All India Radio

All India Radio
Type Government Organisation
Country India
Availability National
Motto Bahujanahitaya Bahujanasukhaya / बहुजनहिताय बहुजनसुखाय [1]
Headquarters Sansad Marg, New Delhi - 110001, India
Owner Prasar Bharati
Launch date
8 June 1936
Official website
All India Radio,

All India Radio (AIR), officially known since 1956 as Ākāshvāṇī ("Voice from the Sky") is the national public radio broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati. Established in 1930.[2] It is the sister service of Prasar Bharati's Doordarshan, an Indian television broadcaster. Its headquarters are in the Akashvani Bhavan building in New Delhi. Akashvani Bhavan 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 of four hundred and twenty stations located across the country, reaching nearly ninety two percent of the country’s area and 99.19% of the total population. AIR originates programming in twenty three languages and one hundred and seventy nine dialects.[3]


Ākāśavāni (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.

'Akashvani' was first used in the context of radio by M. V. Gopalaswami 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), in 1936.[4] Akashvani was later adopted as All India Radio's on-air name in 1957.


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 23rd July, 1927, the private Indian Broadcasting Company LTD (IBC) was authorized to operate two radio stations: the Bombay station which began on 23rd July, 1927, and the Calcutta station which followed on 26rd August, 1927. The company went into liquidation on 1st March, 1930. The government took over the broadcasting facilities and began the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) on 1st April, 1930 on an experimental basis for two years and permanently in May 1932. On 8th June, 1936, the ISBS was renamed as All India Radio.[2]

On 1st October, 1939, the External Service began with a broadcast in Pushtu. It was intended to counter radio propaganda from Germany directed to Afghanistan, Iran and the 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 talk-show in 1939. He wrote and directed the first modern radio-play of this station in 1942. When India became independent in 1947, the AIR network had only six stations (Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli); three radio stations at Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi fell in the share of Pakistan. The total number of radio sets at that time was about 275,000 in India. On 3rd 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 1st April, 1976.[5] FM broadcasting began on 23rd July, 1977 in Chennai, and expanded during the 1990s.[6]

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 to "Diverse Indian", and it is also known as the Commercial Broadcasting Service or CBS. It is the commercially 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 and comedy. It operates on different medium wave-band frequencies for each city.

Some programs broadcast on Vividh Bharati are:

Other services

  • Primary Channel[7]
  • National Channel[8]

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).[9] All frequencies are in kHz, unless otherwise noted.

Northern regional service
Delhi C (Vividh Bharti) (विविध भारती)1368Delhi D (Yuv-vani) (युव वाणी)1017Delhi (National Channel)1215
Jaipur A1476Jalandhar A837Jalandhar B702
Jammu A990Jodhpur A531Kalpa (Kinnaur)1584
Kargil A684Kargil B1584Khalsi1485
Lucknow A747Lucknow C1278Mathura1584
budgam1116budgamA1224srinagar C918
Varanasi A1242Sawai Madhopur101.5Raebareli102.8
Northeast regional service
Agartala1269Guwahati A729
Eastern regional service
Bhagalpur1458, 1206Chinsurah (Kolkata A, 1 MW)594 & 1134 Akashvani Maitree
Cuttack A972Darbhanga1296
Jamshedpur1544Kolkata A657
Kolkata B1008Kolkata C (Vividh Bharati)1323
Patna A621Ranchi A549
Muzaffarpur A100.1 MHzMuzaffarpur B106.4 MHz
Kolkata (FM Rainbow)107Kolkata (FM Gold)100.2
Kurseong 1440KHz Siliguri 711 Khz
Western regional service
Ahmedabad A846Aurangabad1521
Bhopal A1593Chhindwara102.2 MHz
Indore A648Jalgaon963
Mumbai A1044Mumbai B (Asmita Marathi Programme)558
Mumbai C (Vividh Bharati)1188Nagpur A585
Nagpur B (National Channel, 1 MW)1566Panaji A1287
Panaji B (Vividh Bharati)828Pune A792
Rajkot A810Ratnagiri1143
Parbhani A102.0

