Sound broadcasting started in India in 1927 with the proliferation of private radio clubs. The operations of All India Radio began formally in 1936, as a government organisation, with clear objectives to inform, educate and entertain the masses.
When India attained Independence in 1947, AIR had a network of six stations and a complement of 18 transmitters. The coverage was 2.5% of the area and just 11% of the population. Rapid expansion of the network took place post Independence.
AIR today has a network of 229 broadcasting centres with 148 medium frequency (MW), 54 high frequency (SW) and 168 FM transmitters. The coverage is 91.79% of the area, serving 99.14% of the people in the largest democracy of the world. AIR covers 24 Languages and 146 dialects in home services. In Externel services, it covers 27 languages; 17 national and 10 foreign languages.