All India Radio

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News Services Division of Akashvani logo.jpg
Akashvani Bhawan, Parliament Street.jpg
Headquarters at Sansad Marg, New Delhi
Type Government Organisation
HeadquartersAkashvani Bhavan
Sansad Marg, New Delhi – 110001, Delhi, India
Motto Bahujanahitaya Bahujanasukhaya (बहुजनहिताय बहुजनसुखाय) [1]
Owner Prasar Bharati
Parent Government of India
Launch date8 June 1936;87 years ago (1936-06-08) (as All India Radio)
AIR 5 May 2023;11 months ago (2023-05-05) (as Akashvani)
Website All India Radio, News on AIR

All India Radio (AIR) aka Akashvani (literal meaning "Voice from the Sky"), is an Indian state-owned public radio broadcaster founded by the Government of India, owned by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and one of Prasar Bharati's two divisions. 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, and the National Service, and is also home to the Indian television station Doordarshan Kendra, (Delhi).


In terms of the number of languages transmitted, the range of socioeconomic variety it serves, and the size of its broadcasting organisation, Akashvani is the largest radio network in the world. 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, and has programming in 23 languages and 179 dialects. [4]

A stamp on Akashvani Silver Jubilee. Stamp of India - 1961 - Colnect 141804 - Silver Jubilee All India Radio - Radio Masts and Emblem.jpeg
A stamp on Akashvani Silver Jubilee.


Akashvani 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 Kolkata's shortwave service. [5] [6]

'Akashavani' 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. The name "Akashwani" was suggested by the poet Pandit Narendra Sharma.


During the British Raj

Broadcasting began in June 1923 during the British Raj with programmes 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 Mumbai station which began on 23 July 1927, and the Kolkata 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]

AIR headquarters in New Delhi Akashvani Bhavan in New Delhi.jpg
AIR headquarters in New Delhi
Old Akashvani Bhawan on Sansad Marg Akashvani Bhawan, Parliament Street.jpg
Old Akashvani Bhawan on Sansad Marg

On 1 October 1939, the External Service began with a broadcast in Pashto. It was intended to counter radio propaganda from Germany directed at Afghanistan, Iran, and Arab nations. The year 1939 also saw the opening of the Dhaka station of Eastern India, in what is now Bangladesh. This station catered to and nurtured the pioneers of Bengali intellectuals. The foremost among them, Natyaguru Nurul Momen, became the trailblazer of the talk show in 1939. He wrote and directed the first modern radio play for this station in 1942.

After Independence

When India became independent in 1947, the AIR network had only six stations (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli). The three radio stations in 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.

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

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), 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]

Radio Television License Radio Television License India - 1976.pdf
Radio Television License

Domestic services

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

Vividh Bharati

Vividh Bharati began in 1957 and 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 programmes including news, film music, short plays, music and comedy. It operates on different mediumwave as well as FM frequencies in each city.

Some programmes broadcast on Vividh Bharati are:

Central Sales Unit

The Central Sales Unit (CSU), located in Mumbai, handles commercial aspects of AIR. [12]

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). [15] 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 (Vividha 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
Hyderabad738 kHzHyderabad (FM Rainbow)101.9 MHz
Hyderabad (Vivida Bharati)102.8 MHzWarangal103.5 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 radio broadcasts. Mediumwave 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 began 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 programme 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 programmes 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 are 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 Balochi language. [17]

The external services of AIR are also broadcast to Europe in DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) on 9950 kHz between 17:45 and 22:30 UTC. These external transmissions are broadcast by high-power transmitters located in Aligarh, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Gorakhpur, Guwahati, Mumbai, and Panaji on shortwave and from Jalandhar, Kolkata, Nagpur, Rajkot, and Tuticorin on mediumwave. All India Radio Amritsar plans to start a booster service on the FM band. Some of these transmitters are 1000 kW (1 MW) or 500 kW. Programmes 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 programme 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 programmes 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 Indian diaspora. 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. [18] 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:


the 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. [19] 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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