External services

The external services of All India Radio are broadcast in twenty seven 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 8¼ hours of programming each day aimed at a general international audience. The external broadcasts were begun on 1st October, 1939 by the British government to counter the propaganda of the Nazis directed at the Afghan people. The first broadcasts were in Pushto, 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 sixteen foreign and eleven 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 KHZMW
Mumbai (Malad)1100
Nagpur (SPT)110001566 kHzMW
Panaji (HPT)2250
Rajkot (SPT)110001071 kHz AIR URDU1080 kHz(2 MegaWatt)Vividha Bharti
Tuticorin12001053  kHzMW

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

Today, the External Services Division of All India Radio broadcasts daily in fifty seven transmissions with almost seventy two hours covering over 108 countries in 27 languages, out of which fifteen are foreign and twelve 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, Kokani, 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 and on short- and medium wave for 12¼ hrs. The English-language General Overseas Service are broadcast 8¼ hours daily. During Hajj, there are special broadcasts beamed to Saudi Arabia in Urdu. AIR is planning to produce programmes in the Baluchi language, sources claim.[10] The external services of AIR are also broadcast to Europe in DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) on 9950 kHz between 1745-2230 UTC.

The 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 mediumwave. Soon All India Radio Amritsar will start a booster service on FM band too. Some of these transmitters are 1000 kW (1 MW) or 500 kW. Programs are beamed to different parts of the world except the Americas and received in very good Reception Quality 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 service (DTH)

Direct-to-home service is a satellite television service in which a large number of television channels are digitally compressed, encrypted, up linked, and beamed down over a territory from a high-power satellite. The DTH signals can be received directly at homes using a small-sized dish receiver unit containing a dish antenna installed on the building’s rooftop or on a wall facing clear south and one indoor.[11] DTH service is offered on twenty one channels via Insat.

DTH Channels List

Other services

Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM)

Details of the transmissions and frequencies are as follows:

  • 0130 - 0230 UTC on 11715 kHz Nepali (Nepal)
  • 0315-0415 UTC on 15185 kHz Hindi, (E.Africa, Mauritius)
  • 0415-0430 UTC on 15185 kHz Gujarati, (E.Africa, Mauritius)
  • 0430-0530 UTC on 15185 kHz Hindi(E.Africa, Mauritius)
  • 1300 - 1500 UTC on 15050 kHz Sinhala (Sri Lanka)
  • 1615-1715 UTC on 15140 kHz Russian (E. Europe)
  • 2245-0045 UTC on 11645 GOS-I English (NE Asia)

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

  • 0900-1200 on 6100 Vividh Bharati, DRM NVIS
  • 1745-1945 UTC on 9950 English (W. Europe)
  • 1945-2045 UTC on 9950 Hindi (W. Europe)
  • 2045-2230 UTC on 9950 English (W. Europe)

News-on-phone service

All India Radio launched news-on-phone service on 25th February, 1998 in New Delhi; it now has service in Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna and Bangalore. The service is accessible through STD, ISD and local calls. There are plans to establish the service in eleven more cities: Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Guwahati, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ranchi, Shimla and Thiruvananthapuram. English and Hindi hourly news bulletins may be heard live.[12] 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 documentary features on AIR. There is great interest in radio documentaries, particularly in countries like India, Iran, South Korea and Malaysia. The doyen of English Features was Melville De Mellow and of Hindi Features was Shiv Sagar Mishra. This format has been revived because of its flexibility, cost-cutting capacity, messaging potential and creative potential with producers employed with AIR, all across the nation.

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


  1. "Mission Of AIR".
  2. 1 2 "Milestones of AIR (official website)". All India Radio. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  3. "Default". Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  4. "Mysore Akashavani is now 75 years old". Business Standard.
  5. "AIR Manual, Chapter 1: History of All India Radio" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 September 2010.
  6. "Milestones of AIR". All India Radio. Archived from the original on 12 June 2010.
  7. "Primary Channel Services". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  8. "National Channel". Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  9. "All India Radio". Know India. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  10. IANS (31 August 2016). "All India Radio to revamp Baluchi language programme" via Business Standard.
  11. "DD Free Dish (DTH)". Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  12. "Prasar Bharati". Retrieved 17 October 2011.
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