SAN MARINO: The republic’s TV will cover Italy

The republic's TV will cover Italy
In the press release published on its website, the San Marino broadcaster does not mention the two radio stations that broadcast from Monte Titano: Radio San Marino (102.7 MHz) and Radio San Marino Classic (103.2 MHz): will these also be broadcast on digital terrestrial TV?

RTV San Marino will get frequencies from Rai to cover the Italian territory. During a meeting of the board of directors of the Italian public broadcaster, held on June 30, 2021, the proposal to transfer frequencies to the San Marino station was unanimously approved. The general manager of RTV San Marino, Carlo Romeo, recalls that thirty years ago it was the then general manager of Rai Sergio Zavoli who aired this possibility. The agreement between the two governments is now awaited, essential for the decision to become operative. It will probably have to wait until 2023, when, with the passage to DVB T2, Rai’s increased availability of transmissions will allow it to host the San Marino station in its multiplex, thus enabling it to serve the peninsula.

ITALY: Radio and television sector radiography

Radio and television sector radiography
The study on the radio and television sector in Italy, drawn up by Confindustria Radio Televisioni, examines 40 national and 691 local radio and television operators, of which 287 television and 404 radio

The Confindustria Radio Televisioni association has published the “Economic study of the private radio and television sector“, which from 2020 presents in a single volume the national and local radio and television operators (previously two publications were prepared). The study examines the financial statements filed with the Chambers of Commerce by joint-stock companies (thus excluding community broadcasters, which are not required to publish them), providing a picture of the most structured part of the radio and television industry, within which very different companies coexist. The sector is in a stabilization phase, after two economic crises (2008 and 2012), the entry of some reforms (including that of the fee and contributions to local broadcasting) and a changed competitive environment, due to the rise of OTT platforms that (like Netflix) distribute content via the internet. The financial statements are for 2018, as it was necessary to wait until a fair number were available for the study to be representative.

A summary of key trends can be read here, while the full volume can be downloaded here.

GERMANY: Visual radio lands on satellite (and it’s a boom in Italy)

Schlager Radio can be received on FM, on the digital band on DAB+, via cable, via satellite
Schlager Radio can be received on FM, via DAB+, via cable, via satellite. As well as being available on the web, via a dedicated app, and can be listened to on smart speakers

Berlin-based Schlager Radio has announced the launch of its own visual radio station, which will be receivable via satellite on Astra and with a smart TV connected to the internet. The station’s intention is to offer additional information, such as displaying the title of the song being broadcast. “The aim”, says press spokesman Heiner Harke, “is to offer our listeners visual added value without being a TV programme“.

Boom in Italy

In Italy, on the other hand, live video broadcasts from radio stations are almost like television programmes and are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, around 19 million Italians now follow them on a screen (TV, smartphone or PC), 11 million of whom use TV. And according to the Censis research “La transizione verso la radiovisione” (“The transition towards radiovision”) “visual radio is strongly in tune with the expectations of Italians: 52% declare that they would like to have more and more the possibility to enjoy radio contents on different devices also in video format. And 50% of those who follow radiovision find it pleasant, 27.5% engaging, 24% innovative”. 

In Italy, the forerunner was RTL 102.5, which has 1.1 million listeners of its video version (1.8 million during lockdown). Many local radio stations followed.
Rai has also inaugurated live video broadcasts from September 2020 on Radio2. In 2021 it will be the turn of Radio1 and, progressively, other channels of the public broadcaster Source

Public radio also adapts in Switzerland

Switzerland’s Rete Uno began broadcasting in April 2021, announcing it in a statement on its Facebook account

ITALY: Aid to broadcasters should be distributed fairly

Aid to broadcasters should be distributed fairly
The article in Start Magazine examines in detail the decision of the guarantor on funds for broadcasters

