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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Evolution of AIR (All India Radio)

By Dr. MrinalChatterjee

AIR completes 80 years on June 8, 2016. On this day in 1936 the Indian State Broadcasting Service became All India Radio (AIR). From then it has been a roller coaster ride for the broadcaster which took on another name in 1956: Akashvani. Journalist turned media academician Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee remembers the day and maps the journey of AIR from its inception to the present day.

History of Radio Broadcast in India
Broadcasting in India actually began about 13 years before AIR came into existence. In June 1923 the Radio Club of Bombay made the first ever broadcast in the country. This was followed by the setting up of the Calcutta Radio Club five months later. The Indian Broadcasting Company (IBC) came into being on July 23, 1927, only to face liquidation in less than three years.

Development
In April 1930, the Indian Broadcasting Service, under the Department of Industries and Labour, commenced its operations on an experimental basis. Lionel Fielden was appointed the first Controller of Broadcasting in August 1935. On June 8, 1936, the Indian State Broadcasting Service became All India Radio. The Central News Organisation (CNO) came into existence in August, 1937. In the same year, AIR came under the Department of Communications and four years later in 1941 came under the Department of Information and Broadcasting. When India attained independence, there were six radio stations in India, at Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Tiruchirapalli and Lucknow. There were three in Pakistan (Peshawar, Lahore and Dacca). AIR then had a coverage of just 2.5 % of the area and 11% of the population. Sardar Vallavbhai Patel was the first Minister of Information and Broadcasting in independent India. The following year, CNO was split up into two divisions, the News Services Division (NSD) and the External Services Division (ESD). In 1956 the name AKASHVANI was adopted for the National Broadcaster.Many believe that the word ‘Akashvani’ has been coined from Rabindranath Tagore’s poem written on the occasion of the inauguration of the Calcutta Radio Station’s Shortwave transmission in 1938. First line of the poem was: "Uthiloakashbanidhorar angina hotay...." ("Hark to Akashvaniup-surging, From here below..) It could be true. But a radio station had been set up in the name of Akashvani in Mysore in September 1935. The name could have come from there also. The VividhBharati Service was launched in 1957 with popular film music as its main component. The immediate provocation was to counter the popularity of Radio Ceylon. It so happened that in the 1950s, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr. B.V. Keskar, put a ban on broadcast of Hindi film songs on AIR.As a result Radio Ceylon with its programmes centred round popular Hindi songs became immensely popular. It took AIR seven years to launch VividhBharti, the entertainment channel to counter Radio Ceylon.

Growth
The phenomenal growth acieved by All India Radio has made it one of the largest media organisations in the world. With a network of 415 radio stations, AIR today is accessible to almost the entire population of the country and nearly 92% of the total area. A broadcasting giant, AIR today broadcasts in 23 languages and 146 dialects catering to a vast spectrum of socio-economically and culturally diverse populace. Programmes of the External Services Division are broadcast in 11 Indian and 16 foreign languages reaching out to more than 100 countries. These external broadcasts aim to keep the overseas listeners informed about developments in the country and provide a rich fare of entertainment as well. The News Services Division, of All India Radio broadcasts 647 bulletins daily for a total duration of nearly 56 hours in about 90 Languages/Dialects in Home, Regional, External and DTH Services. 314 news headlines on hourly basis are also being mounted on FM mode from 41 AIR Stations. 44 Regional News Units originate 469 daily news bulletins in 75 languages. In addition to the daily news bulletins, the News Services Division also mounts number of news-based programmes on topical subjects from Delhi and its Regional News Units By mid-2016, besides the 415 Stations across the Country, AIR operates 18 FM stereo channels, called AIR FM Rainbow, targeting the urban audience in a refreshing style of presentation. Four more FM channels called, AIR FM Gold, broadcast composite news and entertainment programmes from Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai. With the FM wave sweeping the country, AIR is augmenting its Medium Wave transmission with additional FM transmitters at Regional stations.

Role AIR played
After independence AIR played an important role in communication, especially in the remote areas where the newspapers could not reach and/or could not be used because of the abymissaly low literacy rate. All India Radio played a significant role in social integration across the nation. AIR was used in nation building from various angles- from social integration to fighting superstitions to economic development. 

Future of AIR
AIR is on a growth surge and technology upgradation mode. In keeping with the Government decision for transition to the digital mode of transmission, AIR is switching from analog to digital in a phased manner. The technology adopted is the Digital Radio Mondiale or DRM. With the target of complete digitization by 2017, the listeners can look forward to highly enhanced transmission quality in the near future. AIR, has an advantage over private players so far news on radio is concerned. In India news is still not allowed on Private radio. AIR is playing on its advantage. In 2000, AIR ‘News on Phone’ Service was made available at 14 places i.e. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Patna, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Bangalore, Thiuvananthapuram, Imphal, Lucknow , Raipur, Guwahati, and Shimla. It has introduced news in its FM stations also. 

Future of RADIO in India
Not only AIR, Radio in general is on a growth trajectory in India. The business is growing. The number of stations is also increasing with increasingly relaxed government policy. At present there are over 250 private Radio Stations across the country operated by about 50 broadcasters. About 200 Community Radio Stations (CRS) are operating in the country. This number is likely to increase many fold as the Govt relaxes the licensing rules and promotes it actively. Radio on Internet and mobile is becoming increasingly popular than conventional mode and device of listening. Thanks to the reducing cost, and user friendly technology many players are setting up radio stations exclusively for these media. Recently Odisha State Open University is launching its Internet radio Pragynavani for its students. Being an unobtrusive and inexpensive media Radio has definite advantages over other media. Technology has accentuated those advantages leading to its resurgence.

Source and Credit :- http://orissadiary.com/ShowOriyaColumn.asp?id=67646
Forwarded by :- Shri. Jainendra Nigam PB News Desk prasarbharati.newsdesk@gmail.com

1 comment:

  1. Eighty years, still no sticks
    values, ethics, AIR but sticks
    the future, no doubt is challenging
    but good hope and culture are its burning wicks
    HAPPY GREETINGS FOR SCORING FOUR SCORE YEARS OF DELICIOUS ENTERTAINMENT AND INFORMATIVE SERVICE TO THE NATION.

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