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All India Radio

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Headquarters at Sansad Marg, New Delhi
TypeGovernment Organisation
Broadcast area
HeadquartersAkashvani Bhavan
Sansad Marg, New Delhi – 110001, Delhi, India
MottoBahujanahitāya Bahujanasukhāya[1]
For the benefit of many people and the happiness of many people
OwnerPrasar Bharati
ParentGovernment of India
Key people
Mousumi Chakraborty, Director General
Launch date8 June 1936; 88 years ago (1936-06-08) (as All India Radio)
AIR 5 May 2023; 13 months ago (2023-05-05) (as Akashvani)
WebsiteAll India Radio, News on AIR

All India Radio (AIR), also known as Akashvani or Akashbani (lit.'Voice from the sky'), is an Indian state-owned public radio broadcaster founded by the Government of India, owned by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and one of Prasar Bharati's two divisions. It was established in 1936.[2] It is the sister service of Prasar Bharati's Doordarshan, an Indian television broadcaster.[3] Headquartered in the Akashvani Bhavan building in New Delhi, it houses the Drama Section, the FM Section, and the National Service, and is also home to the Indian television station Doordarshan Kendra, (Delhi).

In terms of the number of languages transmitted, the range of socioeconomic variety it serves, and the size of its broadcasting organisation, Akashvani is the largest radio network in the world. AIR's home service comprises 420 stations located across the country, reaching nearly 92% of the country's area and 99.19% of the total population, and has programming in 23 languages and 179 dialects.[4]

A stamp on Akashvani Silver Jubilee.


Ākāśavāṇī is a Sanskrit word meaning 'celestial announcement' or 'voice from the sky/heaven'. In Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, Ākāśavāṇīs are often featured in stories as a medium of communication from heaven to mankind.

When the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) was renamed All India Radio, Rabindranath Tagore rechristened it as Akashvani, the voice that comes over from the skies, through a poem penned for the inauguration of Kolkata's shortwave service.[5][6]

Ākāśavāṇī was also used in the context of radio by M. V. Gopalaswami in 1936 after setting up India's first private radio station in his residence, "Vittal Vihar" (about two hundred yards from AIR's current Mysore radio station).[7] Akashvani was later given as All India Radio's on-air name in 1957; given its literal meaning in Sanskrit, it was believed to be a more than suitable name for a broadcaster. The name Akashwani was suggested by the poet Pandit Narendra Sharma.


During the British Raj[edit]

Broadcasting began in June 1923 during the British Raj with programmes by the Bombay Presidency Radio Club and other radio clubs. According to an agreement on 23 July 1927, the private Indian Broadcasting Company Ltd (IBC) was authorized to operate two radio stations: the Mumbai station which began on 23 July 1927, and the Kolkata station which followed on 26 August 1927. The company went into liquidation on 1 March 1930. The government took over the broadcasting facilities and began the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) on 1 April 1930 on an experimental basis for two years, and permanently in May 1932 it then went on to become All India Radio on 8 June 1936.[2]

Distant photo of building complex with tower
AIR headquarters in New Delhi
Old Akashvani Bhawan on Sansad Marg

On 1 October 1939, the External Service began with a broadcast in Pashto. It was intended to counter radio propaganda from Germany directed at Afghanistan, Iran, and Arab nations. The year 1939 also saw the opening of the Dhaka station of Eastern India, in what is now Bangladesh. This station catered to and nurtured the pioneers of Bengali intellectuals. The foremost among them, Natyaguru Nurul Momen, became the trailblazer of the talk show in 1939. He wrote and directed the first modern radio play for this station in 1942.

In December 1940, The Standing Committee of the Finance had sanctioned a sum of Rupees 9,30,000 for the establishment of new Headquarters of All India Radio in Delhi.[8] The new “Broadcasting House” of AIR at Parliament Street of New Delhi was inaugurated in February 1943. [9] In 1956, AIR was renamed as “Akashvani”, and AIR Headquarters were renamed as “Akashvani Bhawan”. [10]

After Independence[edit]

When India became independent in 1947, the AIR network had only six stations (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli). The three radio stations in Lahore, Peshawar and Dhaka remained in what became Pakistan after the division. The total number of radio sets in India at that time was about 2,75,000.

