Time and technology are changing the way Rome communicates with the world — and this summer will see a radical shift.
Vatican Radio will end its short- and medium-wave broadcasts to Europe and North and South America July 1, and a month later the Vatican press office will close the Vatican Information Service, a multilingual daily summary of papal speeches and appointments.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office and of Vatican Radio, announced the changes June 12, saying they were responses to developments in technology and would save the Vatican money.
The changes at Vatican Radio, he said, should save the Vatican “hundreds of thousands” of dollars just in electricity bills each year. But the radio station is not reducing the number of programs or the 40 languages in which the programs are produced.
The decision to stop the short- and medium-wave broadcasts reflect the fact that Europe, North and South America are well covered by local radio stations that re-broadcast Vatican Radio programs and a large portion of their populations have access to radio programs via the internet.
Short- and medium-wave broadcasts to Africa, parts of the Middle East and Asia will continue, he said, because fewer people have access to the Internet there and most of the stations rebroadcasting Vatican Radio programs are located only in big cities.
“Over the course of the 20th century, the international short- and medium-wave transmissions of Vatican Radio were a service of inestimable value in the history of the church — especially in Europe — supporting those populations oppressed by war and totalitarianism,” Father Lombardi said.