Overview, history, development and trends
The first radio programme in India was broadcast by the Radio Club of Bombay in June 1923. It was followed by the setting up of a Broadcasting Service that began broadcasting in July 1927 on an experimental basis at Bombay and Calcutta simultaneously under an agreement between the Government and a private company called the Indian Broadcasting Company Ltd.
When India became independent, the All India Radio (AIR) network had only six Radio Stations located at Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Lucknow and Tiruchirapalli with a total complement of 18 transmitters - six on the medium wave and the remaining on short wave mostly broadcasting news.
Radio listening on medium wave was confined to urban limits of these cities. As against a mere 2,75,000 receiving sets at the time of Independence, now there are about 111 million estimated radio sets in about 105 million household in the country
Now the broadcast scenario has drastically changed with 214 broadcasting centers, including 77 local radio stations, covering nearly cent-per-cent country's population.
Rapid expansion of the network took place post Independence. AIR today has a network of 214 broadcasting centres with 143 medium frequency(MW), 54 high frequency (SW) and 139 FM transmitters. The coverage is 91.37% of the area , serving 99.13% of the people in the largest democracy of the world.
All India Radio covers 24 Languages and 146 dialects in home services. In Externel services, it covers 27 languages; 17 national and 10 foreign language.
Greatly influenced by the approach and thinking of BBC, Indian broadcasting sets the trend through the years to make the newsroom free, fair and responsible.
The News Services Division (NSD) produces 112 bulletins in 17 languages which emanates from Delhi and are relayed by several AIR Stations.
In addition to these bulletins, the Regional News Units, 45 in all, located in different parts of the country, produce as many as 187 regional and 65 external news bulletins. The External News bulletins, are put out in 25 languages.
'Spotlight' in English and 'Samayiki' in Hindi, broadcast everyday, deal with topical events/issues. The Current Affairs; programme is broadcast every Sunday, in which experts, eminent academicians, legislators and politicians express their views on national and international issues across the table.
A similar programme in Hindi entitled;Charcha ka Vishai Hai; is broadcast every Wednesday. All these are produced by NSD. The composite news programmes
AIR Radio uses the services of Reuters, UNI, PTI Bhasha and other leading news agencies for news inputs. In addition, AIR has its own correspondents posted all across the country and at some locations abroad.
Round the clock News Services 'News on Phone' in English and 'Phone in Sewa' in Hindi were introduced from 25.12.1998. AIR News is also available on the Internet. The News Services Division has its own website for updating News round the clock.
The composite news programmes called Samachar Prabhat; and ;Morning News; in Hindi and English respectively, each of a duration of 15 minutes comprise a news bulletin, a commentary, and a look at the daily press in the Capital. An hour long mid day news goes on air from 2 p.m.