Vatican Radio: Propagation by the Airwaves

Vatican Radio: Propagation by the Airwaves

Vatican Radio: Propagation by the Airwaves

Vatican Radio: Propagation by the Airwaves

Excerpt

In 1991, while compiling material for an upcoming Variety yearbook, I came across an interesting article written by Erik Amfitheatrof. His subject was Vatican Radio, and the article chronicled over sixty years of its existence as the world's oldest transnational broadcast service. As I read the article more carefully, I was intrigued by the fact that while this system was the first of its kind in radio history, very little had been written about it, at least in English. I decided to make it my goal to write a critical history about the Vatican and its use of media, specifically Vatican Radio, to help propagate the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

My first step in this process was to go directly to the most primary source of information on the topic -- Reverend Pasquale Borgomeo (S.J.), the director general of Vatican Radio. I wrote to him twice: once for printed material and a second time to request a visit to the archives and interviews with personnel at the radio's site. Father Borgomeo happily fulfilled my initial needs of pamphlets, booklets, and articles (most of which, incidentally, were written in Italian). Unfortunately, however, he was less than enthusiastic about my proposed visit. In March 1993, after several months of waiting, I finally received a reply from Father Borgomeo:

Thank you very much for your letter of January 27 and for your interest in Vatican Radio. After reading you with attention, it is my opinion that we can hardly help your research. As a matter of fact printed archives concerning Vatican Radio's administration until 1986, can be found only in the General administrative archives of Vatican City, while documents concerning the Station's policy are kept in the archives of the Secretariat of State. Both are unfortunately not open to the public.

For what deals with recent history, particularly with regard to politics, not enough time has passed to allow us to put at the disposal of anyone for research either printed material or declarations of any type. For this point I refer to the interviews you would like to get from executives here.

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