In August 1947, All India Radio hired its first female newsreader, Saeeda Bano, who read the news in Urdu.[11]

On 3 October 1957, the Vividh Bharati Service was launched, to compete with Radio Ceylon. Television broadcasting began in Delhi in 1959 as part of AIR, but was split off from the radio network as Doordarshan on 1 April 1976.[12] FM broadcasting began on 23 July 1977 in Chennai, and expanded during the 1990s.[13]

Deccan Radio (Nizam Radio 1932), the first radio station in Hyderabad State (now Hyderabad), went live on air on 3 February 1935. It was launched by Mir Osman Ali Khan the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad with a transmitting power of 200 Watts. On 1 April 1950, Deccan Radio was taken over by the Indian Government, and in 1956 it was merged with All India Radio (AIR). Since then, it has been known as AIR-Hyderabad (100 kW).[14]

Radio Television License

Domestic services[edit]

AIR has many services in a number of languages, each serving different regions across India.

Vividh Bharati[edit]

Vividh Bharati began in 1957 and is one of the best-known services of All India Radio. Its name roughly translates as "Diverse Indian". It is also known as the Commercial Broadcasting Service or CBS. Commercially, it is the most accessible AIR network and is popular in Mumbai and other large cities. Vividh Bharati offers a wide range of programmes including news, film music, short plays, music and comedy. It operates on different mediumwave as well as FM frequencies in each city.

Some programmes broadcast on Vividh Bharati are:

  • Hawa-mahal: Radio drama based on novels and plays
  • Santogen ki mehfil: Comedy
  • Aaj ke fankar: Description of life and works of a film artist
  • Chhayageet: Songs of announcer's choice with impeccable scripting

Central Sales Unit[edit]

The Central Sales Unit (CSU), located in Mumbai, handles commercial aspects of AIR. [15]

Other services[edit]

  • Primary Channel[16]
  • National Channel[17]

Regional services[edit]

The headquarters of the Regional Deputy Directors General are located in Delhi and Chandigarh (NR), Lucknow and Bhopal (CR), Guwahati (NER), Kolkata (ER), Mumbai and Ahmedabad (WR), Chennai and Bangalore (SR).[18] All frequencies are in kHz, unless otherwise noted. Most of the channels are also available online.

Northern regional service
City Frequency City Frequency City Frequency
Agra 1530 Ajmer 603 Allahabad 1026
Almora 999 Barmer 1458 Bikaner 1395
Chairhara (Budgam) 1485 Delhi A 819 Delhi B 666
Delhi C (Vividh Bharti) 1368 Delhi D (Yuv-vani) 1017 Delhi (National Channel) 1215
Diskit 1602 Faizabad 1485 Gorakhpur 909
Jaipur A 1476 Jalandhar A 873 Jalandhar B 702
Jammu A 990 Jodhpur A 531 Kalpa (Kinnaur) 1584
Kargil A 684 Kargil B 1584 Khalsi 1485
Kota 1413 Kupwara 1350 Leh 1053
Lucknow A 747 Lucknow C 1278 Mathura 1584
Najibabad 954 Naushera 1089 Nyoma 1485
Padam 1584 Pauri 1602 Pithoragarh 1602
Rampur 891 Rohtak FM 103.5 MHz Shimla 774
Budgam 1116 Budgam A 1224 Srinagar C 918
Tiesuru 1602 Udaipur 1125 Uttarkashi 1602
Varanasi A 1242 Sawai Madhopur FM 101.5 MHz Raebareli FM 102.8 MHz
Northeast regional service
City Frequency City Frequency
Agartala 1269 Guwahati A 729
Shillong 864 Imphal 882
Eastern regional service
City Frequency City Frequency
Bhagalpur 1458, 1206 Chinsurah ((Akashvani Maitree), 1 MegaWatt Transmitter Capacity) 594 & 1134
Cuttack A 972 Darbhanga 1296
Jamshedpur 1584 Gitanjali (Kolkata A)(200 KW Transmitter Capacity) 657
Sanchayita (Kolkata B)(100 KW Transmitter Capacity) 1008 Kolkata C (Vividh Bharati) 1323 kHz Medium Wave as well as 101.8 MHZ FM
Patna A 621 Ranchi A 549
Muzaffarpur A FM 100.1 MHz Muzaffarpur B FM 106.4 MHz
Kolkata (FM Rainbow) (20 KW Transmitter Capacity) FM 107.0 MHz Kolkata (FM Gold)(20 KW Transmitter Capacity) FM 100.2 MHz
Kurseong 1440 kHz as well as FM 102.3 MHZ (5 KW Transmitter Capacity) Siliguri 711 kHz (200 KW DRM Transmitter Capacity)
Santiniketan (Bolpur) FM 103.1 MHz (3 KW Transmitter Capacity) Murshidabad (6 KW Transmitter Capacity) FM 102.2 MHz
Western regional service
City Frequency City Frequency
Ahmedabad A 846 Aurangabad 1521
Bhopal A 1593 Chhindwara FM 102.2 MHz
Chhatarpur 675 Gwalior 1386
Indore A 648 Jabalpur A 801
Mumbai A 1044 Mumbai B (Asmita Marathi) 558
Mumbai C (Vividh Bharati) 1188 Nagpur A 585
Nagpur B (National Channel, 1 MW) 1566 Panaji A 1287
Panaji B (Vividh Bharati) 828 Pune A 792
Rajkot A 810 Ratnagiri 1143
Solapur 1602 Sangli 1251
Parbhani A FM 102.0 MHz Jabalpur Vividh Bharati 102.9
Mysore FM 100.6 MHz Jalgaon 963
Southern regional service
City Frequency City Frequency
Bangalore 612 kHz Bengaluru (Vividha Bharati) 102.9 MHz
Bangalore (Rainbow FM) 101.3 MHz Bhadravati 675 kHz
Dharwad 765 kHz Dharwad FM 103.0 MHz
Hassan 1107 kHZ Kalburagi 1107 kHz
Mangaluru 1089 kHz Mangalore FM 100.3 MHz
Madikeri FM 103.1 MHz Sringeri FM 101 MHz
Hyderabad 738 kHz Hyderabad (FM Rainbow) 101.9 MHz
Hyderabad (Vivida Bharati) 102.8 MHz Warangal 103.5 MHz
Vijayawada 103.4 MHz


