The radio industry has a rich history in India, starting from its establishment in 1927 with the Indian Broadcasting Company (later renamed All India Radio). Initially limited in language and coverage, All India Radio quickly expanded its reach and became a primary source of entertainment and news for Indians.
The entry of private players in the 1990s brought a fresh perspective to the industry. These players introduced new programming formats, targeting specific audience segments and bringing increased popularity to FM radio. The liberalization of the Indian economy led to the commercialization of the radio industry, with private companies operating FM radio stations across the country.
Today, the radio industry in India has undergone significant evolution. With over 350 private FM radio stations catering to diverse audience segments, the industry has embraced digital technology by streaming programs online. The rise of podcasting has also provided new avenues for the radio industry. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated FM transmitters to increase radio connectivity in remote areas, emphasizing the continued importance of radio in connectivity initiatives.
Partho Dasgupta, the former CEO of BARC India and current Managing Partner at Thoth Advisors, acknowledges the significance of radio in connectivity and its ability to adapt to technological changes. The hosting of “Mann Ki Baat” by PM Modi on All India Radio exemplifies the continued importance placed on radio. Additionally, the availability of educational courses in local languages on FM radio demonstrates the unique content dissemination opportunities radio offers.
While the radio industry may not constantly make headlines, its ability to adapt and remain relevant showcases its enduring presence. Radio continues to hold a special place in the hearts of listeners, providing unexpected surprises and nostalgia, and it continues to play a vital role in information, entertainment, and connectivity in India.