All India Radio

Radio Broadcasting started in India in the early 1920’s. The first programme was broadcast in 1923 by the Radio club of Bombay. This was followed by setting up Broadcasting Services in 1927 with two privately-owned transmitters at Bombay and Calcutta. The Government took over the transmitters in 1930 and started operating them under the name of Indian Broadcasting Service. It was changed to All India Radio (AIR) in 1936 and it came to be known as Akashvani from 1957.

Organisational Set Up

The Directorate General, All India Radio functions under the Prasar Bharati. The Prasar Bharati Board functions at the apex level ensuring formulation and implementation of the policies of the organisation and fulfillment of the mandate in terms of the Prasar Bharati. Act, 1990. The Executive Member functions as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Corporation subject to the control and supervision of the Board. The CEO, the Member (Finance) and the Member (Personnel) perform their functions from Prasar Bharati headquarters at 2nd Floor, PTI Building – Parliament Street, New Delhi-110001.

All important policy matters relating to Finance, Administration and Personnel are submitted to CEO and the Board through the Member (Finance) and Member (Personnel) as required, for the purpose of advice, implementation of proposals and decisions thereon. Officers from different streams working in the Prasar Bharati Secretariat assist the CEO, Member (Finance) and Member (Personnel) in integrating action, operations, plans and policy implementation as well as to look after the budget, accounts and general financial matters of the Corporation.

Prasar Bharati also has a unified vigilance set up at the headquarters, headed by a Chief Vigilance Officer.

The Director General of All India Radio is headed by the Director General. He functions in close association with the Member (Finance) and Member (Personnel) and the CEO in carrying out the day to day affairs of AIR. In AIR there are broadly five different Wings responsible for distinct activities viz, Programme, Engineering, Administration, Finance and News.

Programme Wing

The Director General is assisted by Deputy Directors General in the Headquarters and Deputy Directors General in the regions for a better supervision of the stations. The Headquarters of the Regional DDGs are situated at Kolkata (ER) Mumbai and Ahmedabad (WR), Lucknow (CR-I), Bhopal (CR-II), Guwahati (NER), Chennai SR-I), Bangaluru (SR-II), Delhi (NR-I) and Chandigarh (NR-II).

Engineering Wing

In respect of technical matters of All India Radio, The Director General is assisted by the Engineer-in-Chief and Chief Engineers posted in the headquarters and the zonal Chief Engineers. In addition, there is a Planning and Development Unit in the Headquarters to assist the Director General in respect of Development Plan Scheme of All India Radio. In respect of Civil Construction activities, the Director General is assisted by the Civil Construction Wing, which is headed by a Chief Engineer. CCW also caters to the needs of Doordarshan.

Administrative Wing

A Dy. Director General (Administration) assists the Director General on all matters of administration while Dy. Director General (Programme) assists DG in administration of Programme personnel. A Director looks after the Engineering Administration of All India Radio, while another Director (Admin. & Finance) assists DG in matters of administration and finance.

Security Wing

The Director General is assisted by a Deputy Director General (Security), Asstt. Director General (Security) and a Dy. Director (Security) on matters connected with the security and safety of AIR installations, transmitters, studios, offices etc.

Audience Research Wing

There is a Director, Audience Research to assist the Director General in carrying out surveys of audience research on the programmes broadcast by various station of All India Radio.

Activities Of Subordinate Offices Of Air

There are a number of subordinate offices of All India Radio performing distinct functions. Broad activities, in brief, are given below.

News Services Division

News Services Division works round the clock and broadcasts over 500 news bulletins both in the home and external services. The bulletins are in Indian and Foreign languages. It is headed by Director General, News Service. There are 44 regional News Units. The bulletins vary from region to region according to news interest.

External Service Division

As a ‘Voice of the Nation’, External Services Division of All India Radio has been India’s “Authentic Window to the World”. With growing importance of India in the world, an increasingly important role is envisaged for External Broadcast for times to come. External Services Division of All India Radio broadcasts in 16 foreign and 11 Indian languages for approximately 72 hours in a day covering more than 100 countries.

Transcription & Programme Exchange Service

This service looks after exchange of programmes among the stations, building and maintenance of sound archives and commercial release of prestigious recordings of music maestros.

Research Department

The functions of the Research Department include Research and Development of equipment required by AIR and Doordarshan, investigation and studies relating to AIR and Doordarshan, development of prototype models of R&D equipment for limited use, field trials in the network of AIR and Doordarshan.

Central Store Office

The Central Store Office located at New Delhi performs functions relating to procurement, stocking and distribution of engineering stores required for the maintenance of technical equipment at All India Radio Stations.

