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.
The National Channel of All India Radio located in Delhi broadcasts programmes which are heard on Medium Wave and also on Short Wave. Started on 18th May 1988, this channel works as a night service from 6.50 PM to 6.10 AM the next morning. Broadcasting in Hindi, Urdu and English, the programme composition of the channel has been designed to make it representative of the cultural mosaic and ethos of the country.
The Regional Stations in different States form the middle tier of broadcasting. They originate programmes in the regional languages and dialects. Regional Channels are located in the major linguistic-cultural region of every state. 116 Regional Channels are spread over 29 states & 6 Union Territories including the North-Eastern Service at Shillong that projects the vibrant cultural heritage of the North-Eastern region of this country. The Regional Channels, broadcast largely on the Medium Wave frequency, follow a composite programme pattern comprising of music - classical, light, folk and film, News and Current Affairs, Radio plays, features, Farm and Home programmes, programmes on Health & Family Welfare and programmes for Woman, Children etc.
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 mouth piece of the local community. At present there are 86 Local Stations
spread across the country.