Telecom and Postal Sector – Spectrum Allocation, Call Drops, Predatory Pricing, etc

All India Radio (AIR) to be renamed Akashvani


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: All India Radio

Mains level: Not Much


Central idea: The Centre has ordered that public broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) be exclusively referred to as Akashvani in all broadcasts and programmes.

All India Radio: Through history

  • The journey of radio broadcasting in India began with the first commercial transmission sent out by the Radio Club of Bombay in 1923.
  • In 1927, the Indian Broadcasting Company (IBC) was established and in 1930, the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) was set up.
  • In 1936, ISBS was renamed as All India Radio (AIR).
  • At the time of Independence, AIR covered only two percent of India’s land area and reached just 11 percent of its population.
  • Today, AIR has a network of over 262 radio stations, covering 92% of India’s area and nearly all of its population.
  • It broadcasts in 23 languages and 146 dialects and also has an External Services Division which broadcasts in 11 Indian and 16 foreign languages, reaching out to more than 100 countries.
  • AIR’s News Services Division broadcasts 647 bulletins daily for a total duration of nearly 56 hours.
  • FM broadcasting began in 1977 in Chennai and today, AIR has 18 FM stereo channels.

Why the name change?

  • The order to exclusively refer to AIR as Akashvani is in line with the provisions of the Prasar Bharati Act, 1990, passed by Parliament.
  • Listeners have more of a connect with Akashvani and that the name change is in tune with the law which came into being in 1997.

Importance of AIR

  • AIR played a crucial role in communicating momentous events in India’s recent history, prior to the advent of television or digital media.
  • AIR’s place in history is cemented due to its role in broadcasting Jawaharlal Nehru’s iconic “Tryst with Destiny” speech in 1947 and Kapil Dev’s mythical 175 run knock in 1983, among other events.
  • For many Indians, the Akashvani jingle evokes nostalgia and memories of a bygone era when they woke up to the sounds of the jingle at the break of dawn and started their day with AIR programming.

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