Staff Training Institute (Programme)

The Staff Training Institute (Programme) started with Directorate since 1948 has presently two main branches functioning from Kingsway Camp, Delhi and Bhubaneshwar. It imparts in-service training to programme personnel and administrative staff and induction course for the newly recruited staff and short duration refresher courses. It conducts examinations for administrative staff. In addition, at present five Regional Training Institutes at Hyderabad, Shillong, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Thiruvananthapuram are working.

Staff Training Institute (Technical)

The Staff Training Institute (Technical), part of the Directorate since 1985, now functions at Kingsway Camp, Delhi. The Institute organizes training courses for the engineering staff of All India Radio and Doordarshan from the level of Technician to the Superintending Engineer. It also conducts departmental qualifying and competitive examinations. There is one regional Staff Training Institute (Technical) at Bhubaneswar.

CBS Centres & Vividh Bharati

There are 40 Vividh Bharati cum Commercial Broadcasting Service (CBS) Centres including 3 Exclusive VB Centres. The work relating to CBS is performed in two wings i.e., Sales and Production. A separate independent office known as Central Sales Unit along with 15 main CBS Centres looks after marketing of broadcasting time. There are two more Vividh Bharati Centres at Varanasi and Kochi.

Radio Stations

There are at present 231 Radio Stations. Each of these radio stations functions as the subordinate office of All India Radio.

High Power Transmitters

The HP Transmitters are equipped with short wave/medium wave transmitters together with eight extensive aerial systems to serve the external, home and news services of All India Radio. The main function of these centres is to transmit the programmes produced at nearby studios and also from Delhi studios.

Growth of Network & Coverage

All India Radio, since Independence, has become one the largest broadcasting networks in the world. At the time of independence there were six radio stations and 18 transmitters, which covered 11% population and 2.5 % area of the country. Till December, 2007 the network comprises of 231 stations & 373 transmitters which provide radio coverage to 99.14% of the population and reaches 91.79% area of the country.

Activities undertaken during the year:

  • New stations with FM Transmitters have been commissioned at Dharmapuri (Tamilnadu), Macherla (Andhra Pradesh) and Aurangabad (Bihar).
  • FM Transmitters have been commissioned at existing stations at Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Aizawl (Mizoram), Kohima (Nagaland), Baripada (Odisha), Varanasi (UP) and Puducherry.
  • 3 Existing FM Transmitters at Chennai i.e. 5 KW FM Tr. of FM Gold and 10 KW Tr. of FM Rainbow have been replaced by 20 KW FM Transmitters.
  • Existing 5 KW FM Tr. of FM Gold service at Kolkata has been replaced by a 20 KW FM Transmitter.
  • New station with 1 KW MW Transmitters has been commissioned at Soro (Odisha).
  • Existing 100 KW MW Transmitters at Delhi & Raipur (Chattisgarh) have been replaced with new state of the art technology transmitters.
  • As a part of J & K special Package for boosting border coverage, new stations with 1 KW MW Transmitters at Nyoma & Diskit in Leh region have been commissioned.
  • Direct to Home (DTH) Service through the Ku Band of Prasar Bharati.
  • 20 AIR Radio Channels in different regional languages from various state capitals are now available countrywide through the Kuband DTH platform of Prasar Bharati (DD Direct+) benefiting the listeners all over India.
  • AIR News-on-Phone Service

The listeners can listen AIR’s News highlights on Telephone in Hindi and English by just dialing a specific telephone number of any time from anywhere in the world. AIR ‘News on Phone Service’ is presently operational at 14 places e.g. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Patna, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Bangalore, Thiruvanathapuram, Imphal, Lucknow, Shimla, Gowahati and Raipur. It is also under implementation at Kolkota.

New Initiatives


After having built an impressive engineering infrastructure, All India Radio is now laying thrust on modernization and technological up-gradation. It has undertaken a massive digitalisation programme covering both production and transmission. The analog equipment in many radio stations has been replaced by state-of the art digital equipment.

  • Computer Hard Disc based recording, editing and playback system has already been provided at 76 AIR Stations and is under implementation at 61 stations. Provision of Hard Disc based system at 48 major stations of All India Radio is also currently in progress. Requisition for 564 Numbers of workstations had already been placed on DGS&D and the systems are likely to be delivered and networked at these stations shortly.
  • digitalisation of uplink stations and programme production facilities has been undertaken to ensure good quality convergence-ready content, which will also support interactive radio services like News on Phone, Music on demand etc.
  • New Digital Captive Earth Stations (Uplink) are under implementation at Leh, Varanasi, Rohtak, & Aurangabad. Installation at Leh is complete. Installation at Varanasi, Rohtak, & Aurangabad will also be completed during the current year.
  • Downlinks facilities are being digitised in phases. 115 stations have been provided with the facility during the current year.

