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Evolution of Radio

Chapter 4
Unit 2

The meaning and usage of the word “radio” has developed in parallel with developments
within the forked of communications and can be seen to have three distinct
phases-electromagnetic waves and experimentation, wireless communication and technical
development, and radio broadcasting and commercialisation.
Contributions by Graham Bell(US), Marconi(Italy), Maxwell and Lodge(England),
Popov(Russia) and Jagdish Chandra Bose(India) helped in the developing of wireless and
telegraph technology which contributed in the evolution of radio.

First regular telegraph service-1907

Between-Ireland and Canada then it was extended to Europe, US and Australia. When the
titanic sank in 1912, the world witnessed the role of wireless telegraphy for rescue
operations on the high seas.

Discoveries of electro-magnetic waves, radio waves, the wireless telegraph and the triode
amplifier valve by technicians and scientists from different countries gave rise to the
developments of wireless telegraphy and later to radio broadcasting. This shift from one type
of technological and social usage to another took place in relation to two developments:
First, the world war prompted the industrialisation of wireless telegraphy and secondly, in the
Us, the radio created a communication environment in which amateurs could operate freely.

The earliest radio transmission in 1915 were by universities to disseminate news. The first
radio stations were set up in Pittsburg, New York and Chicago in the 1920s to broadcast
election news, sporting events and opera performances. By mid 1923 as many as 450
stations sprouted across the United States-all of which were connected by AT&T to form the
national broadcasting company(nbc) in 1926. Another national network, Columbia
Broadcasting System(CBS) was set up in 1929. National Public Radio(NPR) was
established in 1970.
The first radio program was broadcast on August 31, 1920 in Detroit, Michigan. The first
college radio station began broadcasting on October 14, 1920 from New York. In Britain and
Europe, broadcasting was an important mass medium to be left to private profit oriented
companies. Public service broadcasting supported by taxes or license fees found
widespread favour.
When the NBC and CBS were established in the United States, the British government took
the initiative to set up the BBC in 1920 as an autonomous public service corporation. Other
European countries established national public service networks some directly under
government control and others as autonomous establishments.
Colonial powers like Britain and France established Broadcasting stations-BBC World
Service and Radio France.
The BBC World Service began in 1932 as the BBC Empire Service, broadcasting on
shortwave and aimed principally at English speakers across the British Empire.
Radio France is a French public service radio broadcaster which was set up in 1975.
The main purpose of establishing these were to extend their governance over the local
populations and to propagate their interests in politics and trade.

USA government established Voice of America in 1942. Voice of America (VOA) is a U.S.
government-funded international radio broadcast source that serves as the United States
federal government's official institution for non-military, external broadcasting.

By the 1940s, radio became a universal and round the clock mass medium. It was widely
used by both Axis and Allied powers. After the arrival of transistor radio in the 1950s, the
radio became cheap, light weight, personal and portable. A transistor radio is a small
portable radio receiver that uses transistor-based circuitry. Following their development in
1954, made possible by the invention of the transistor in 1947, they became the most
popular electronic communication device in history.
After this came the car radio. Paul Galvin made the first car radio in 1930.

National and Regional Networks

In the United States, radio was private, commercialised and a local medium ever since the
beginning. Much of its support came from the advertising revenue. American radio has
historically relied primarily on commercial advertising sponsorship on for-profit stations. The
U.S. does not have a national broadcaster that aims its programs at the general public.
FM radio came in US in 1941.
In Britain, BBC was established as a national service and was controlled in the public

In India, amateur radio operators pioneered radio services, but since they did not succeed in
turning it into a profitable business, the colonial government took over. This resulted in the
establishment of AIR. AIR was largely based on BBC model:a non commercial station, and
like the BBC has only a national service to begin with. The first ever news bulletin in the
country went on the air from the Bombay Station on July 23, 1927 under a private company,
the Indian Broadcasting Company.
(Add history of radio-class 11 notes)
AIR has a three-tier system of broadcasting. These three levels of programmes are the
National, Regional and Local each having distinct audiences. National programmes are
broadcast from Delhi for relay by the Capital, Regional and Local Radio Stations. Some of
these are the National Programme of Talks and Features in Hindi and English, the National
Programmes of Drama and Music.

