Radio: India's Ear

Sprawling, spawning, polyglot India is a tough territory for radio. Its 352,837,778 inhabitants, 89% of them rural, speak some 225 languages and assorted dialects of each. No receiving sets are manufactured in India, and a 50% duty makes their import prohibitive. Finally, electric power is scarce and only battery sets can be generally used.

In spite of these handicaps, in 1926 two private companies set up transmitters, began broadcasting from Bombay and Calcutta. They might as well have broadcast into a dead mike. The two companies had a known audience of only 3,000 licensed...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!