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Akashvani (radio broadcaster)


Akashvani (radio broadcaster)

All India Radio
Type Government Organisation
Country India
Availability National
Motto Bahujan Hitaya Bahujan Sukhaya[1]
Headquarters Sansad Marg, New Delhi - 110001, India,
Owner Prasar Bharati
Launch date
Official website,
Distant photo of building complex with tower
AIR headquarters in New Delhi

All India Radio (AIR), officially known since 1956 as Ākāshvāṇī (literally, "Voice from the Sky"), is the national public radio broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati. Established in 1930,[2] it is the sister service of Prasar Bharati's Doordarshan, the national public television broadcaster. All India Radio is one of the largest radio networks in the world. Its headquarters is at the Akashvani Bhavan in New Delhi. Akashvani Bhavan houses the Drama Section, the FM Section and the National Service. Doordarshan Kendra (Delhi) offices are also located on the sixth floor at Akashvani Bhavan.


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Domestic services 3
    • Vividh Bharati 3.1
    • Other services include 3.2
    • Regional services 3.3
  • External services 4
  • Other services 5
    • Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) 5.1
    • News-on-phone service 5.2
    • Direct-to-home service 5.3
    • Documentaries 5.4
    • Central Drama Unit 5.5
    • Social Media Cell 5.6
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The word ākāśavāni (आकाशवाणी) is taken from Sanskrit. In Sanskrit Akashvani means "celestial announcement," or a gift or message from heaven. Often in Hindu mythological stories, folk-tales and fables like Panchatantra & Hitopadesha, whenever Gods wanted to say something, an Akashvani occurred. Literally, akash means "sky" and vani means "sound" or "message".[3]

The word "Akashvani" was coined by M. V. Gopalaswamy after setting up the nation’s first private radio station in his residence, "Vittal Vihar" (about 200 yards from AIR’s current location in Mysore) in 1936.[4] Akashvani seemed to be an appropriate name for a radio broadcaster and was later adopted as All India Radio's on-air name after independence.


In British India, broadcasting began in July 1923 with programmes by the Radio Club of Mumbai and other radio clubs. According to an agreement of 23 July 1927, the private Indian Broadcasting Company LTD (IBC) was authorized to operate two radio stations; the Mumbai station began on 23 July 1927, and the Calcutta station followed on 26 August 1927. On 1 March 1930, however, the company went into liquidation. The government took over the broadcasting facilities, beginning the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) on 1 April 1930 (on an experimental basis for two years, and permanently in May 1932). On 8 June 1936; the ISBS was renamed All India Radio.[2]

On 1 October 1939 the External Service began with a broadcast in Pushtu; it was intended to counter radio propaganda from Germany directed to Afghanistan, Iran and the Arab nations. When India became independent in 1947, the AIR network had only six stations (in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli); three radio stations at Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi fell in the share of Pakistan. the total number of radio sets at that time was about 275,000 in India. 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.[5] FM broadcasting began on 23 July 1977 in Chennai, and was expanded during the 1990s.[6]

Domestic services

White, multistory building with tall red-and-white tower in front
AIR tower in Mangalore, Karnataka

Massive, pinkish-gray building with columns
Kolkata Centre of All India Radio

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

Vividh Bharati

Vividh Bharati is one of the best-known services of AIR. Its name roughly translates as "Multi-Indian Service", and it is also known as the Commercial Broadcasting Service (CBS). It is the commercially most accessible of the AIR networks and is popular in Mumbai and other large cities. Vividh Bharati offers a wide range of programmes including news, film music and comedy programs. It operates on different mediumwave-band frequencies for each city.

