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05-08-2012, 10:56 AM
All India Radio Signature tune.

The first Radio set in our home at Coimbatore was purchased by my father in 1943. It was a six valve HMV Radio of British make, with wooden cabinet. My father told that he selected a set without magic eye, since one valve would be wasted on the magic eye. It had spread bands, (a new innovation) for short wave stations. The Radio set had its own table ( a round one) to sit on in the corner of the hall (living room) area. Our house sported two pole external aerial (antenna) specially mounted on the terrace for the Radio (sort of status symbol !). It was connected to the Radio set by a cable and a "lightning arrester" to prevent shock in case of thunder and lightning.

We applied and got the License from the Postal department to possess a Radio by paying Rs.15/=; believe me you should have a Government License to own a Radio set. A reality checkup by a Postal inspector was done periodically whether we posses a Radio License!.

In those days AIR had only six broadcasting stations, out of this two Radio Stations at Madras and Tricinapoly were broadcasting Tamil Programs in South. The Medium wave Trichy Station was nearer to Coimbatore listeners. During the War time, another important Shortwave station from New Delhi was broadcasting Tamil Programs known as தென்கிழக்காசிய சிற்றலை ஒலிபரப்பு. AIR was even publishing a program schedule fortnightly in Tamil called Vaanoli வானொலி .

In the mornings we were woken-up by the soothing sound of the AIR signature tune played on violin supported by tanpura. You can listen to the enchanting tune in the following website:


This Signature tune was taken in from a Sonata composed by Czech born Prof. Walter Kaufman, Director and Conductor of European Music section of at All India Radio, Bombay (Mumbai) at their studios on Queen's Road, near Marine Lines train station. The violin was played by Mehli Mehta, father of world famous Orchestra conductor Zubin Mehta. This was in the year 1938.
Those were the days Tamil Brahmin Ladies were dressed up in Madisaar so also were the programs of AIR. The codes of conduct were strictly followed under I & B.Minster Mr. B.V.Keskar (interestingly, a student of Sorbonne, Paris). Almost for 12 years no film music was heard from AIR stations. Similarly Harmonium was considered inappropriate for India classical music by AIR since 1940 for a long time.

I request other members to share their nostalgic memories of good old AIR.


05-08-2012, 12:26 PM
I remember a radio inspector will come to all villages too to check the license.
People will fear and hide the new radio sets they have purchased.
Now there are radio stations running without license.

05-08-2012, 06:12 PM
Yes the Radio inspectors from the P & T Department were busy detecting the unlicensed Radios around the Villages and Towns. Now Radios are available in the net, giving 24 hours of music at your choice. It was "Radio Goa", from Panjim (Panaji) which
went for commercial broadcast for the first time, around the sub-continent. It was followed by "Radio Ceylon" from Colombo.
"Akashavaani" was the name of Radio Station at Mysore. Later All India Radio borrowed the name from the Mysore Radio Station only.