on/off the air

off the air

not broadcasting (a radio or television program). The radio audience won't hear what you say when you're off the air. When the performers were off the air, the director told them how well they had done.
See also: air, off

on the air

broadcasting (a radio or television program). The radio station came back on the air shortly after the storm. We were on the air for two hours.
See also: air, on

off the air

Not being broadcast, as in Once they knew they were off the air, the panelists burst out laughing. This idiom, along with the antonym on the air ("being broadcast"), dates from the 1920s, air being considered a medium for radio-wave transmission.
See also: air, off

on the air

see under off the air.
See also: air, on

on (or off) the air

being (or not being) broadcast on radio or television.
See also: air, on

ˌon/ˌoff the ˈair

(being) broadcast/not (being) broadcast on radio or television: ‘Going Live’ will go off the air for the summer, returning for a new series in the autumn.
See also: air, off, on