Ākāśavāni (आकाशवाणी) is a Sanskrit word meaning "celestial announcement," or "voice from the sky/heaven". In Hindu, Jain and Buddhist holy traditions, Akashvanis often featured in stories as a medium of communication from the heavens to mankind.
"Akashvani" was first used in the context of radio by M. V. Gopalaswamy after setting up the nation’s first private radio station in his residence, "Vittal Vihar" (about 200 yards from AIR’s current location in Mysore) in 1936. Akashvani seemed to be an appropriate name for a radio broadcaster and was later adopted as All India Radio's on-air name in 1956.
During the British Raj, broadcasting began in July 1923 with programmes by the Bombay Presidency Radio Club and other radio clubs. According to an agreement of 23 July 1927, the private Indian Broadcasting Company LTD (IBC) was authorized to operate two radio stations; the Bombay station began on 23 July 1927, and the Calcutta station followed on 26 August 1927. However, on 1 March 1930, the company went into liquidation. The government took over the broadcasting facilities, beginning the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) on 1 April 1930 on an experimental basis for two years, and then permanently in May 1932. On 8 June 1936, the ISBS was renamed All India Radio.
On 1 October 1939, the External Service began with a broadcast in Pushtu; it was intended to counter radio propaganda from Germany directed to Afghanistan, Iran and the Arab nations. When India became independent in 1947, the AIR network had only six stations (in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli); three radio stations at Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi fell in the share of Pakistan. the total number of radio sets at that time was about 275,000 in India. On 3 October 1957, the Vividh Bharati Service was launched, to compete with Radio Ceylon. Television broadcasting began in Delhi in 1959 as part of AIR, but was split off from the radio network as Doordarshan on 1 April 1976. FM broadcasting began on 23 July 1977 in Chennai, and was expanded during the 1990s.
AIR has many services in a number of languages, each serving different regions across India.
Vividh Bharati is one of the best-known services of AIR. Its name roughly translates as "Diverse Indian", and it is also known as the Commercial Broadcasting Service (CBS). It is the commercially most accessible of the AIR networks and is popular in Mumbai and other large cities. Vividh Bharati offers a wide range of programmes including news, film music and comedy programs. It operates on different mediumwave-band frequencies for each city.
Some programs broadcast on Vividh Bharati are:Hawa-mahal: Radio plays based on novels and plays
Santogen ki mehfil: Comedy
AIR is planning on revamping the programme in Baluchi language, sources claim.Primary Channel 
The headquarters of the Regional Deputy Directors General are located at Delhi and Chandigarh (NR), Lucknow and Bhopal (CR), Guwahati (NER), Kolkata (ER), Mumbai and Ahmedabad (WR), Chennai and Bangalore (SR). All frequencies are in kHz, unless otherwise noted.
| Parbhani A || 102.0
Details of the transmissions and frequencies are as follows: 0130 - 0230 UTC on 11715 kHz Nepali (Nepal) 0315-0415 UTC on 15185 kHz Hindi, (E.Africa, Mauritius) 0415-0430 UTC on 15185 kHz Gujarati, (E.Africa, Mauritius) 0430-0530 UTC on 15185 kHz Hindi(E.Africa, Mauritius) 1300 - 1500 UTC on 15050 kHz Sinhala (Sri Lanka) 1615-1715 UTC on 15140 kHz Russian (E. Europe) 2245-0045 UTC on 11645 GOS-I English (NE Asia)
Above transmissions are in addition to following existing DRM txn's: 0900-1200 on 6100 Vividh Bharati, DRM NVIS 1745-1945 UTC on 9950 English W. Europe) 1945-2045 UTC on 9950 Hindi (W. Europe) 2045-2230 UTC on 9950 English (W. Europe)
All India Radio launched news-on-phone service on 25 February 1998 in New Delhi; it now has service in Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna and Bangalore. The service is accessible through STD, ISD and local calls. There are plans to establish the service in 11 more cities: Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Guwahati, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ranchi, Shimla and Thiruvananthapuram. English and Hindi hourly news bulletins may be heard live. News in MP3 format may be directly played from the site, and filenames are time-stamped. AIR news bulletins are available in nine regional languages (Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, North East, Punjabi, Telugu and Urdu).
Direct-to-home service is the one in which a large number of channels are digitally compressed, encrypted, uplinked and beamed down over a territory from a very high power satellite. The DTH signals can be received directly at homes with the help of a small sized dish receive unit containing a Dish Antenna installed at the building’s roof-top or on the wall facing clear south and one indoor. DTH service is offered on 21 channels via Insat.
There is a long tradition of documentary features on AIR. There is great interest in radio documentaries, particularly in countries like India, Iran, South Korea and Malaysia. The doyen of English Features was Melville De Mellow and of Hindi Features was Shiv Sagar Mishra. This format has been revived because of its flexibility, cost-cutting capacity, messaging potential and creative potential with producers employed with AIR, all across the nation.
AIR's Central Drama Unit is responsible for the national broadcast of plays. Plays produced by the CDU are translated and produced by regional stations. Since its inception in the 1960s the unit has produced more than 1,500 plays, and the CDU is a repository of old scripts and productions. The National Programme of Plays is broadcast by the CDU of AIR the fourth Thursday of each month at 9.30 pm. On the National Programme of Plays, the same play is produced in 22 Indian languages and broadcast at the same time by all regional and national network stations. The CDU also produces Chain Plays, half-hour dramas broadcast in succession by a chain of stations.
News Service Division's Social Media Cell is responsible for providing AIR news on new media platforms viz. websites, Twitter, Facebook and SMS. Social Media Cell was established on 20 May 2013.