrants and people of Indian origin. It broadcasts the Indian point of view on matters of national and international importance, and demonstrates the Indian way of life through its programs. QSL cards (which are sought-after by international radio hobbyists) are issued to radio hobbyists by AIR in New Delhi for reception reports of their broadcasts.


Direct-to-home (DTH) service is a satellite broadcast service in which a large number of radio channels are digitally beamed down over a territory from a high-power satellite. AIR broadcasts various national and regional stations available to listen on DD Free Dish. The DTH signals can be received directly at homes using a small-sized dish receiver unit containing a dish antenna installed on a building's rooftop or on a wall facing clear south and one indoors. [17] DTH service is offered on twenty one channels via Insat.

List of DTH channels



Online services

Other services

Digital Radio Mondiale

Details of the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) transmissions and frequencies are as follows:

Above transmissions are in addition to following existing DRM txn's:


All India Radio launched news-on-phone service on 25 February 1998 in New Delhi; it now has service in Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna and Bangalore. The service is accessible through Subscriber trunk dialling (STD), International Direct Dialing (ISD) and local calls. There are plans to establish the service in 11 additional cities including: Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Guwahati, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ranchi and Shimla. English and Hindi hourly news bulletins may be heard live. [18] News in MP3 format may be directly played from the site, and filenames are time-stamped. AIR news bulletins are available in nine regional languages: Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, North East, Punjabi, Telugu and Urdu.


There is a long tradition of broadcasting documentary features on AIR. There is great interest in radio documentaries, particularly in countries like India, Iran, South Korea and Malaysia. The most prominent broadcaster of English Features was Melville de Mellow, and of Hindi Features, Shiv Sagar Mishra. This format has been revived by AIR producers across India because of its flexibility, its relative low cost to produce, its messaging potential and its creative potential.

Central Drama Unit

AIR's Central Drama Unit (CDU) is responsible for the national broadcast of plays. Plays produced by the CDU are translated and produced by regional stations. Since its inception in the 1960s, the unit has produced more than 1,500 plays, and the CDU houses a repository of old scripts and productions. The National Programme of Plays is broadcast by the CDU on the fourth Thursday of each month at 9.30 pm. Each play included in the National Programme of Plays is produced in 22 Indian languages and broadcast at the same time by all regional and national network stations. The CDU also produces Chain Plays, half-hour dramas broadcast in succession by a chain of stations.

Social Media Cell

The News Service Division's Social Media Cell was established on 20 May 2013 and is responsible for providing AIR news on new media platforms such as websites, Twitter, Facebook, and SMS.

See also

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