External services[edit]

The external services of All India Radio are broadcast in 27 languages to countries outside India via high-power shortwave radio broadcasts. Mediumwave is also used to reach neighbouring countries. In addition to broadcasts targeted at specific countries by language, there is a General Overseas Service broadcasting in English with 8+14 hours of programming each day aimed at a general international audience. The external broadcasts began on 1 October 1939 by the British government to counter the propaganda of the Nazis directed at the Afghan people. The first broadcasts were in Pashto, beamed to Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier Province. Broadcasts soon began in other languages including Dari, Persian, Arabic, English, Burmese, Japanese, Chinese, Malay and French. The external services broadcast in 16 foreign and 11 Indian languages, with a total programme output of 70¼ hours per day on medium and shortwave frequencies.

External service transmitter sites
Location Number of transmitters kW Frequency DRM !
Aligarh (HPT) 4 250
Bengaluru (SPT) 6 500 100 kW
Chennai (Madras) 1 100 720 kHz MW
Gorakhpur 1 50
Guwahati 1 50
Jalandhar (Goraya) 1 300 702 kHz MW
Khampur-Delhi (HPT) 7 250
Khampur-Delhi (SPT) 2 500
Kingsway-Delhi 3 50
Kingsway-Delhi 2 100
Kolkata-Chinsurah/Mogra (SPT) 1 1000 1134 kHz and 594 kHz (Kolkata – A) 1142 kHz MW
Mumbai (Malad) 1 100
Nagpur (SPT) 1 1000 1566 kHz MW
Panaji (HPT) 2 250
Rajkot (SPT) 1 1000 1071 kHz AIR URDU 1080 kHz (2 MW) Vividha Bharti
Tuticorin 1 200 1053  kHz MW

Two high powered FM stations of All India Radio are being installed in Amritsar and Fazilka in the Punjab to supplement the programmes broadcast from transmitters operating from Jalandhar, New Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai, and to improve the broadcast services during unfavourable weather conditions in the border regions of Punjab.

Today, the External Services Division of All India Radio broadcasts daily with 57 transmissions with almost 72 hours or programming covering over 108 countries in 27 languages, of which 15 are foreign and 12 are Indian. The foreign languages are Arabic, Baluchi, Burmese, Chinese, Dari, French, Indonesian, Persian, Pushtu, Russian, Sinhala, Swahili, Thai, Tibetan, and English (General Overseas Service). The Indian languages are Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Konkani, Kashmiri, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Nepali, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.

