UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Jun 08

08 June 1936

All India Radio was launched


What happened?

The Indian State Broadcasting Service was renamed “All India Radio” and officially launched on 8th June 1936.

All India Radio

  • The All India Radio (AIR), a division of Prasar Bharati is the national public radio broadcasting service of India.
  • Officially known as Akashvani since 1956, it is the world’s second-largest radio network. As per the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, AIR has covered over 99% of the population of the country. It is headquartered in New Delhi and is Doordarshan’s sister service under Prasar Bharati.
  • Its motto is “Bahujanahitaya Bahujanasukhaya” (for the happiness and welfare of all).
  • The beginnings of AIR can be traced back to the 20s. The first radio broadcasts were done by the Radio Clubs of Bombay and Calcutta in 1923.
  • The Madras Presidency Radio Club was started in 1924. In June 1927, the Viceroy of India Lord Irwin inaugurated the Indian Broadcast Company (IBC).
  • However, IBC was liquidated in 1930. The same year, the Department of Industries and Labour started the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) on a trial basis.
  • In 1935, Lionel Fielden was appointed India’s ‘Controller of Broadcast’.
  • Meanwhile, in Mysore, a private radio station Akashvani Mysore was set up by a professor of Psychology, M. V. Gopalaswamy at his home.
  • The ISBS broadcasted its first news bulletin on January 19th
  • On June 8th, 1936, the ISBS changed its name to All India Radio.
  • Until 1947, the AIR was under various departments like the department of communication, the department of information and arts, and the department of information and broadcasting.
  • External service began in 1939 with a broadcast in the Pashto language. At the time of independence, there were six radio stations in India namely Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, Lucknow and Tiruchirapalli. There were three in Pakistan. In India, there were about 275000 radio sets at that time.
  • Over the years, the AIR started news bulletins, music programmes and plays. This was the only source of popular entertainment in India for many years.
  • In 1957, the Vividh Bharati radio channel was launched to compete with Radio Ceylon.
  • In 1976, Doordarshan split from AIR.
  • In 1977, FM broadcasting started from Chennai. This was expanded during the nineties.
  • There are many regional services today that broadcasts programmes in several Indian languages. A national channel was introduced in 1988.
  • Service to the northeast was started in 1989.
  • AIR commissioned its 100th station in 1990 at Warangal in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Three years later, its 150th station was commissioned in Berhampur in Odisha.
  • In 1994, private players are given time slots on the FM channels.
  • In 1999, AIR started a daily service in Malayalam for the Gulf region. In 2002, the first digital satellite home service was started to serve the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
  • In 2004, the DTH service of Doordarshan and AIR was started.
  • In 2008, an FM transmitter was commissioned at Leh, Ladakh.
  • In 2012, Bangladesh recognised the role played by AIR during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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