Some programs broadcast on Vividh Bharati are:

Other services include

  • Primary Channel [1]
  • National Channel[7]

Regional services

The headquarters of the Regional Deputy Directors General are located at Delhi and Chandigarh (NR), Lucknow and Bhopal (CR), Guwahati (NER), Kolkata (ER), Mumbai and Ahmedabad (WR), Chennai and Bangalore (SR).[8]

All frequencies are in kHz, unless otherwise noted.
Northern regional service
City Frequency City Frequency City Frequency
Agra 1530 Ajmer 603 Allahabad 1026
Almora 999 Barmer 1458 Bikaner 1395
chairhara(budgam) 1485 srinagar 819 srinagar 666
Delhi C (Vividh Bharti) (विविध भारती) 1368 Delhi D (Yuv-vani) (युव वाणी) 1017 Delhi (National Channel) 1215
Diskit 1602 Drass 1485 Gorakhpur 909
Jaipur A 1476 Jalandhar A 837 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 1589 Pauri 1602 Pithoragarh 1602
Rampur 895 Rohtak 1143 Shimla 774
budgam 1116 budgamA 1224 srinagar C 918
Tiesuru 1602 Udaipur 1125 Uttarkashi 1602
Varanasi A 1242 Sawai Madhopur 101.5
Northeast regional service
City Frequency City Frequency
Agartala 1269 Guwahati A 729
Shillong 864 Imphal 822
Eastern regional service
City Frequency City Frequency
Bhagalpur 1458, 1206 Chinsurah (Kolkata A, 1 MW) 594 & 1134
Cuttack A 972 Darbhanga 1296
Jamshedpur 1544 Kolkata A 657
Kolkata B 1008 Kolkata C (Vividh Bharati) 1323
Patna A 621 Ranchi A 549
Muzaffarpur A 100.1 MHz Muzaffarpur B 106.4 MHz
Kolkata (FM Rainbow) 107 Kolkata (FM Gold) 100.2
Western regional service
City Frequency City Frequency
Ahmedabad A 846 Aurangabad 1521
Bhopal A 1593 Chhindwara 102.2 MHz
Chhatarpur 675 Gwalior 1386
Indore A 648 Jalgaon 963
Mumbai A 1044 Mumbai B (Asmita Marathi Programme) 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
South regional service
City Frequency City Frequency
Adilabad 1485 Bangalore A 612
Chennai A 720 kHz Chennai C (Vividh Bharati) 783 kHz
Chennai B 1017 kHz
Coimbatore 999 kHz Gulbarga 1107
Hyderabad A 738 Hyderabad B 1377
Kozhikode A 684 Madurai 1269 kHz
Nagercoil 101 MHz Udhagamandalam 1602 kHz
Port Blair 684 Thiruvananthapuram A 1161
Thiruvananthapuram 101.9 MHz Thrissur A 630
Tiruchirapalli A 936 kHz Tirunelveli 1197 kHz
Vijayawada A 837 Visakhapatnam Tirupati A 1075
Gautam 456 Pondicherry 1215

External services

The external services of All India Radio broadcast in 27 languages to countries outside India—primarily via high-power shortwave band broadcasts, although medium wave 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 8¼ hours of programming each day aimed at a general international audience. The external broadcasts were begun 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 Pushto, beamed to Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier Province. Soon broadcasts 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 program output of 70¼ hours per day on medium- and shortwave.

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 KHZMW
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 MegaWatt)Vividha Bharti
Tuticorin 1 200 1053  kHz MW
Two high powered FM stations of All India Radio are under installation in Amritsar and Fazilka in Punjab to supplement the programs put out from transmitters operating from Jalandhar, New Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai and to improve the broadcast services during disturbed weather conditions in the border regions of Punjab.

Today, the External Services Division of All India Radio broadcasts daily in 57 transmissions with almost 72 hours covering over 108 countries in 27 languages, out of which 15 are foreign and 12 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, Kokani, 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 and on short- and mediumwave for 12¼ hrs. The English-language General Overseas Service are broadcast 8¼ hours daily. During Hajj, there are special broadcasts beamed to Saudi Arabia in Urdu. The external services of AIR are also broadcast to Europe in DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) on 9950 kHz between 1745-2230 UTC.