The longest daily broadcast is the Urdu Service to Pakistan, around the clock on DTH (direct-broadcast satellite) and on short- and medium wave for 1214 hrs. The English-language General Overseas Service is broadcast 814 hours daily. During Hajj, there are special broadcasts beamed to Saudi Arabia in Urdu. AIR is planning to produce programmes in the Balochi language.[20]

The external services of AIR are also broadcast to Europe in DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) on 9950 kHz between 17:45 and 22:30 UTC. These external transmissions are broadcast by high-power transmitters located in Aligarh, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Gorakhpur, Guwahati, Mumbai, and Panaji on shortwave and from Jalandhar, Kolkata, Nagpur, Rajkot, and Tuticorin on mediumwave. All India Radio Amritsar plans to start a booster service on the FM band. Some of these transmitters are 1000 kW (1 MW) or 500 kW. Programmes are beamed to different parts of the world, except for the Americas, and the reception quality is very good in the target areas. In each language service, the programme consists of news, commentary, a press review, talks on matters of general or cultural interest, feature programmes, documentaries, and music from India and the target region. Most programmes originate at New Broadcasting House on Parliament Street in New Delhi, with a few originating at SPT Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jalandhar, Kolkata, HPT Malad Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram, and Tuticorin.

The External Services Division of AIR is a link between India and rest of the world, especially in countries with Indian emigrants and Indian diaspora. It broadcasts the Indian point of view on matters of national and international importance, and demonstrates the Indian way of life through its programs. QSL cards (which are sought-after by international radio hobbyists) are issued to radio hobbyists by AIR in New Delhi for reception reports of their broadcasts.


Direct-to-home (DTH) service is a satellite broadcast service in which a large number of radio channels are digitally beamed down over a territory from a high-power satellite. AIR broadcasts various national and regional stations available to listen on DD Free Dish. The DTH signals can be received directly at homes using a small-sized dish receiver unit containing a dish antenna installed on a building's rooftop or on a wall facing clear south and one indoors.[21] DTH service is offered on twenty one channels via Insat.

List of DTH channels[edit]


  • Vividh Bharati – Hindi music radio
  • AIR FM Rainbow India – Hindi & English music radio
  • AIR FM Gold Delhi – Hindi classical music & news Radio
  • AIR Live News 24×7 – Hindi & English news radio
  • AIR Urdu – Urdu entertainment radio
  • AIR Hindi – Hindi entertainment radio
  • Raagam – Indian classical music radio
  • Gyan Vani – Hindi & English educational radio
  • Akashvani Aradhana – Hindi devotional radio


Online services[edit]

  • AIR Live News
  • AIR Najibabad
  • Vividh Bharati
  • FM Gold Delhi
  • FM Rainbow Delhi
  • AIR Urdu
  • Raagam
  • AIR Gujarati
  • AIR Marathi
  • AIR Punjabi
  • AIR Malayalam
  • AIR Tamil
  • AIR Telugu
  • AIR Kannada
  • AIR Bangla
  • AIR Jammu
  • AIR Odia
  • AIR Assamese
  • AIR North East
  • FM Tragopan Kohima
  • FM Rainbow Goa
  • AIR Shimla
  • AIR Bhuj
  • AIR Indore
  • AIR Mysuru
  • AIR Jodhpur
  • Amrutvarshini
  • Vividh Bharati Bengaluru
  • FM Rainbow Kannada Kaamaanbilu
  • AIR Bengaluru
  • Sun City FM Jodhpur
  • AIR Pune
  • AIR Rohtak
  • FM Rainbow Lucknow
  • AIR Jabalpur
  • AIR Bhopal
  • FM Rainbow Mumbai
  • FM Gold Mumbai
  • Samvadita Mumbai
  • AIR Aadilabad
  • AIR Jaipur
  • AIR Varanasi
  • AIR Raipur
  • AIR Sangli
  • AIR Rajkot
  • AIR Nagpur
  • AIR Prayagraj
  • AIR Patna
  • AIR Patiala
  • AIR Mhadei Panaji
  • AIR Gorakhpur
  • AIR Hassan
  • AIR Dehradun
  • AIR Solapur
  • AIR Kota
  • AIR Madurai
  • AIR Kolhapur
  • AIR Suratgarh
  • FM Rainbow Visakhapatnam
  • AIR Kurnool
  • AIR Bikaner
  • AIR Kochi
  • AIR Calicut
  • AIR Mathura
  • AIR Agra
  • FM Rainbow Vijayawada
  • AIR Vijayawada
  • AIR Kannur
  • FM Ananthapuri
  • AIR Lucknow
  • AIR Mount Abu
  • AIR Dharwad
  • AIR Chandigarh
  • AIR Chitradurga
  • AIR Manjeri
  • AIR Aurangabad
  • AIR Surat
  • AIR Tirupati
  • AIR Kodaikanal
  • AIR Alwar

Other services[edit]

Digital Radio Mondiale[edit]

Details of the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) transmissions and frequencies are as follows:

