• The Centre ordered that public broadcaster, previously known as All India Radio (AIR), be exclusively referred to as Akashvani in all broadcasts and programmes. Previously, the two names were used interchangeably.
  • Guglielmo Marconi sent out the first radio transmission in 1895.
  • In India, the Radio Club of Bombay sent out the first commercial transmission in 1923.
  • The Calcutta Radio Club was started and a year later, radio broadcasts reached Madras with the Madras Presidency Radio Club.
  • The ambitious Indian Broadcasting Company (IBC) came into existence in 1927.
  • It faced bankruptcy in 1930.
  • In 1930, the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS), under the Department of Industries and Labour, commenced its operations on an experimental basis.
  • Senior BBC producer Lionel Fielden was appointed as India’s first Controller of Broadcasting in 1935 and brought major advancements to the programming.
  • In 1936, ISBS became All India Radio.
  • AIR was brought under the Department of Communications, and four years later, under the Department of Information and Broadcasting, now called the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Growth after independence:

At the time of Independence, India was left with six radio stations:

  • Delhi, Lucknow, Bombay, Madras and Trichy
  • three others – Peshawar, Lahore and Dacca had gone to Pakistan.
  • In terms of coverage, AIR covered just two percent of India’s land area and reached just 11 percent of its population.
  • Today, with a network of over 262 radio stations, AIR is available to 92 per cent of India’s area and nearly all of its population.
  • It broadcasts in 23 languages and 146 dialects.
  • It also has an External Services Division which broadcasts in 11 Indian and 16 foreign languages, reaching out to more than 100 countries.
  • Its News Services Division broadcasts 647 bulletins daily for a total duration of nearly 56 hours.
  • FM broadcasting began in 1977 in Chennai, and expanded during the 1990s.
  • Today, AIR 18 FM stereo channels, largely targeting the urban audience.
  • The name Akashvani was adopted by AIR in 1956.


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