The transmissions are broadcast by high-power transmitters located at Aligarh, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Gorakhpur, Guwahati, Mumbai and Panaji on shortwave and from Jalandhar, Kolkata, Nagpur, Rajkot and Tuticorin on mediumwave. Soon All India Radio Amritsar will start a booster service on FM band too. Some of these transmitters are 1000 kW (1 MW) or 500 kW. Programs are beamed to different parts of the world except the Americas and received in very good Reception Quality in the Target areas. In each language service, the program 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 programs 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, Thiruvanthapuram 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 people of Indian origin. 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.

Other services

Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM)

Details of the transmissions and frequencies are as follows: 0130 - 0230 UTC on 11715 kHz Nepali (Nepal) 0315-0415 UTC on 15185 kHz Hindi, (E.Africa, Mauritius) 0415-0430 UTC on 15185 kHz Gujarati, (E.Africa, Mauritius) 0430-0530 UTC on 15185 kHz Hindi(E.Africa, Mauritius) 1300 - 1500 UTC on 15050 kHz Sinhala (Sri Lanka) 1615-1715 UTC on 15140 kHz Russian (E. Europe) 2245-0045 UTC on 11645 GOS-I English (NE Asia)

Above transmissions are in addition to following existing DRM txn's: 0900-1200 on 6100 Vividh Bharati, DRM NVIS 1745-1945 UTC on 9950 English W. Europe) 1945-2045 UTC on 9950 Hindi (W. Europe) 2045-2230 UTC on 9950 English (W. Europe)

News-on-phone service

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 STD, ISD and local calls. There are plans to establish the service in 11 more cities: Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Guwahati, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ranchi, Shimla and Thiruvananthapuram. English and Hindi hourly news bulletins may be heard live.[9] 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).

Direct-to-home service

Direct-to-home (DTH) service is offered on 21 channels via Insat.


There is a long tradition of documentary features on AIR. There is great interest in radio documentaries, particularly in countries like India, Iran, South Korea and Malaysia. The doyen of Engish Features was Melville De Mellow and of Hindi Features was Shiv Sagar Mishra.This format has been revived because of its flexibility, cost-cutting capacity, messaging potential and creative potential with producers such as Viren Goyal,"Som Dutt Sharma", Chitra Narain, R. G. Narula and Danish Iqbal.Som Dutt Sharma's vast experience as Top Grade Film Division Writer is reflected in the calibre of his work in the feature production.He has brought the rare combination of Innovation,facts and creativity together to present an unforgettable aural experience for the senses.His acclaimed features are-"Anahad Naad,Kathak katha,Sadhna key Sakhsya and Vani mein Ithihas". Iqbal has brought his experience as a drama producer to the documentary field; his documentary "Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai" makes effective use of narrative and ambient sounds. The documentary is a heartfelt account of an unseen bridge between a Kashmiri, Shikarah Wala, and his auto rickshaw-driver friend in Delhi. Although they never met, their unseen bond transcends the barriers of political, religious and regional prejudice. Because Narula, Chitra and Danish had a long tenure at Delhi and creative collaboration with media institutes, their influence is seminal in shaping the thinking of their colleagues. Chitra and Narula were rewarded for their work, and Danish twice received the Public Service Broadcasting Award for his documentaries.

Central Drama Unit

AIR's Central Drama Unit is responsible for the national broadcast of plays. Playwrights and producers such as Chiranjeet, Satyendra Sharat, Nirmala Agarwal and Danish Iqbal has been associated with the department. 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 is a repository of old scripts and productions. The National Programme of Plays is broadcast by the CDU of AIR the fourth Thursday of each month at 9.30 pm. On the National Programme of Plays, the same play 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

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

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links

  • All India Radio Official web-site
  • All India Radio Commercial Broadcasting Service Vividh Bharati On Line
  • All India Radio Commercial Broadcasting Service Vividh Bharati On Line
  • All India Radio General Overseas Service / External Services Division 1-4 On Line
  • Know India: Radio
  • All India Radio (AIR) Station Frequencies (National/International)
  • Children's wing of All India Radio
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