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Rai — Radiotelevisione italiana S.p.A.
Spa (State Owned)
Industry Media
Genre TV Broadcasting
Founded 1924; 96 years ago (1924) (as URI), 1944; 76 years ago (1944) (as RAI), 1954; 66 years ago (1954) (as RAI Spa)
Founder Government of Italy
Headquarters Rome, Italy
Area served
Key people
Antonio Campo Dall'Orto (CEO),
Monica Maggioni (Chairman)
Revenue Increase 2.4 billion (2014)[1]
Increase 257 million (2014)[1]
Increase 48 million (2014)[1]
Owner Ministry of Economy and Finance
Number of employees
11635 (2014)[1]
  • Rai Corporation
  • Rai Way
  • Rai Pubblicità S.p.A.
  • Rai Com S.p.A.
  • RaiNet S.p.A.
  • Rai Cinema S.p.A.
  • 01 Distribution S.r.l.
Website Rai.it Rai.tv

Rai — Radiotelevisione italiana S.p.A. (pronounced [ˈrai ˌradjoteleviˈzjoːne itaˈljaːna]; commercially styled Rai; known until 1954 as Radio Audizioni Italiane)[2] is Italy's national public broadcasting company, owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

RAI operates many DVB and Sat television channels and radio stations, broadcasting via digital terrestrial transmission (15 television and 7 radio channels nationwide) and from several satellite platforms. It is the biggest television broadcaster in Italy[citation needed] and competes with Mediaset, Sky Italia, and other minor television and radio networks. RAI has a relatively high television audience share of 33.8%.[3][better source needed]

RAI's broadcasts are also received in neighboring countries, including Albania, Croatia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Slovenia, Vatican City and southern Switzerland, and elsewhere on cable and satellite.

Half of RAI's revenues come from broadcast receiving licence fees, the rest from the sale of advertising time.[4][5]

In 1950, RAI became one of the 23 founding broadcasting organizations of the European Broadcasting Union.



The Unione Radiofonica Italiana (URI) was formed in 1924 with the backing of the Marconi Company following a model adopted in other European countries. URI made its inaugural broadcast — a speech by Benito Mussolini at Teatro Costanzi — on 5 October. Regular programming began the following evening, with a quartet performing Haydn's Quartet No. 7 in A major from the Palazzo Corradi. At 21.00 CET, Ines Donarelli Viviani announced for the first time: "URI—Unione Radiofonica Italiana Rome station 1RO 425 meters wavelength. To all those who are listening our greetings, good evening."[6] Guglielmo Marconi's S.A. Radiofono—Società Italiana per le Radiocomunicazioni Circolari (Radiofono) held 85% of URI shares and Western Electric's Società Italiana Radio Audizioni Circolari (SIRAC) held the remaining 15%.

Under the provisions of Royal Decree No. 1067 of 8 February 1923, wireless broadcasting became a state monopoly under the control of the Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs; URI was commissioned to provide services for a minimum of six years pursuant to Royal Decree No. 2191 of 14 October 1924 "Concessione dei servizi radioauditivi circolari alla Società Anonima Unione Radiofonica Italiana".[7] However, when URI's contract expired in 1927, it was succeeded under Royal Decree Law No. 2207 of 17 November 1927 by the partially nationalised Ente Italiano per le Audizioni Radiofoniche (EIAR), which became Radio Audizioni Italiane S.p.A. (RAI) with investment from Società Idroelettrica Piemontese (SIP) in 1944.


During the reconstruction following World War II, much of RAI's early programming was influenced by the "Reithian" style of the BBC. The emphasis was on educational content. Programs like Non è mai troppo tardi and Un viaggio al Po introduced people to what life was like in other parts of the country, at a time when most people couldn't afford to travel.

Over the following years RAI made various changes to its services. Rai reorganized its radio stations in November 1946 into two national networks, Rete Rossa and Rete Azzurra ("Red Network" and "Blue Network"). Rai added the culture-based Terzo Programma in October 1950. On 1 January 1952 the Rete Rossa became the Programma Nazionale (focusing on informational content) and the Rete Azzurra became the Secondo Programma (with a greater emphasis on entertainment). The three radio channels eventually became today's Rai Radio 1, Rai Radio 2, and Rai Radio 3.


