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All India Radio turns 80

India’s public broadcaster All India Radio – AIR is celebrating this year its 80th anniversary. AIR officially known as Akashvani, started its broadcasting operations on June 8, 1936.

The word Akashvani is taken from Sanskrit, and means “a message from the sky”. It was coined by M. V. Gopalaswamy after setting up the nation’s first private radio station in his residence, “Vittal Vihar” in Mysore in 1936. The term ‘All India Radio’ was coined by Sir Lionel Fielden on June 8, 1936.

The first national music programme on AIR was broadcast on July 20, 1952 and Vividh Bharti Services were inaugurated on October 3, 1957. On November 1,1967 commercials were introduced for the first time on Vividh Bharati. AIR’s first ever FM service was started on July 23, 1977, in Madras, now known as Chennai.

AIR now covers more than 99 percent of the Indian Population with 418 stations broadcasting in 23 languages and 146 dialects, making it one of the largest radio networks in the world.