The 50 million EUR allocated by the Italian government to support broadcasters affected by the drastic drop in advertising due to the pandemic have not been distributed fairly. Stopping the decision of the old executive (Conte II) is Agcom, the Italian Communications Authority. The “Fund for emergencies relating to local broadcasters” had been established by Article 195 of the Decree Law of May 19, 2020, but the implementing decree had been issued by the Ministry of Economic Development only on October 12, 2020. The text defined the procedures for the allocation of the contribution, reserving 95% of the resources for the first hundred television stations in the ranking, and dividing the remaining 5% among those from the hundredth place onwards.  This choice, which had already aroused controversy, was rejected by Agcom because it could create market distortions, and the authority hopes to divide it into two portions: one among all the broadcasters meeting the eligibility requirements, in proportion to the score in the ranking list, and the other, in equal parts among the broadcasters, taking care to ensure that the latter portion of resources has a sufficient amount to guarantee adequate subsidizing for the smaller broadcasters.

VATICAN CITY: The Pope’s radio has been on the air for ninety years

The Pope's radio has been on the air for ninety years
Guglielmo Marconi and Pope Pius XI portrayed in a vintage photo while inaugurating the Vatican station.

It was February 12, 1931, when at 4:49 p.m. the first broadcast of the station was aired from Vatican City. On the notes of Christus Vincit, the “Statio Radiofonica Vaticana” thus emits its first wail. In the first message, “In Nomine Domini” (In the name of God), Pope Pius XI recited a prayer-appeal in Latin that called upon creation and the suffering, God and rulers, rich and poor, subjects and workers to gather before the “admirable Marconian invention”. The transmitter was designed by Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the radio, whom the Pope named a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Pius XI had already been thinking about providing the Church with a radio station since 1925, but this was made possible by the Lateran Pacts of 1929, which entrusted the Italian State with the commitment to provide the Church with radiotelegraphic, radiotelephone, telephone and postal services. The management was entrusted to the Jesuits and the direction to Father Giuseppe Gianfranceschi, rector of the Gregorian University and scientist.

More details in the service of La Voce e il Tempo.

ITALY: Radiofreccia becomes a commercial broadcaster

Radiofreccia becomes a commercial broadcaster
The article published on Prima Comunicazione Online, with statements by Lorenzo Suraci, now owner of Radiofreccia

Although in December 2020 he told Prima Comunicazione “it is not a gift”, Lorenzo Suraci, publisher of nationwide RTL 102.5 and Radio Zeta (a so-called “superstation”), then took advantage of the opportunity offered by Law 176/2020, which allows a national network to transform a community licence into a commercial one. It thus had Radiofreccia purchased by RTL 102.5, making it its second licence and transforming it from a national community radio station into a commercial one. This removes the advertising limit of 10% per hour, which can be raised to 20%.

Reconstructing the history of the broadcaster7

The Newslinet article examines the transformation of the licence from a legal point of view

In July 2016, Mediaset took control (72.12%) of the Finelco Group (owner of Radio 105 and Virgin Radio) and formed a partnership with RMC-Radio Monte Carlo (later acquired in 2018), exceeding 10 million listeners on the average day (including R101, already owned by the group). Suraci, who can count on the 7 million listeners of RTL 102.5 (first in Italy for ratings) and Radio Zeta, found himself bypassed. In order to counter the firepower of Mediaset, which can sell advertising on its radio stations on a “package” basis, he tried to grow his group by buying Radio Padania (a Lega Nord station with a national community licence) for 2.1 million euros, transforming it into Radiofreccia, a station with a rock format. The community licence allows the broadcaster to turn on hundreds of repeaters without buying them from other radio stations (the law was tailored to favour the Lega Nord and allow it to extend Radio Padania’s coverage throughout the Peninsula), but limits advertising to 10% per hour. Now the “cap” has been blown off, and the only national community radio station remains Radio Maria, which has never used this loophole to turn on new equipment.

ITALY: To promote DAB, FM radio reception is being removed from mobile phones

to promote dab, remove FM radio from mobile phone
The magazine Newsline reported about the message displayed by Samsung smartphone to their owners before downloading the new update that would have disabled the FM radio reception

A boomerang effect has been caused by the government decree that, in order to promote the development of DAB radio, requires radio manufacturers to stop selling devices in 2021 if they were not equipped with a digital receiver. This includes smartphones equipped with an FM tuner. Samsung (which has almost 40% of the market) has circumvented the regulatory requirement by deactivating the FM receiver with a change to its operating system. Moreover, the legislation (which applies only in Italy) would have required manufacturers to fit a digital receiver and antenna only to devices sold in Italy.

