Vatican Radio: New Communications Strategies

2012-06-12 Vatican Radio

Announcing Vatican Radio’s intention to reduce its Short and Medium Wave transmissions to most of Europe and the Americas, starting July 1st, the Director General, Fr Federico Lombardi, today spoke of what he called, “A new chapter in the history of Vatican Radio” as it evolves “from Short Waves to new communications strategies”.

Here is the full text of his comments.

“After celebrating its 80th birthday last year, Vatican Radio is ready to open a new chapter in its history by committing its message of service to the Gospel and the Church to new communication technologies.

Vatican Radio’s 40 different language programmes can currently be received via satellite and the internet, and are rebroadcast by around a thousand local radio stations on FM or Medium Wave in over 80 countries around the world.

They are also available live on five web channels, on demand and in podcast, from Vatican Radio’s website at www.vaticanradio.va

Written reports and texts on the website represent 40 languages in 13 different alphabets and provide a wealth of information. Daily RSS feeds and newsletters are sent to subscribers in a variety of languages, including Chinese, Hindi and Tamil, aside from European languages.

Close collaboration between Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Centre has led to the development of on-line video services and an innovative instrument called the “Vatican Player”, which offers sound and images of Papal events, live and on demand, texts and written reports related to those events, and a permanent link to the Pope’s Agenda of public activities. The Vatican Player allows websites all over the world to receive and redistribute images, sound and text concerning the Pope and the Holy See, on a regular basis.

The 24-hour “Vatican Radio Live” channel has a strong audience on FM in the Rome area and on DAB and DAB+ in most of Italy, and encourages ongoing dialogue between life and culture in Italy and the Catholic Church in the country.

Webcasting and satellite transmissions, along with rebroadcasting by local, regional and national radio stations, guarantee the widest possible outreach to Vatican Radio’s programming and services. Which is why Vatican Radio believes the time has come to reduce its reliance on traditional technologies, like Short and Medium Wave broadcasts, and to develop its resources in new directions.

On July 1st, Short and Medium Wave broadcasts from Vatican Radio’s Santa Maria di Galeria Transmission Centre, to most of Europe and the Americas, will be suspended. These areas of the world are already well served by Vatican Radio’s local rebroadcasting partners and by widespread internet access to its services and language programming.

The reduction of Short and Medium Wave broadcasts to these areas accounts for about 50% of the Centre’s transmission time and will allow Vatican Radio to restructure the Centre according to more innovative technological criteria. Short Wave broadcasts will be further reduced over the next few years – but not at the expense of those poor, needy and suffering parts of the world (like Africa, the Middle East and Asia) which have no alternative means of receiving news of the Church and the voice of the Pope.

Over the next few days, Vatican Radio’s language programmes will be informing their listeners of these changes, indicating alternative ways by which traditional Short and Medium Wave users can listen and benefit from Vatican Radio’s services.

Vatican Radio’s international Short and Medium Wave broadcasts have made a priceless contribution to the history of the Church, especially in 20th century Europe where they were a source of strength and encouragement for nations oppressed by war and totalitarian regimes. As this unique service is gradually phased out, making way for new communications technologies, it is important to thank those who dedicated their hearts and minds to it for so long – and for the good of so many.