It operates its service through the following channels: (i) Primary Channels; (ii) National Channels; (iii) Vividh Bharati; (iv) FM Channels and (v) External Services Channels.
Radio broadcasts are audible even in the remote villages of our country. Almost every family in our country possesses a radio set. These days’ transistors have become very popular. They are not only handy but also cheap. To make radios and transistors more popular, the government has waived the annual licence fee on them.
Radio broadcasting not only informs and educates people; it also provides healthy entertainment to them. Whenever people feel lonely or exhausted, they turn to the radio. Many people like to spend their leisure time in listening to the radio. Radio programmes are liked by the young and old alike. Some programmes cater to the needs of special audiences like students, jawans, women, children, etc.
About 40 per cent of the total broadcast of A.I.R. constitutes music programmes. These programmes include classical music, light music, devotional music, folk music, etc. Since the 1950s, apart from the regular music programmes, A.I.R. started two major network programmes, viz. the National Programme of Music and the Radio Sangeet Sammelan. Another milestone in broadcasting was the inception of the national orchestra known as ‘AIR Vadya Vrinda’ in Delhi, in 1952. A second unit was later added in Chennai. So A.I.R. brings to its listeners the best of musical talent available in the country on its network.
A.I.R.’s Vividh Bharati Programme is broadcast from 40 Medium wave stations and 3 short wave stations have become very popular with the masses. It contains film music, humorous skits, short plays and other features. Introduced in November 1967 as an experimental measure, the commercial broadcasting is a big hit centres. Advertisements and sponsored programmes are relayed through the commercial broadcasting service.
Radio programmes provide us with news and views through news bulletins, commentaries and discussions on current affairs. These programmes help us to keep abreast of the latest developments not only in India but also in other countries of the world. When the Indian Parliament is in session, daily commentaries in English and Hindi reviewing the day’s proceedings in both the Houses of the Parliament are broadcast. During the times of war and general elections, special news bulletins are broadcast to keep people aware of the latest happenings. Keeping the interest of the electorate in view, election bulletins are broadcast round the clock.
Similarly, whenever important matches are played in any part of the country, a running commentary is broadcast on the radio. The radio commentary on cricket matches is very popular. One can see people listening to their transistors while travelling in buses, going out for shopping, attending school or working in offices.
Broadcasting is rendering yeoman’s service to the cause of education also. There are special broadcasts for schools and colleges. During examination days, special lectures on different subjects based on the school or college curricula are broadcast to enable students to prepare well for their examinations.
The A.I.R.’s “Yuva Vani” programme is very popular among the youth of the country. It is stated to be the programme of the youth, by the youth and for the youth. The programme includes talks, discussions, interviews, plays, music etc.
A.I.R. pays special attention to the needs of family welfare in our country. Family welfare programmes are planned and produced along with health programmes because both are interlinked. A.I.R. also broadcasts programmes for rural listeners, armed forces and industrial workers, etc.
Thus we find that radio broadcasting is playing a crucial rote in imparting news and information to our people, most of who are living in villages. It is also mobilising public opinion for the removal of economic, political, social and moral evils prevalent in our society through its creative programmes. It is one of the best means of entertainment and education.