The first Radio Sangeet Sammelan on All India Radio was held in 1957. Over 20 years before that a professor of psychology was trying to get his then nine-year-old son to sing something into the microphone to inaugurate the professor’s private radio station in Mysore.
The boy forgot his lines and started crying. That particular sammelan may not have taken off but Professor M V Gopalaswamy nurtured his passion for radio transmission and achieved something immortal – he set up India’s first private radio station, in Mysore.
He is recognised as the first person to have used the work ‘Akashvani’ for a radio transmission. Akashvani was adopted as the official name of All India Radio in 1957, exactly 50 years ago.
The professor was caught by the romance of airwaves when he came across an unused 50 watt transmitter.
Prof Gopalaswamy set to work on it and in September 1935, his room in ‘Vithala Vihar’ in Mysore’s Vontikoppal area became a radio station. He called the station ‘Akashvani’. He invited singers to come to his house and in return for music rendered the artistes were sent off with tambula and respect.
Gopalaswamy, then serving under the Maharaja of Mysore, also invited his brother-in-law to give a talk on radio.The young man used this opportunity to vent his discontent against the Maharaja.
So levid was the professor that he threw the relative out of the house! And it took six-months of conciliatary efforts on the part of the family to get the speaker back into the house.
Gopalaswamy soon imported a 250-watt transmitter.The station continued with support from the public and the Mysore Municipality till it was taken over by the Mysore State in 1941.
The enterprising Dr Gopalaswamy had also established the department of Psychology at the University of Mysore in 1924 after obtaining his Ph D in London under psychologist Dr Charles Spearman. The department is recognised as being the second oldest department of psychology in the country.
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