Wednesday, October 28, 2009

History of Indian Radio

Broadcasting began in India with the formation of a private radio service in Madras (presently Chennai) in 1924. In the very same year, British colonial government approved a license to a private company, the Indian Broadcasting Company, to inaugurate Radio stations in Bombay and Kolkata. The company almost went bankrupt in 1930 but the colonial government took away the two transmitters and the Department of Labour and Industries started operating them as the Indian State Broadcasting Corporation. In 1936, this very Corporation was renamed All India Radio (AIR) and was controlled by the Department of Communications. When India became independent in 1947, AIR was made a separate Department under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Government of India controls the radio broadcasting in India that works under the Directorate General of All India Radio. It was established in 1936 and since 1957 All India Radio was renamed as Akashvani. Akashvani is a government-owned, semi -commercial operation of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. There were only six radio stations in India at the time of independence. All India Radio`s 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 handles the External Services. There are five regional headquarters for All India Radio, namely in the North Zone in New Delhi; the East Zone in Kolkata; the North-East Zone in Guwahati, Assam; the West Zone in Mumbai; and the South Zone in Chennai.

The government-owned network of Indian radio provides both national and local programs in Hindi, English, and sixteen regional languages. Commercial Radio services in India started in 1967 by Vividh Bharati Service with its headquarters at Mumbai. Vividh Bharati earned its revenues from extensive advertisements and had been broadcasting from thirty-one AM and FM stations during the mid-1990s. India has a wide-ranging network of medium wave and short-wave stations. In 1994 there had been almost eighty-five FM stations and seventy-three short wave stations that connected the entire country. The broadcasting equipment used in India is mainly indigenous and reaches special audiences, such as farmers needing agro climatic, plant protection, and other agriculture-related information.

The early history of Indian radio broadcasting in independent India set the parameters for the succeeding role of television in the nation. At Independence, the Congress government under Jawaharlal Nehru followed three major goals: firstly, to achieve political integration; secondly, to attain economic development; and finally, to achieve social modernization. Indian broadcast media was expected to play an important role in all three areas. In those days radio was considered as an integral medium of communication, primarily due to the absence of any motion medium. All the national affairs and social changes were informed through the waves of broadcast media and within no time, popularity of radio spread nationwide. Indian radio proved to be a prime medium of social integration.

Indian radio also took up the task of aiding in the development of economic scenario. The Indian Constitution was adopted in 1950 and authorized a strong role for the Indian State in the economic development of the country. The use of broadcasting was further considered to be a development process that was naturally a consequence to this state-led developmental philosophy. Indian radio was specially designed program to contribute to the process of social modernization, which was an important pre-requisite of economic development. The dominant development philosophy of the time scrutinized the problems of development as the basic ones in the developing countries. These internal causes included traditional value systems; lack of entrepreneurial ability, lack of innovation and lack of a national consciousness and experts could suggest only communication solutions to bring upon. The main problem was that the old ideas were influencing the young minds thus hindering the process of social change and modernization. The role of broadcasting provided an inlet for the flow of modern ideas.

It was due to the same reason of static thoughts prevailing in the society; that television came into existence in 1959. Television broadcasts started from Delhi in September 1959, again associated with the All India Radio`s services. Programs were broadcast twice a week for an hour a day on welfare topics related to community health, citizens duties and rights, and traffic and road sense. In 1961 the television medium were expanded to include a school educational television project, however the importance of radio did not decline. When television was taking birth, radio happened to be a matured medium in India. Various entertainment programs were added in the curriculum of Indian Radio that included melodious songs and interview panels. A limited number of old U.S. and British shows were also telecast sometimes in radio. The oldest radio station of India, All India Radio or Akashvani is one of the largest radio networks in the world.


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1 comments on "History of Indian Radio"

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Jaidita Seth on 23 November, 2015 said...

Thank you

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