In 1954 the state-owned holding company Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI) became the sole shareholder and RAI – now renamed RAI—Radiotelevisione italiana to reflect its extended responsibilities – finally began a regular television service. On 3 January at 11.00 CET, the first RAI television announcer presented the day's schedule, which was broadcast from the service's Milan headquarters and relay stations in Turin and Rome. At 14.30, the first regular programme in Italian television history was broadcast: Arrivi e partenze, hosted by Armando Pizzo and Mike Bongiorno. The evening's entertainment was a theatre performance, L'osteria della posta, written by Carlo Goldoni. 23.15 saw the start of the day's concluding programme, La Domenica Sportiva – the first edition of a weekly series which continues to this day.[8]



RAI was originally the subsidiary of RAI Holding S.p.A. RAI Holding was absorbed into RAI as of 1 December 2004, per Article 21 of Law 112/04.

File:RAI logo 1.png
Rai Logo, 1982-2000

RAI is governed by a nine-member Administrative Council. Seven of members are elected by a committee of the Italian Parliament. The other two (one of which is the President) are nominated by the largest shareholder: the Ministry of Economic Development. The Council appoints the Director-General. The Director-General and the members of the Administrative Council are appointed for a renewable three-year term. In 2005, the government of Silvio Berlusconi proposed partial privatization of RAI by selling 20% ownership. This proposal was very controversial, in part because Berlusconi was the head of the leading private broadcaster Mediaset. Some critics claimed that Mediaset could become the buyer and thus increase its dominant position. However, after the revelation that RAI would lose €80m ($96m, £54m) in 2006, the privatization plan was suspended in October 2005.[9][10]


On 17 May 2010, Raisat received a major upgrade and re-branded with a new logo and a new name. It and all of the sister channels dropped the sat part from the name and became Rai YoYo, Rai 5 (formerly known as Rai Extra), Rai Premium, and Rai Movie (formerly known as Raisat Cinema).

File:Rai logo.svg
Rai Logo 2010-date

On June 11, 2013, RAI was one of the few known European broadcasters to condemn and criticize the closure of Greece's state broadcaster ERT.


Managers amount

RAI company has been criticized because as of 2015 it has 46 directors and 262 head offices and they are considered too many; RAI Spa is a private company but it's 100% owned by the Italian Government, so Italians have to pay high taxes in order to sustain private Spa Italian Government-owned companies like Rai.[11]

Political propaganda

RAI Spa company is 99% owned by the Italian Government Ministry of Economy and Finance, so it is said that it broadcasts content that may politically influence people.[12][13]

Debt Level

As March 2015, Rai has a debt of 442 million euros and the Italian "Corte dei Conti" (an Italian public finance examination institution) was worried about the dimension of RAI debt for the impact that this may have on Italian people (Italians have to mandatory pay annual 100 € Rai tax in order to own a TV or an HDTV).[14]

Rai mandatory annual fee on all televisions in Italy

Italians must purchase an annual television license (known as Canone Rai, "Rai Tax") for about €100 every year in order to legally own a TV or HDTV. (Unlike television licensing in the United Kingdom, there is no exception for those who only use a TV to receive non-broadcast signals such as playing DVDs or watching online videos.) The Italian television tax has existed in Italy since 1938; it is based on a Kingdom of Italy law.

TV channels

Logo Channel LCN on DVB-T Broadcast Launched Description
Rai 1 logo.svg
Rai 1 001 National DTV
January 3, 1954 generalist
Rai 2 logo.svg
Rai 2 002 National DTV
November 4, 1961 generalist
Rai 3 logo.svg
Rai 3 003 National DTV
December 15, 1979 generalist
Rai 4 2010 Logo.svg
Rai 4 021 National DTV
July 14, 2008 fiction
Rai 5 logo.svg
Rai 5 023 National DTV
November 26, 2010 culture, music, documentaries
Rai Gulp 2010.svg
Rai Gulp 042 National DTV
June 1, 2007 kids/teens
Rai Movie 024 National DTV
July 1, 1999 movies
RAI News24 2013.svg
Rai News24 048 National DTV
April 26, 1999 all news
Rai Premium 025 National DTV
July 31, 2003 fiction
Logo Rai Scuola.png
Rai Scuola 146 National DTV
October 19, 2009 educational
Rai Sport 1 057 National DTV
February 1, 1999 sports
Rai Sport 2 058 National DTV
May 18, 2010 sports
Rai Storia 054 National DTV
February 2, 2009 history channel
RAI YoYo 2010 Logo.svg
Rai YoYo 043 National DTV
November 1, 2006 kids
Rai HD 501 National DTV
April 24, 2008 HD
Rai Sport 1 HD 557 National DTV
September 14, 2015 HD
File:Rai Italia 2013.svg Rai Italia International
January 1, 1992 reaching out overseas Italians
Rai World Premium International
Italian culture
Rai Ladinia Regional Ladin language channel in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
Rai Südtirol Regional German language channel in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
Rai 3 BIS FJK 103 Regional 1995 Slovenian language channel in Friuli-Venezia Giulia/Furlanija Julijska Krajina

