Andhra Prabha was started in Chennai on August 15, 1938, by Ramnath Goenka’s Indian Express group and published from towns inside Andhra Pradesh from the 1950s, to challenge the prominence of the leading Telugu newspaper, Andhra Patrika.
In 1960, Andhra Prabha’s circulation was 53,000 for its two editions from Vijayawada and Chittoor. Ten years later, then publishing from Vijayawada and Bangalore, circulation reached 1,16,000, vastly surpassing that of Andhra Patrika.
A reader from Bellary originally suggested the name Andhra Prabha, and the management of the newspaper awarded him with the sum of 116 rupees as a token of their gratitude. The paper was initially edited by Khasa Subba Rao (joint editor of Indian Express) who was succeeded by Nyayapati Narayana Murthy. In 1942, Narla Venkateswara Rao was promoted from news-editor to editor of the paper. He held this position for seventeen years, a period of time that is considered epochal in Telugu journalism.
He was responsible for many revolutionary changes in headline and caption writing, in the framing of action photos, in news display and in page make-up. It was during Narla’s editorship that the paper was closed down for a brief period during the Quit India Movement. The newspaper was shut down for a few months in order to protest the British Government’s attempt to impose censorship on the press.
The Andhra Prabha was also banned from the State of Mysore and the State of Hyderabad because it opposed the feudal nature of these regimes. Narla later tendered his resignation when he had a falling out with Ramnath Goenka over his sympathy with the workers in the press which resulted in a strike in Chennai. He was succeeded by Neelamraju Venkataseshaiah. Venkataseshaiah was succeeded by Panditharadhyula Nageswara Rao, from 1969–1976.