History of Radio Broadcasting in India

2022-09-16 14:05:40

Radio Broadcasting was pioneered in India by the Madras Presidency Club Radio in 1924. The Club worked as a broadcasting service for three years, but owing to financial difficulties gave it up in 1927.
In the same year (1927) some enterprising businessmen in Bombay started the Indian Broadcasting Company with stations at Bombay and Calcutta. This company failed in 1930, in 1932 the Government of India took over broadcasting. A separate depart­ment known as Indian Broadcasting Service was opened.
The Service was later designated ‘All India Radio’ (AIR) and was placed under a separate Ministry-the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The AIR is controlled by a Director General, who is assisted by several Deputy Directors and a Chief Engineer.

Growth of Radio in India

Industries started operating them as the Indian State Broadcasting Corporation. The Corporation came to be called the All India Radio in 1936, and it was controlled by the Department of Communications. When India became independent in 1947, All India Radio (AIR) was made a separate department under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
AIR, renamed as Akashvani, is a government-owned, semi-commercial operation of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The AIR network had expanded by the mid- 1990s to around 146 AM stations along with a National Channel, the Integrated North-East Service that aimed at reaching out to the tribal groups in northeast India and the External Services.
There are five regional headquarters for the All India Radio. The government-owned network of Indian radio provides both national and local programmes in Hindi, English, and the regional languages. Commercial radio services in India started in 1967 with the Vividh Bharati service which has its headquarters at Mumbai.
There are special broadcasts for special audiences, such as farmers needing agro-climatic, plant protection, and other agriculture-related information. News, features, and entertainment programmes are mainly broadcast, and the target audiences include the listeners in neighbouring countries and the large overseas Indian community.
FM broadcasting in India began in 1977 in Madras (now Chennai). Till the 1990s, the All India Radio was all that the Indian audiences had. But private broadcasters emerged, especially in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Goa and Chennai, and this resulted in the emergence of private FM slots.
These were soon followed by stations in Hyderabad, Jaipur and Lucknow. Over time, the number of private players dwindled and Radio City, Radio Mirchi and Red FM were among the few that managed to sustain themselves. These channels are almost exclusively devoted to pop and film music.

Old Time Radio

Throughout the 20th century, one of the dominant forms of mass media and entertainment was Radio Shows: Drama, Comedy, Mystery and Horror, as well as news and information, all presented in a purely audio format. Contained in these archives are thousands of hours recorded from these well-funded and talent-filled works.

Some items are entire collections within themselves of many-episode runs of famous shows. Many date from the "Golden Age" of Radio, the early half of the 20th century, while some are remixes or recreations of these works for modern audiences. A percentage are modern(ish) productions utilising the best of what improved technology and hopes to capture the radio magic could offer.

The introduction of television is considered to be the death knell of this medium, but the works live on.