National service
This broadcasted programmes on special occasions to the nation by the president, Vice
President and the PM. they also relay news bulletins in the languages of the region and in
Hindi and English.
The News Services Division (NSD) of All India Radio disseminates news and comments to
listeners in India and abroad. The News Services Division broadcasts from Delhi 178 daily
news bulletins in English, Hindi and 33 languages for a duration of 22 hours and 17 minutes.
Regional Services
They originate programmes in the regional languages and dialects. Regional Channels are
located in the major linguistic-cultural region of every state.
These cater to major linguistic and cultural groups. Each state and UT serves the groups
living in the areas covered by it. Except for news and national programmes of talks and
music which are relayed from Delhi, the other programmes of each regional station directed
at different groups such as farmers, workers, children, women, youth are produced at
regional stations or centres. The national service programmes are broadcast over short
wave transmitters which makes it possible for regional centres to relay them.

Local Service
Local Radio is relatively a newer concept of broadcasting in India. Local radio stations serve
small communities, showcase local culture and broadcast area specific programmes for the
benefit of the community. The transmission is in the FM mode. The programming is flexible
and spontaneous and the stations function as the mouthpiece of the local community. At
present there are 86 Local Stations spread across the country.

Vividh Bharati Service

This started on 2nd October, 1957 as a service of light entertainment to compete with the
radio Ceylon which had begun directing a commercial service to India on powerful short
wave transmitters. The programmes were broadcast from 37 centres including two short
wave transmitters at Bombay and Madras. It reaches 97% of the population of the country.
They broadcast taped or pre recorded programmes. The service provides entertainment for
nearly 15 to 17 hours a day. It presents a mix of film music, skits, short plays and interactive
The channel also carries two news bulletins and some “spoken word” programmes. Music
constitutes 40% of the total programmes broadcast over AIR comprising classical, light, folk,
film and music in the regional languages.

Sponsored programmes were introduced in May, 1970. Earlier AIR banner film music on its
programmes for it was felt that film music was too cheap and vulgar to be broadcast on AIR
and regional services.

External Service
The External Services Division was inaugurated in 1939. It broadcasts programmes to 155
countries in 24 languages for a total of 75 hours daily. A special weekly programme is
prepared and is broadcast through foreign radio stations in UK, USA and Canada. These
programmes are meant for a large number of Indians living in these countries.
The primary objective of the broadcast is to project the Indian point of view on world affairs
and acquaint overseas listeners with developments in India, along with information on
various facts of Indian life, thought and culture.

According to UNESCO, the ideal purposes of international broadcasts are:

1. To present the best culture and ideas of the broadcasting country
2. To present world news objectively
3. To explain the broadcasting country’s viewpoint on important world problems and to
promote international understanding.
This began first in 1975 in Japan and a few years later in Europe and USA. AIR received its
feedback from listener’s letters. The main target areas are Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Afghanistan, Arab States and Western Europe. In certain cases, the external service and the
general overseas service has not made any impact because of the quality of programmes
and the poor transmission.

FM broadcasts
FM Radio was first introduced by All India Radio in 1972 at Madras and later in 1992 at
Jalandhar. The country first experimented with private FM broadcasts in the small tourist
destination of Goa and the large metropolitan areas of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
These were followed by private stations in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Lucknow.
Radio City Bangalore, started on July 3, 2001, is India's first private FM radio station.
The primary content of both AIR’s FM and private FM stations is Hindi film music. Some of
the radio FM stations are:
Radio Mirchi
Radio City
AIR’s FM-FM Gold and FM Rainbow

Music, chat and utilities like traffic updates, public announcements, news and current affairs,
and live sport commentaries, user generated content are the main drivers.

FM industry has got together to form the FICCI-Radio Forum. Initiated by FICCI, the radio
forum would be required to face new challenges such as satellite radio, community radio,
mobile radio, campus radio and internet radio, as well as attempts to regulate the industry
through the new content code spelt out in he broadcasting bill of 2007.

The FM radio industry has committed over half a billion dollars in licence fees and rollout
costs according to the forum’s chairman. The forum’s core group had representatives from a
host of companies like MBPL, Red FM, BAG films, ADLABS/ADAG, Radio Midday, India
Today, Malayala Manorama, Win Radio and TAM media.
The trade body of the industry is the Association of Radio Operators of India(AROI)

Radio on the Web

The great advantage of the presence on the web is the international access that the internet
provides. Another major advantage is the interactivity of the digital medium. The feedback
can be obtained almost instantly. The ‘visits’ or ‘clicks’ on radio websites can be measured
fairly accurately. Further, on a broadband Network, radio broadcasts take on a charity that is
often not available on terrestrial radio. Several amateurs web radio stations do not have an
offline presence. It is possible now to launch one’s own radio station and be a radio jockey
for that station.