Though the number of listeners are coming down due to the entry of television, the AIR still enjoys patronage. Keeping its popularity in view, the Prasar Bharati has selected the AIR in the city for the country’s first 100 KW digital transmitters, which will remove all the noises caused by electrical or other atmospheric disturbances and provide better reception quality than Frequency Modulated (FM) channels up to 100 km aerial distance. The new transmitter is expected to improve the quality of programmes for the main station--Vividh Bharati and the Krishnaveni FM. The bifurcation had also strengthened the AIR by the grant of a 10 KW transmitter exclusively for the Rainbow Krishnaveni FM channel, which is getting ready at the Kondapalli Fort. This would also ensure that Vividh Bharati will be available on the FM frequency in all probability by end of December.
Started on December 1, 1948, the AIR Vijayawada reaches out to listeners of Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, West Godavari and East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh and Khammam and Nalgonda districts of the Telangana State.
Shows such as Yuva Vani and Paadi Pantalu were the most favourites among the listeners, particularly those from the rural areas. People used to gather at the community radio in villages to listen to the radio. Having a radio at home was a dream. But most villages had the community radio fixed at the gram panchayat office or the residence of the village sarpanch. Not many families had individual radios, but there were many who were listeners.
The afternoon broadcasts and those from the Ceylon (Sri Lanka) station post noon were the special attraction for those who work from home. Even daily wage labourers used to carry the radio and work listening to the programmes. The Vividh Bharati channel of the All India Radio too had its own connoisseurs. The channel’s songs aired both in the morning and evening had many lovers and people used to write post cards requesting Vividh Bharati to play the songs of their choice.
Sunday’s play in the afternoon remained an all time hit with people sitting in front of the radio to listen to the hour-long play broadcast in the main station. The stage art loving listeners used to lap up the programme.
After the bifurcation, the Andhra Pradesh government had dedicated the AIR building in honour of Pingali Venkaiah, the creator of the national flag. The new name for the AIR building in the city, Pingali Venkaiah Bhavan, was dedicated to the people on September 27 by the Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs M Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, reassuring its services to the audience.