All India Radio (AIR) has played an important role in the growth of our country. Formed in the British era, it was the key tool in educating and informing the common man. AIR has seen our country attain independence. It has lived through crisis and even through the moments of glory. As AIR turns 80, we trace and celebrate its magnificent history.
First, let us go back in time to the year 1936.
June 8, 1936: Started as the Indian Broadcasting Company in 1927, liquidated in 1930 and brought under the Department of Industries and Labour as the Indian State Broadcasting Service(ISB); the ISB is now officiated as All India Radio (AIR).
November 1, 1959: Keeping up with the growth in television, All India Radio will in no means let its stand dither. AIR’s first television station commences in Delhi today.
November 23, 1997: Being tossed from Department of Communication to Department of Information and Broadcasting and then again to Department of Information and Arts, the Prasar Bharti Act would rather come as a relief to AIR, as it finally gets a constant roof over its head. AIR and Doordarshan will now function as a part of Prasar Bharti, which will be looked after by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
May 2, 1996 – February 25, 1998: This period has seen AIR grow over the recently developed frontiers of the Internet. AIR launched its online Information service on May 2, 1996, real-time audio over the internet and even live broadcast of news on the internet in the next two years.
As AIR walks into its 80th year, it functions with 418 stations across the country, forming the world’s largest multi-lingual public network. Its programmes are broadcasted in over 146 languages and dialects. Apart from covering 92% of the country’s area, AIR also broadcasts in 108 countries.
On 26th January, 2016, AIR launched its mobile application All India Radio Live. The application enables the user to live-stream their favourite AIR radio channels including the regional channels. Channels like AIR FM RAINBOW and AIR VIVIDH BHARTI are also available. The application is available on iOS, Android and Windows platform.
Even with increasing competition from private broadcasters, AIR has stuck to its roots of Bahujan Hitaya: Bahujan Sukhaya, meaning happiness and welfare of the masses. Reaching nearly 99.19% of the population, AIR takes great care in delivering unbiased content, promoting developmental activities, providing information, education, and entertainment, but most importantly in promoting national integration.
With 80 years, and still running strong, may AIR continue to bind our diverse country.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.