Discontinued channels

  • RaiSat Album (30 July 2003)
  • RaiSat Art (30 July 2003)
  • RaiSat Fiction (30 July 2003)
  • RaiSat Gambero Rosso Channel (1 August 2009)
  • RaiSat Ragazzi (31 October 2006)
  • RaiSat Show (31 July 2003)
  • RaiSat Smash Girls (1 August 2009)
  • Rai Azzurri: UEFA Euro 2004 (2004, broadcast using Rai Utile frequencies)
  • Rai Doc: cultures, styles (1 June 2007)
  • Rai Extra: generalist (26 November 2010)
  • Rai Futura: technologies, games, etc. (1 February 2007, broadcast on the same frequences of Rai Doc at settled times)
  • Rai Med (2013)
  • Rai Olimpia: 2004 Summer Olympics (2004, broadcast using Rai Utile frequencies)
  • Rai UniNettuno Sat Uno (2014)
  • Rai Utile (1 January 2008)
  • Rai Widescreen: 1998 FIFA World Cup (1999)
  • Rai On Cultura (IPTV)
  • Rai On Fiction (IPTV)
  • Rai On Fiction Live (IPTV)
  • Rai On News (IPTV)
  • Rai On Ragazzi (IPTV)
  • Rai On Spettacolo (IPTV)
  • Rai On Sport (IPTV)

Radio channels

Fm, Am, Sat, Dab/Dab+, Dtt, filodiffusion, web:

Discontinued channels

Headquarters and offices

Seat Centers of television production Auditoriums/theatres Studios
Rome CPTV Via Teulada, 66 9
Rome CP Saxa Rubra 16
Rome Studi Dear, Via Ettore Romagnoli, 30 6
Rome Teatro delle Vittorie 1 theatre
Rome Rai Auditorium of Foro Italico 1 auditorium
Milan CP corso Sempione, 27 3 auditoriums 5
Milan East End Studios via Mecenate, 76 4
Naples CP Viale Marconi, 9 1 auditorium 7
Turin CP via Verdi, 16 1 auditorium 6
Turin Grattacielo Rai Corso Bolzano 5
Palermo CP Viale Strasburgo 4

Local offices

Foreign offices

There are RAI offices in foreign countries, which produce news reports that are broadcast live in Italy. These offices are in: Brussels, Paris, Berlin, London, New York, Beijing, Cairo, Jerusalem, Nairobi, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 [1] (English) Retrieved on 13-01-2016
  2. Originally a distinction was made in Italian between wireless telegraphy (radiofonia) and wireless telephony (radioaudizione circolare). The latter term has now fallen into disuse. La radio in Italia cronologia (Italian) Retrieved on 2007-11-28
  3. "Ascolti tv 2013 - Predominio Rai con Rai1 - DavideMaggio.it". DavideMaggio.it. Retrieved 5 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Basta con il governo padrone, così cambierà la Tv pubblica" (Italian) Retrieved on 2007-10-10
  5. " DDL Riforma Rai" (Italian) Italian Ministry of Communications, Retrieved on 2007-10-10
  6. The Origins of radio broadcasting in Italy Comitato Guglielmo Marconi International (retrieved 27 November 2011)
  7. Gazzetta Ufficiale No. 11 of 15 January 1925 pp. 164-167
  8. retrieved on 2009-06-21 (Italian)
  9. "RAI's privatisation is de facto suspended", its new director general, Alfredo Meocci, told a parliamentary watchdog committee.
  10. "Berlusconi halts plan to sell off state broadcaster". Financial Times. Retrieved 5 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Rai gli sprechi di Gubitosi". Retrieved 5 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Il pubblico in fuga da una Rai faziosa". Retrieved 5 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "«Rai faziosa» Brunetta lancia l'osservatorio online". Retrieved 5 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Corte dei Conti, alert sul debito della Rai". Repubblica.it. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Media related to RAI - Radiotelevisione Italiana at Wikimedia Commons

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