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Vatican Radio Reduces AM, SW Broadcasts

Broadcaster leans toward more dynamic ways of diffusing its message

As of July 1, Vatican Radio will reduce its shortwave and medium-wave transmissions to most of Europe and the Americas.

This announcement came from Director General Fr. Federico Lombardi, who said, “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 transmits its programs in 40 languages via satellite and the Internet. The programs, which are rebroadcast by approximately 1,000 local radio stations on FM and medium-wave in more than 80 countries, are also available live on five Web channels, on-demand and in podcast from the Vatican Radio website.

According to Lombardi, close collaboration between Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center has also led to the development of online 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.

Transmission via satellite, Internet and rebroadcasting, guarantee the widest possible outreach to Vatican Radio’s programming and services explains Lombardi. “This is why Vatican Radio believes the time has come to reduce its reliance on traditional technologies, such as shortwave and medium-wave broadcasts, and to develop its resources in new directions.”

The reduction of shortwave and medium-wave broadcasts to most of Europe and the Americas (areas, he said, that are already well served by local rebroadcasting partners and the Internet) accounts for about 50% of Vatican Radio’s Santa Maria di Galeria Transmission Center’s transmission time and will allow Vatican Radio focus on more innovative technological criteria.

Shortwave broadcasts will be further reduced over the next few years, said Lombardi, “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.”