External Services Division
All India Radio entered the realm of external broadcasting shortly after the outbreak of II world War on 1st October, 1939-when it started a service in Pushtu for listeners across- what was then the country's North West Frontier.The service was designated to counter radio propoganda from Germany, directed to Afghanistan, Iran and Arab countries.With the end of the war, the Victorious and Allies lost interest in continung with the propoganda warfare and the equipment was presented to AIR, which took over its active control.The need of continuing certain services was assessed and the number of services was rearranged.
Today, The External Services Division of All India Radio ranks high amongst the External Radio networks of the world, both in reach and range, daily in 55 transmissions with almost 72 hours covering over 100 countries in 27 languages, out of which 16 are foreign and 11 are Indian.
The foreign languages are Arabic, Baluchi, Burmese, Chinese, Dari, French, Indonesian, Nepali, Persian, Pushtu, Russian, Sinhala, Swahili, Thai, Tibetan and English (GOS).
The Indian languages are Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Seraiki, Sindhi, Tamil, Telegu and Urdu. It has five major services namely, Urdu (12hrs.15 mts.), GOS/English (8hrs. 15 mts), Hindi (5hrs.15 mts), Bengali (6hrs.30mts.), anmd Tamil (5 hrs. 30mts)Urdu service is also available 24x7m DTH
FM service of AIR has two channels? FM Rainbow and FM Gold? There are 12 FM Rainbow channels and 4 FM Gold Channels? The programme content of these channels is mainly popular Indian and Western music, compered in a vivacious and contemporary style and therefore highly popular with the urban youth? News bulletins and current affairs programmes are also broadcast from these channels
News Service Division
All India Radio now under Prasar Bharati has the distinction of being one of the major broadcasting organizations in the world. The News Services Division (NSD) of All India Radio disseminates news and comments to listeners in India and abroad. From 27 news bulletins in 1939-40, AIR today puts more than 510 bulletins daily around 52 hours in 82 languages/dialects in the Home, Regional and External Services.
Out of these, 89 bulletins are broadcast daily from Delhi in the Home Service in English, Hindi and other Indian languages. The 44 Regional News Units (RNUs) putout 355 daily news bulletins in 67 languages. This includes news bulletins mounted exclusively on FM ‘Gold’ channel from 22 AIR Stations.
In addition to the daily news bulletins, the News Services Division also mounts everyday a number of news-based programmes on topical subjects from Delhi and some other Regional News Units.
Vividh Bharati and Commercial Service
The popular Vividh Bharati Service of All India Radio was conceptualized to combat 'Radio Ceylon' in 1957. Within no time it proved to be a popular channel of every household. The service provides entertainment for nearly 15 to 17 hours a day. It presents a mix of film music, skits, short plays and interactive programmes, Some of the old popular programmes of Vividh Bharati are 'SANGEET SARITA', 'BHULE BISRE GEET', 'HAWA MAHAL', 'JAIMALA', 'INSE MILIYE', 'CHHAYA GEET' ETC., are still distinctly recongnised by the listeners. From time to time new programmes were introduced like 'BISCOPE KE BATEIN', 'SARGAM KE SITARE', 'CELLULOID KE SITARE', 'SEHATNAMA', & 'HELLO FARMAISH'.
"Meri awaz suno...", AIR has offered a debut ground for artists like Bade Ghulam Ali, Begum Akhtar and other greats through the medium of Archives, a national heritage of All India Radio featuring the nation's development from the hard life of freedom struggle to the present day.
In its womb it preserves the cultural and intellectual wealth of the country : recordings of eminent musicians, men and women of letters, political figures, intellectuals, leaders, statesmen etc. Needless to say that the Archives are an important national resource for historians, scholars, music enthusiasts etc. Recordings both on CDs and cassettes have been developed for the masses at large to let the national feeling sprout among them.
AIR made it possible for all Indians to tune in his famous prayer meeting addresses increasing the number of Gandhiji's listeners by four or five millions overnight ! About 51 hours of these recordings can be heard today.
Nothing defines the technical success of All India Radio as well as the itinerant banjara (nomad) with the trusty transistor, blaring news and 'geet' (song) alongwith dust and heat! Wherever the banjaras travel, AIR follows them in their trail, via auxiliary broadcasting centres.
Technical services are the backbone of the AIR network. All India Radio plans, designs, installs, operates and maintains its studios, transmitters and allied technical services through in-house expertise.
Sh.H.R.Singh, E-in-C, is the overall Head of all engineering operations in the entire AIR network. He is the Chief Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in matters relating to sound broadcasting. His headquarter is at Akashvani Bhavan, Parliament Street, New Delhi 110001 (India). He can be approached through e-mail at: email@example.com