Existing 100 KW MW Transmitter at Najibabad is being replaced by a 200 KW state of the art technology transmitter and is under testing and commissioning.

Activities of AIR Resources

AIR has started “AIR Resources” as one of its commercial arm to provide consultancy and turnkey solutions in the field of broadcasting. Its present activities include the following:

It is providing turn-key solutions to IGNOU in setting up FM Transmitters for their Gyan-Vani stations at 40 places in the country. Infrastructure like land, building and tower has also been leased out to Gyan-Vani stations.

26 Gyan-vani stations are already operational. Operation & maintenance of all the Gyan-vani stations commissioned so far has also been undertaken.

Infrastructure i.e. land, building & tower has also been given on rental license fee basis to private broadcasters at 4 cities for 10 FM Channels as part of Phase-I scheme of the Ministry of I & B. Agreement for sharing of this infrastructure under Phase -II of scheme proposed in 87 cities for 245 FM channels has been signed with all the private broadcasters. Agreement has also been signed with private broadcasters for setting up of Interim set ups in six cities i.e. Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad & Jaipur. Infrastructure has also been rented out to Mobile Service Operators.

AIR Resources’ has earned a revenue of about Rs.35.50 crores during the year 2006-07.

Music Programmes

Akashvani Sangeet Sammelan concerts were organized at 24 Stations of AIR across the country on 20th and 21st October 2007 featuring artists of both Hindustani and Carnatic music. AIR introduced regional Folk & Light Music Festival at par with Akashvani Sangeet Sammelan. The purpose of this regional folk & Light Music Akashvani Sangeet Sammelan is to project, promote & propagate the rich folk cultural heritage of our country. To scout new talent, All India Radio organizes All India Music Competition. AIR music competition is a regular feature of AIR to reach & hunt new talent among youth. This year a number of new talents in the category of Hindustani/Karnatic Music have been added.

News Services Division

The News Services Division of All India Radio plays a significant role in disseminating information thus meeting the information needs of the people and promoting national integration. This is not only a powerful tool for bringing the issues affecting the society and the country to the fore but also for creating awareness amongst the people and bringing about social change.

The output of NSD can be broadly divided into news bulletins and current affairs programmes. It puts out over 500 news bulletins daily in 82 languages/dialects (Indian and foreign) for a duration of over 52 hours from its headquarters in New Delhi and 44 Regional News Units (RNUs) across the country. The news bulletins are broadcast on the Primary, FM and DTH channels of All India Radio. The news broadcast includes broadcast in all the 22 languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, and in 18 foreign languages besides other languages/dialects. In the Home Service, 89 news bulletins are broadcast from Delhi. News bulletins on the hour are being broadcast on FM Gold. The RNUs put out over 355 bulletins daily in 67 languages/ dialects on Primary Channel, FM Channels and External Service. NSD and its RNUs broadcast 66 news bulletins in 26 languages (Indian and foreign) for a total duration of nine hours and 13 minutes in the External Service.

Besides the news bulletins, a number of Current Affairs programmes on topical subjects are broadcast on a daily and weekly basis by NSD and its RNUs.

These programmes have varying formats such as discussions, interviews, talks news magazines, analysis and commentaries. Newsmakers, experts and the general people analyse and debate on burning issues for various fields. Some of the very popular programmes include Characha Ka Vishai Hai, Samayaki, Spotlight, Market Mantra (Business Magazine), Sports Scan (Sports Magazine), Samvaad Countrywide, Money Talk, Surkhiyon Se Pare and Human face.

News On Internet And Intra-NSD

News lovers can also get the latest news and listen to our bulletins from NSD’s official websitewww.newsonair.com(External website that opens in a new window) and www.newsonair.nic.in(External website that opens in a new window). The website was re-launched on NIC platform in November 2007 with additional features like ‘Archiving and Search’ along with Feedback and host of other features which will meet the latest requirements of internet users in India and aboard.

News bulletins script from regional News units like Mumbai, Dharwad, Chennai, Patna, Bhopal, and Trichy are available in Marathi, Kannada, Tamil Fonts besides Hindi and English. News listeners can log on to the website to listen to regional bulletins in 11 languages and also national bulletins in languages like Sanskrit and Nepali besides English and Hindi. Internet users can also get all information regarding NSD, various broadcast details. “Regional Units”, its functions, names of its part Time Correspondents and various other data besides News and Current affairs programmes.

