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 towards 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.
Today, The External Services Division of All India Radio ranks high amongst the overseas Radio networks of the world, both in reach and range, by originating 55 transmissions daily of almost 72 hours covering over 100 countries in 27 languages, 15 foreign and 12 Indian.
The foreign languages are Arabic, Baluchi, Burmese, Chinese, Dari, French, Indonesian, Persian, Pushtu, Russian, Sinhala, Swahili, Thai, Tibetan and English (GOS).
The Indian languages are Bengali,Nepali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Seraiki, Sindhi, Tamil, Telegu and Urdu. The five major services are Urdu (12hrs.15 mts.), GOS/English (8hrs. 15 mts), Hindi (5hrs.15 mts), Bengali (6hrs.30mts.), and Tamil (5 hrs. 30mts).
Click here to visit ESD website.
AIR runs FM Rainbow and FM Gold Channels.There are 25 FM Rainbow channels and 5 FM Gold channels originating from 23 cities.
AIR launched FM Rainbow channel on 1st February 1993 when radio listening was on decline especially in big cities. Noise free FM transmission effectively captured its audience especially youth.
The announcer was replaced by Radio Jockey and primarily Film music based entertainment with a fast-paced and informal presentation style gained popularity with the new listener profile. The programme content of FM Rainbow is mainly popular Indian and Western music, presented in a vivacious and contemporary style and highly popular with the urban youth which commands impressive listening and pride of place amidst the mosaic of channels.
FM Gold Channel which came on air on 1st Sept. 2001 provides round the clock service and presents popular film music in its distinctive style, while keeping its listeners updated with current affairs and News on the hour.Vividh Bharati Service
The popular Vividh Bharati Service of All India Radio was conceptualized in 1957 to meet the competition offered by Radio Ceylon. It established itself as a popular channel in the country. Today the service provides entertainment for 15 to 17 hours from its 41 centres , with a mix of music and film-based content,skits, short plays and interactive programmes. The Vividh Bharati service is webstreamed and is also available on the FM transmitter network for wide access. Some popular programmes of Vividh Bharati are 'SANGEET SARITA', 'BHULE BISRE GEET', 'HAWA MAHAL', 'JAIMALA', 'INSE MILIYE' and 'CHHAYA GEET'.“Pitara” is a very popular variety programme on Vividh Bharati Service broadcast daily from 1600 Hrs to 1700 Hrs.Archive Services
AIR preserves the cultural and intellectual wealth of the country in its Archive - recordings of eminent musicians, men and women of letters, political figures, intellectuals, leaders, statesmen and luminaries in various walks of life and is an important national resource for historians, scholars, music enthusiasts and others. AIR releases rare archival recordings from time to time for public access.
AIR has made it possible for Indians to tune in Gandhiji’s famous prayer meeting addresses thereby increasing the number of Gandhiji's listeners by four or five millions overnight ! About 51 hours of these recordings can be heard today.News Service Division
The News Services Division (NSD) of All India Radio disseminates news and commentaries for listeners in India and abroad. From 27 news bulletins in 1939-40, AIR today puts out more than 510 bulletins daily for a duration of approximately 52 hours in 82 languages/dialects in the Home, Regional and External Services. 89 bulletins are broadcast daily from New Delhi in the Home Service in English, Hindi and other Indian languages. The 44 Regional News Units (RNUs) puts out 355 daily news bulletins in 67 languages.
The News Services Division also mounts daily, a number of news-based programmes on topical subjects from New Delhi and its Regional News Units.Technical Services
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.
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).