Vatican Radio is to "experiment" with commercials in order to defray its operating costs, according to the Catholic News Agency. The first advertiser will be Italian electricity utility ENEL. The radio service has never carried ads in its 80-year history.
Radio Pope broadcasts in 47 languages and costs $29.8 million a year to run, CNA reported. It generates zero revenues.
Potential advertisers will likely be carefully screened. BNET readers will remember that Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella was banned from the station after the Vatican realized his company made contraceptives. He had been invited to make a "Commenter of the Week" appearance on the channel.
The arrival of advertising on Vatican Radio is apparently something of a U-turn for the station. CNS noted:
Three years ago, Vatican Spokesman Frederico Lombardi said that the radio's audience was too geographically, linguistically and ethnically diverse to appeal to advertisers.Hey, not everyone can be infallible, right, Fr Lombardi?