Now, the weekly and daily news based programmes are available on the website in the audio format. Audio of special programmes mounted by NSD AIR to mark events unit important days are also available in the website.

An intra network has been created for NSD and its RNUs and Non-RNUs. The ‘INTRA NSD’ will help in free and fast flow of news and information between NSD Headquarters and its Regional Units. Audio file transfer is also possible through ‘INTRA-NSD’ and will help our Correspondents to file their audio dispatches through Internet.

Expansion Measures

The News Services Division of AIR achieved another milestone by introducing a Bhutia language of 5 minutes duration from RNU Gangtok. This is a major step in fulfilling the aspirations of the people and broadening the news operation on AIR network in the country. News reel programme has been revamped and another weekly programme Human face was introduced. Steps are being taken to introduce hourly bulletin from more FM Stations and also on AIR’s Vividh Bharati stations.

Expanding the Correspondents, Network

No other broadcast organization has such a vast network of news bureaus correspondents and editors as NSD: AIR. It has 44 Regional News Units (RNUs) across the country with 110 full time Correspondents/Editors working in these Units. Besides the RNUs, NSD has its Correspondents at 13 other important news centers in the country. It has five foreign Correspondents based at Dubai, Kabul, Dhaka, Kathmandu and Colombo. There is a proposal to appoint stringers at important news centre across the world to cater to the needs of both AIR and DD News. Realising the importance of local news/news from the grass-root level, NSD is appointing Part-Time Correspondents (PTC) at every district headquarter in the country. At present, 455 PTCs are working for AIR. The PTCs also meet the requirements of Doordashan News.

Upgrading of Skills

NSD believes in upgrading the skills of its human resources – editors and correspondents. Keeping in view the importance of Hindi as a the official language a three day Hindi language workshop for correspondents was conducted by the NSD, AIR. The main objective of the workshops was to enhance the Hindi pronunciation and verbal skills of correspondents belonging to Non Hindi speaking Regions. An orientation workshop was also organized for improving the skills of Production Assistants and NF editors.

Part-Time Correspondents (PTCs) are the news source at the grass-root level for All India Radio. The need to train them so as to get the best results was felt for long. This year orientation workshops were conducted by NSD AIR at seven Regional news units – Kolkata, Bhopal, Cuttack, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Patna. Six more PTC, orientation workshops are going to be held in the coming months in Jaipur, Hyderabad, Jammu, Lucknow, Chennai and Bangalore.

Strengthening Regional News

This year NSD has taken initiative to automate the newsroom of RNUs. News automation system has been installed at RNU Guwahati, Shillong, Trichy, Simla, Jaipur and Imphal. This is a endeavour towards fully digitised, paperless office. In order to further smoothen the work of news room, all the RNUs are in the process of shifting from tele printer line based news wires to World space/V-Sat based news wires for receiving news from agencies. Efforts are being made to create another award for News readers cum Translators to recognize their contribution in smooth and effective presentation of the news bulletins and news based programmes.

News Coverage

The focus of the NSD’s coverage this year was the common man. The Division did a vast coverage on the issues affecting the common man and how the various schemes of the Central government including the ones for the welfare of SC/ST, OBCs, minorities, formers, unorganized workers, women and youth have fared. Flagship programmes of the government such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Bharat Nirman and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan etc. were given special coverage.

The Right to Information Act was given top priority in its news bulletins and programmes. Special featurised programme was mounted on economic issues such as WTO talks, government’s efforts to contain price rise and relief packages to farmers and National employment Guarantee Scheme and its implementation. News based programmes on Indo-Pak relation were broadcast especially in the context of containing cross-border terrorism.

The News Services Division has given extensive coverage of Prime Minister’s visit to various countries. The visits of foreign dignitaries and the important and strategic agreements signed between them were covered at length. AIR’s Special Correspondents in Colombo, Kathmandu, Dhaka and Kabul provided detailed coverage to the fluid political and security related development in the neighbourhood.

Sports was the flavour of this year’s coverage. International sports mega events such as World Cup of Cricket, T-20 Cricket World Cup, Asia Cup Hockey, and Military World Games held in Hyderabad, kept the sports desk busy throughout the year.

Parliament Coverage

During the Parliament Session, ‘Sansad Sameeksha’ in Hindi and ‘Today in Parliament’ in English, reviewing the proceedings of both Houses of parliament are broadcast. Similarly, reviews of the proceedings of the State Legislatures, whenever they are in Session, are broadcast by the respective Regional News Units of NSD, AIR.

