Vatican Radio Sells Advertising Time

Italian Energy Company Enel Is 1st Customer

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 28, 2009 ( For the first time in 80 years, Vatican Radio has decided to transmit advertisements.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, announced this development Tuesday in a press conference.

The openness of the radio station to advertising «is not a novelty,» he explained, and the goals of the station remain the same: to spread the message of the Pope and the magisterium, and report their activities.

Most of the commercials will be transmitted over the 105 FM channel in Rome, which is also available over the Internet, known as «One-O-Five Live.»

The first company to advertise on the channel is Enel, an Italian energy provider that serves some 49 million power and gas customers in 22 countries.

The organization’s chairman, Pietro Gnudi, appeared at the press conference and explained that Vatican Radio’s international character is what motivated the company to advertise with them.

He acknowledged that it is an honor to advertise his company on the station, and noted the shared values between the Vatican and Enel, an organization that seeks more than the financial gain of its investors.

Bishop Renato Boccardo, secretary of the Governor’s Office for Vatican City State, expressed hope about the possibilities implied by this initiative. He also reported that the Vatican has an agreement with Enel for the restoration of the Bernini colonnade in St. Peter’s Square.

Father Lombardi explained that in the past the radio station has been dependent on the Vatican for funding, but that the advertising program is expected to help cover its costs in the future.

He stated that the annual budget of the station, which transmits its programs in 45 languages, is around €20 million [$28.9 million], and that the commercials will bring in an estimated €100,000 to €200,000 [$139,000 to $279,000] in the first six months.

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