While this may seem a necessary action for newly sold devices, it seems pretty strange that it is applied to devices that have been sold before the law came into effect.

SLOVAKIA Increase in the radio and TV fee: will it be the right time?

Buongiorno Slovakia, an online newspaper published in Italian since 2009, talks about the proposed increase in the radio and television licence fee and the difficulties of approval after similar initiatives had been rejected in recent years Source

RTVS, radio and television of Slovakia (Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska) has accounts in the red. In the last ten years, attempts have been made several times to adjust the canon to make up for it, but they have always failed. The last one was in 2016, when the Minister of Culture proposed to raise it to 7 EUR (about 50% more). Today citizens pay 4.64 EUR per month, pensioners 2.32 EUR, rates set 17 years ago. The current proposal (to go up to 8.5 EUR, 83% more) will have a long and difficult path: to be approved, it will have to pass the inter-ministerial evaluation, reach the Council of Ministers and finally be voted by Parliament. More details here

There is also controversy in Germany

In Germany from 2013 the cost of the annual fee is set at 17.50 EUR per month, with plans to rise to 18.36 EUR from 2021

When you touch up a concession fee it is never roses and flowers. In Germany in 2022 the increase will only be 86 Cents per month, but in Saxony there is resistance from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Eurosceptic nationalists of AFD (Alternative für Deutschland). The newspaper Nordbayern warns of the possible convergence between the two political forces to block the increase; an approach defined as “typically East German”. But Nordbayern is also critical of those who minimize it by saying that the figure is modest, because in both cases the management of public service is not questioned. This is something to be said about, because during the pandemic (according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Passau) the ARD and ZDF networks with their special programmes created a climate of permanent threat without sufficiently questioning the measures taken by the government.

The situation in other European countries

The AGI service compares the cost of the fee in different European countries. In the photo, the bronze horse, five metres high, work of the Sicilian sculptor Francesco Messina installed in 1966 in front of the historical headquarters of the RAI in Rome, Viale Mazzini 14, has become the symbol of the public broadcaster

In Italy, according to a study by Anci (Association of Italian Municipalities) conducted in 2011, the radio and television fee was the most hated tax: it was evaded by 25% of the population. To avoid it, in 2016 the Renzi government reduced it from 116.50 to 90 EUR per year and linked the payment to the electricity bill. In France the annual fee is 139 EUR, but advertising has been abolished from the public networks. In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, the fee is £157.50 (173.50 EUR), and if you use a black and white TV set, reduced to £53. In Spain the tax was abolished in 2010, but according to a study by the University of Santiago de Compostela, it costs citizens 98.80 EUR in fees. More details and rates from other European countries can be found in the article published by AGI Agenzia Giornalistica Italia. Curious also the case of Austria: the amount is not uniform, but between 41.86 EUR in Oberösterreich / Vorarlberg and 53.46 EUR in Steiermark.

Le nuove autoradio possono far aumentare gli ascolti


FM tuners showing the logo of the broadcasters are being used in the cars. For broadcasters who manage to make the most of technology, it is an opportunity to increase ratings. But some systems rely just on RDS, which was not designed for this purpose: This can create serious image damage to a broadcaster. But to eliminate them you can turn to the experts.

L’articolo (In Italiano)

Si diffondono sulle vetture i sintonizzatori FM che mostrano il logo delle emittenti. Un’opportunità gratuita che aiuta gli editori ad aumentare la notorietà e gli ascolti. E quando il marchio non appare o è sbagliato ci si può rivolgere agli esperti

Una Classe A con il sistema multimediale MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). Presentato dalla casa tedesca al Consumer Electronic Show di Las Vegas nel 2017, usa l'intelligenza artificiale e attualmente è il sistema più evoluto
Una Classe A con il sistema multimediale MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). Presentato dalla casa tedesca al Consumer Electronic Show di Las Vegas nel 2017, usa l’intelligenza artificiale e attualmente è il sistema più evoluto

Nel 2013 sono apparse le prime autoradio che consentono di scegliere la stazione preferita in FM cliccando sui logo visualizzati sullo schermo. La funzione, ispirata dai sintonizzatori Dab (che mostrano i marchi delle radio ricevibili), rende l’impianto multimediale più accattivante e aumenta la sicurezza di guida, perché al conducente basta un colpo d’occhio per individuare la stazione preferita, e non è obbligato a distogliere lo sguardo dalla strada per leggere dall’RDS che radio ha sintonizzato.

