BBC News reports Vatican Radio – the voice of the Roman Catholic Church – is starting to air ads for the first time in the station’s nearly 80-year history. The first company to run its commercials will be an Italian gas and electricity company – Enel (which is also running ads on CNN International).
Until now Vatican Radio has been wholly funded by the Catholic Church at a cost of some $30m a year. Founded in 1931 by Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi, Vatican Radio is the international broadcast platform for the Catholic Church.
It transmits its programs in 45 languages on FM and the internet with the aim of spreading the message of the Pope and the Church’s Christian teachings.
But the station – like other organizations – it has recently been looking for outside financial help. That has now come in the form of Enel. Its commercials are likely to be in keeping with the measured conservative tone of the station.
In return, Vatican Radio could receive some $250,000 over the next six months. The Vatican has just published its finances, showing that it had a deficit for the second year running. The costs of Vatican Radio were partly to blame for the deficit.