For the first time in 1926 the idea of a regular Broadcasting Service in India took shape in the form of an agreement entered into between the Government of India and private company called the Indian Broadcasting Company Limited. Under that agreement, a licence for the constructions of two stations, one at Bombay and the other at Calcutta was granted. The Bombay Station was accordingly inaugurated on 23rd July, 197l.
Unexpectedly, after about three years, the Company went into liquidation on 1st March, 1930. It looked as though introduction of broadcasting had failed in India while the other countries were making good progress. In response, however, to popular demand, the Government decided to acquire the assets of the Indian Broadcasting Company and run the two Stations at Bombay and Calcutta, on an experimental basis for a period of two years from 1st April, 1930. Finally, the Government decided in May, 1932 to continue the Indian State Broadcasting Service under their own management and placed in under the administrative control of the Department of Industries and Labour.
In March 1935, a separate Department under a Controller of Broadcasting was constituted to work under the Department of Industries and Labour. In June, 1936 “All India Radio” replaced the earlier nomenclature of the ‘Indian State Broadcasting Service’. Broadcasting was transferred to the Department of Communications in November, 1937 and was later transferred to the Department of Information & Broadcasting in October, 1941. This Department was reconstituted as the Department Information and Arts from 23rd February, 1946. The name of the Department was again changed to the Department of Information and Broadcasting from 10th September, 1946.
The real break for broadcasting in India came with World War II. The war also made it necessary for the Government to expand the broadcasting organisation so as to meet the requirements of its war effort. Most of the News Services and the External Services originated during the war years. When India became free, the AIR network had only six stations Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Lucknow and Tiruchi with a total complement of 18 transmitters, six of them on medium wave and the others on shortwave. Listening on medium wave was confined to the urban areas in these cities. With the integration of princely states, AIR took over five broadcasting centres functioning in these areas. The total number of radio sets at the time of independence in 1947 was a mere 2,75,000, but now-a-days Radio & T.V is available almost in every house.
For the efficient supervision of programmes and for the maintenance of high standards in the several types of broadcast, it was considered essential to have a self-contained department consisting of :
Programme Professionals with a background and taste for music, culture, current affairs, literature and specialisation in science, agricultu8re, family welfare, public relations etc. to discover suitable talents and material for good programmes and present the various programmes in an effective and attractive manner for entertainment and educating the masses.
All India Radio was created to meet these requirements and is being continuously developed and strengthened. Director General, All India Radio is the head of the Department under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
All India Radio, Cuttack with the above mission was commissioned on 28th January, 1948.