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Italy fetes 60 years of television

Rai's 1954 launch marked country's postwar coming of age

03 January, 14:33
Italy fetes 60 years of television (ANSA) - Rome, January 3 - Italy celebrates 60 years of television Friday, the anniversary of the launch of State broadcaster Rai. It started with one channel in a broadcast of the "national program" on this day in 1954, inaugurated by television host Fulvia Colombo. "Rai, Italian Radio-Television, begins its regular service of televised broadcasts today," were the first words uttered on Italian airwaves.

The show was followed by a televised news broadcast and, already, the "Domenica Sportiva" (Sporting Sunday) sportscast, which is still broadcast today. The channel's launch coincided with the 'Dolce Vita' boom years of postwar Italy, solidifying Italy's place as a technologically advanced country. Earlier attempts at launching TV were stymied by Fascist Italy's entrance in World War II. Today television remains the most popular source of media for Italians, and Rai is no longer the monopoly it once was, with competition from three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset empire and independent broadcaster La7.