Nel sistema multimediale della Volkswagen Golf il logo resta visualizzato sulla destra della mappa del navigatore insieme ad altri comandi audio e per il telefono
Nel sistema multimediale della Volkswagen Golf il logo viene visualizzato a destra della mappa insieme ad altri comandi audio e per il telefono

Questa innovazione dà un vantaggio non indifferente agli editori, perché offre gratuitamente la possibilità di diffondere il proprio marchio e di farlo riconoscere (la brand awareness, uno degli indicatori che misurano il successo di un’azienda). Se il marchio è ben progettato, infatti, è facilmente riconoscibile e viene memorizzato con facilità. E se poi è accattivante, può attrarre l’attenzione e consentire di intercettare nuovi ascoltatori.

Un’immagine ad hoc per ogni sistema

Per sintonizzare una stazione si clicca su uno dei marchi che appaiono sullo schermo.
Per sintonizzare una stazione si clicca su uno dei marchi che appaiono sullo schermo.

Per sfruttare al meglio queste opportunità, va tenuto conto che ogni sistema ha caratteristiche diverse, e alcuni parametri (come i colori dello sfondo) non devono essere trascurati nello studio della grafica. Occorre inoltre privilegiare la leggibilità, eliminando elementi che nelle dimensioni del piccolo schermo non risulterebbero decifrabili (come lo slogan o la frequenza, se scritte molto in piccolo). Meglio optare per un simbolo grafico o un disegno, purché stilizzato e ben riconoscibile.

E se il logo non appare?

L'autoradio mostra solo l'RDS di TSN di Sondrio (Tele Sondrio News) ma non il logo, come per le altre radio
L’autoradio mostra solo l’RDS di TSN di Sondrio (Tele Sondrio News) ma non il logo, come per le altre emittenti

Alcuni sistemi, pur essendo molto diffusi (come quelli montati sulle vetture del gruppo Volkswagen, che comprende le vetture Porsche, Seat, Skoda e le Audi prodotte fino al settembre del 2019), sono soggetti a dei problemi tecnici che possono penalizzare gli editori. Le anomalie in genere dipendono dal fatto che questi apparecchi non utilizzano il Gps (o appositi algoritmi, previsti negli apparati più evoluti) per evitare i conflitti tra le emittenti. Non sono rari anche gli errori dovuti all’aggiornamento del database: come quando non viene visualizzato il marchio dell’emittente o ne viene mostrato uno ormai datato.

Per chi non c’è è un serio danno d’immagine

Sintonizzando Radio Sound di Piacenza, viene visualizzato l'RDS ma appare il logo di Radio City di Paternò, località in provincia di Catania
Sintonizzando Radio Sound di Piacenza, viene visualizzato l’RDS ma appare il logo di Radio City di Paternò, località in provincia di Catania

Ma l’anomalia più grave si verifica quando lo schermo mostra l’RDS dell’emittente abbinandolo al logo di un’altra stazione. Un problema serio, perché l’ascoltatore può essere indotto in errore: potrebbe pensare che la radio non sia ricevibile e orientare la propria scelta su un’altra. Per cercare la radio preferita e memorizzarla dovrà ricorrere alla sintonia manuale della frequenza, e comunque vedrà sempre il marchio di una radio concorrente al posto di quella che ha scelto. Questa incompatibilità si può eliminare, ma non può prescindere da un’analisi preventiva dei database della vettura dove si verifica per individuarne la causa e le soluzioni.