External Services Division

External Services Division of All India Radio rank high among the External Radio Network in the World both in reach and range covering about 100 countries in 27 languages, 16 of them Foreign and 11 Indian, with an enormous Programme output of about 70 hrs 30 minutes everyday. All India Radio through its external broadcast keeps the overseas listeners in touch with the Ethos of India and things that are Indian, reflecting the ideas and achievements of India as an open society.

The Foreign languages are Arabic (3 hrs. 15 meters) Baluchi (1 hr) Burmese (1 hr. meters.) Chinese (1 hr. 30 meters) Dari (i hr 45 meters). French (45 Mts) Indonesian (1 hrs) Nepali (4 hrs) Persian (1 hr. 45 meters.) (Pushtu (2 hrs) Russian (1 hrs) Sinhala (2 hrs 30 meters Swahill (1 hr.) Thai (45 Mts.) Tibetan (1 hr. 15 meters) and English (GOS) (8 hrs. 15 Mts.)

The Indian Languages are Hindi (5 hrs. 15 Mts.) Tamil (5 hrs. 30 Mts). Telegu (30 Mts.) Bengali (6 hs. 30 meters) Gujarati (30 Mts.) Punjabi (2 hrs.) Sindhi (3 hrs. 36 Mts.) Urdu ( 12 hrs. 15 Mts.) Saraiki (30 meters) Malayalam (1 hrs.) Kannada (1 hr.) The broadcasts follow a composite partners and generally comprise of News Bulletin, commentaries, current Events and Review of the Indian Press. Besides Newsreel Magazine programme on sports and literature, talks and discussions on social economic, political, historical, scientific and cultural subjects, features on development activities, important events and institutions, classical, folk and modern music of India’s diverse regions, form a major part of total programme output.

External Services Division projects the Indian view on matters of national and international importance and stimulates interest in the culture, heritage and socioeconomic milieu of India through its broadcast.

The dominant theme of all programmes in External Services Division continue to present the reality of India as a strong Secular Democratic Republic, vibrant, forward looking and engaged in the task of rapid economic, industrial and technological progress. The facts of India’s large technical manpower and its achievements and ecological balance, its commitment to restoration of human rights and international peace and its contribution to the creation of a new world economic order are frequently discussed.

External Services Division continues to supply recordings of music, spoken word and composite programmes to about 24 foreign broadcasting organizations under the existing Cultural Exchange programme.

External Services Division’s transmission directed to SAARC countries, West Asia, Gulf and South East Asian countries continue to carry the 9.00 p.m. National bulletin in English, originally meant for Home Services. This apart, External Services Division continues to beam all across the globe commentaries on contemporary and relevant issues and press reviews in all its transmissions.

Digital Broadcasting

The External Services Division has started digital transmission from its new setup installed in the New Broadcasting House. All modern gadgets and equipments are being used to attract as many listeners as possible. Introduction of international broadcasting by All India Radio has enabled its listeners in parts of the world like USA, Canada, West and South Africa to avail of AIR’s Services on internet, 24 hrs Urdu Service of External Services Division is also available on air through DTH.

National Channel

All India Radio offers a 3 tier system of broadcasting, namely National, Regional and Local. Started on 18th May 1988, the National channel of All India Radio works as a night service from 6.50 p.m. to 6.10 am the next morning. It covers 64% area and about 76% population of the country, through its 3 MW Transmitters at Nagpur (191.6 M-1566 kHz), Delhi (246.9 M-1215 kHz) and Kolkata (264.5 M-1134 kHz from 2300 hrs) with shortwave support on 31 Meter Band 9425 kHz & 9470 kHz) which covers the entire country.

Having the whole of India as its zone, the programme complexion of the channel has been designed to make it representative of the varied cultural morale and ethos of the Nation as a whole.

Marketing Division

In the recent years, Prasar Bharat while fulfilling its mandate of a Public Service Broadcaster has also been making concrete efforts to augment its revenue generation by way of considerable and aggressive Marketing of its in-house programmes and also producing customized programmes. Setting up of Marketing Division in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Kochi & Thiruvanathapuram is a step in this direction.

A single window facility for all the channels of All India Radio and Doordarshan, Marketing Divisions cater to all the needs of advertising. Reaching out to clients preparing media plans recording to their budget and requirements executing their publicity campaigns and producing sports jingles and sponsored programme whenever the need be are some of the important functions of marketing division.

With the continuous and concrete efforts of these divisions, All India Radio has been able to break its previous records by earning overall revenue of Rs.289.21 crore in the financial year 2007-08.

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Source: India 2010 – A Reference Annual

Note: The information presently available in this section is not exhaustive. We are in the process of adding more information to this section. You can use the ‘Feedback‘ Option to give your suggestions for further enhancement.

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