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Vatican Radio to Launch Web Radio on 90th Anniversary

Vatican Radio’s headquarters, pictured on Jan. 14, 2015. Credit: Bohumil Petrik/CNA.

Vatican Radio will launch a 24-hour web radio to mark its 90th anniversary on Friday.

The web radio, debuting Feb. 12, will make Vatican Radio broadcasts available over the internet in English, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Armenian. 

The broadcasts will also be available via the Radio Vaticana app. Vatican Radio already transmits via radio waves, shortwave, satellite, DAB+, and digitally.

Vatican Radio will also launch a “reworked” website on Friday, according to Vatican News.

Vatican Radio was established by Pope Pius XI on Feb. 12, 1931. The Italian inventor and electrical engineer Guglielmo Marconi designed and built the radio.

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The first transmission was sent in Morse code: the words “In nomine Domini, Amen,” Latin for “in the name of the Lord, Amen.” Then, after a brief introduction by Marconi, Pope Pius XI gave the first papal message by radio, delivered in Latin.

The radio was given to the Jesuit order to manage until 2017. Today it transmits in 41 languages. 

“Even today Vatican Radio is moving toward the future while preserving its originality and its identity,” Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Vatican communications department, said in a press release on Tuesday.

The web radio, he said, “will allow anyone in the world to listen to Vatican Radio in their own language from their own smartphone or computer.”

Vatican Radio’s website was one of several consolidated under the Vatican News media platform at the end of 2017, following Pope Francis’ major reform of Vatican communications.

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Massimiliano Menichetti, director of Vatican Radio, said that in addition to radio commentaries, the office has created new programs, podcasts, and audiobooks.

“The reform the pope desired projected us toward a new dimension in which we are no longer solely a radio, but an integrated reality still progressing,” he said.

“Vatican Radio’s personnel, who come from 69 nations, were the reason why the Vatican News web portal was born where articles, video, photos, audio, and social media can be found.”

“Our mission has always been not to leave anyone alone and to bring the hope of the Christian proclamation, the voice of the pope, and to interpret events in the light of the Gospel,” Menichetti said.

In his message for World Communications Day, released on Jan. 23, Pope Francis spoke about the internet in the context of journalism, calling it “a powerful tool, which demands that all of us be responsible as users and consumers.”

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“Potentially we can all become witnesses to events that otherwise would be overlooked by the traditional media, offer a contribution to society, and highlight more stories, including positive ones,” he said.

The pope said that all Christians face a challenge: “to communicate by encountering people, where they are and as they are.”