Il supporto degli esperti

Sulla piattaforma Etermin sono disponibili le varie tipologie di servizi offerti per risolvere i problemi con i logo
Sulla piattaforma Etermin sono disponibili le varie tipologie di servizi offerti per risolvere i problemi con i logo

Per eliminare le incompatibilità ci si può rivolgere a un gruppo di esperti. Radio Data Center, società tedesca leader nel settore, con otto marchi automobilistici supportati, su richiesta di diversi editori che volevano limitare i danni di immagine, ha analizzato il problema dei sistemi Volkswagen (che non assiste direttamente). Gli editori che notano dei problemi (direttamente o attraverso le segnalazioni degli ascoltatori) dei problemi, hanno la possibilità di chiedere una consulenza breve, un’analisi approfondita delle problematiche e l’individuazione delle soluzioni. Per farlo possono accedere alla piattaforma Etermin, dove è possibile prenotare ciascun servizio all’indirizzo E-Termin Radio Data Center GmbH.

RADIOSTORY: Chiude la radio dopo 43 anni. Ma riparte da “pirata” due giorni dopo

ABSTRACT (English)

The world of radio continues to give beautiful and incredible stories, such as the one starring Giancarlo Guardabassi, publisher of Radio Aut Marche. After 43 years of activity, the business goes into crisis. The frequencies are sold and broadcasting ends on 31 December, 2019. But two days later the publisher and presenter turns the transmitter back on and starts again, calling himself a “pirate”.

Article (In Italiano)
Dalla pagina Facebook della radio, una suggestiva immagine di Giancarlo Guardabassi in studio
Dalla pagina Facebook della radio, una suggestiva immagine di Giancarlo Guardabassi in studio
Fonte: Radio Aut Marche

Il mondo della radiofonia continua a regalare a storie belle e incredibili, come quella che vede come protagonista Giancarlo Guardabassi, editore di Radio Aut Marche

Il post apparso l'1 gennaio sulla pagina Facebook della radio, nella quale si spiegava agli ascoltatori la decisione di chiudere e la nostalgia del primo giorno di inattività
Il post apparso l’1 gennaio sulla pagina Facebook della radio, nella quale si spiegava agli ascoltatori la decisione di chiudere e la nostalgia del primo giorno di inattività
Fonte: Radio Aut Marche
Il post sulla pagina Facebook con il quale due giorni dopo è stata annunciata la ripresa dei programmi
Il post sulla pagina Facebook con il quale due giorni dopo è stata annunciata la ripresa dei programmi
Fonte: Radio Aut Marche

La nascita delle radio libere italiane è stata un’epopea: dal 1975 si andava letteralmente all’arrembaggio dell’etere. Niente regole su frequenze e potenze, finché nel 90 la legge Mammì mise fine al far west. Nel frattempo i giovani pionieri venivano progressivamente sostituiti da editori o fagocitati dai network, e la concorrenza spietata sui prezzi della pubblicità iniziava a minare le basi di sussistenza. Con gli anni sarebbero subentrate la stanchezza e la crisi.

Tra i pionieri c’era anche un conduttore affermato della Rai, Giancarlo Guardabassi, cantante, autore, che nel 1976 decise di aprire la sua emittente. Aveva appena presentato il Festival di Sanremo ed era al culmine del successo, ma decise di fare la sua radio nelle Marche. Dopo 43 anni sono state vendute le frequenze e successivamente è arrivata la chiusura. Un percorso comune a piccole e grandi emittenti (Radio Aut Marche aveva una copertura regionale). Ma dopo la trasmissione di addio, il 31 dicembre 2019, Giancarlo Guardabassi ha riacceso il trasmettitore: il 2 gennaio 2020, sull’unica frequenza non ceduta, i 100.5 di Francavilla d’Ete, ha ripreso a trasmettere, come lui si definisce, da “pirata” solitario.

Altre immagini dalla pagina della radio
Altre immagini dalla pagina della radio
Fonte: Radio Aut Marche

Il profilo di Giancarlo Guardabassi pubblicato sul sito della radio. La storia invece si può leggere qui.

Fabrizio Carnevalini