  • 01:30–02:30 UTC on 11715 kHz Nepali (Nepal)
  • 03:15–04:15 UTC on 15185 kHz Hindi (East Africa, Mauritius)
  • 04:15–04:30 UTC on 15185 kHz Gujarati (East Africa, Mauritius)
  • 04:30–05:30 UTC on 15185 kHz Hindi (East Africa, Mauritius)
  • 13:00–15:00 UTC on 15050 kHz Sinhala (Sri Lanka)
  • 16:15–17:15 UTC on 15140 kHz Russian (Eastern Europe)
  • 22:45–00:45 UTC on 11645 GOS-I English (Northeast Asia)
  • 09:00–11:00 UTC on 6100 kHz Vividh Bharati, DRM NVIS
  • 17:45–19:65 UTC on 9950 kHz English (Western Europe)
  • 19:45–20:45 UTC on 9950 kHz Hindi (Western Europe)
  • 20:45–26:30 UTC on 9950 kHz English (Western Europe)


the All India Radio launched news-on-phone service on 25 February 1998 in New Delhi; it now has service in Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, and Bangalore. The service is accessible through subscriber trunk dialling (STD), international direct dialing (ISD), and local calls. There are plans to establish the service in 11 additional cities including: Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Guwahati, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ranchi, and Shimla. English and Hindi hourly news bulletins may be heard live.[22] News in MP3 format may be directly played from the site, and filenames are time-stamped. AIR news bulletins are available in nine regional languages: Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, North East, Punjabi, Telugu, and Urdu.


There is a long tradition of broadcasting documentary features on AIR. There is great interest in radio documentaries, particularly in countries like India, Iran, South Korea, and Malaysia. The most prominent broadcaster of English Features was Melville de Mellow, and of Hindi Features, Shiv Sagar Mishra. This format has been revived by AIR producers across India because of its flexibility, its relative low cost to produce, its messaging potential, and its creative potential.

Central Drama Unit[edit]

AIR's Central Drama Unit (CDU) is responsible for the national broadcast of plays. Plays produced by the CDU are translated and produced by regional stations. Since its inception in the 1960s, the unit has produced more than 1,500 plays, and the CDU houses a repository of old scripts and productions. The National Programme of Plays is broadcast by the CDU on the fourth Thursday of each month at 9:30 pm. Each play included in the National Programme of Plays is produced in 22 Indian languages and broadcast at the same time by all regional and national network stations. The CDU also produces Chain Plays, half-hour dramas broadcast in succession by a chain of stations.

Social Media Cell[edit]

The News Service Division's Social Media Cell was established on 20 May 2013 and is responsible for providing AIR news on new media platforms such as websites, Twitter, Facebook, and SMS.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mission of AIR". allindiaradio.gov.in. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Milestones of AIR (official website)". All India Radio. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  3. ^ Home page: All India Radio prasarbharati.gov.in. Retrieved 4 September 2021
  4. ^ "AIR Home". prasarbharati.gov.in. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  5. ^ "Riding the waves, a shared history". Indian Express.
  6. ^ Chandrika Kaul (2014). 'Invisible Empire Tie': Broadcasting and the British Raj in the Interwar Years. pp. 123–171. doi:10.1057/9781137445964_4. ISBN 978-1-137-44596-4.
  7. ^ "Mysore Akashavani is now 75 years old". Business Standard.
  8. ^ "New Broadcasting House in Delhi". The Indian Express. 18 December 1940. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  9. ^ Baruah, UL (2017). This is All India Radio. New Delhi: Publications Division Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. ISBN 9788123025780. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  10. ^ "1956 : AIR becomes Akashvani". Frontline. The Hindu Group. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  11. ^ Najib, Rihan (23 November 2020). "To end the news, the headlines again: The life and times of Saeeda Bano". @businessline. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  12. ^ "AIR Manual, Chapter 1: History of All India Radio" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 September 2010. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "Milestones of AIR". All India Radio. Archived from the original on 12 June 2010.
  14. ^ "The Long and Interesting Story of All India Radio, Hyderabad–Part 2". Wavescan-NWS78. 15 August 2010.
  15. ^ "Get Apps | Prasar Bharati".
  16. ^ "Primary Channel Services". allindiaradio.gov.in. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  17. ^ "National Channel". Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  18. ^ "All India Radio". Know India. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  19. ^ "Annual Report 2018-2019, page 193" (PDF). Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  20. ^ IANS (31 August 2016). "All India Radio to revamp Baluchi language programme". Business Standard.
  21. ^ "DD Free Dish (DTH)". ddindia.gov.in. Archived from the original on 19 July 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  22. ^ "Prasar Bharati". Archived from the original on 21 June 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2011.

External links[edit]