Vatican Radio was established by Pope Pius XI following the signing of the Lateran Treaty. He wanted to use technology to link the centre of the Catholic Church with the rest of the world.
The first transmitting station was built by Guglielmo Marconi inside Vatican City and was inaugurated by Pope Pius XI himself on February 12th 1931, with a radio message addressed to the whole world.
To respond to ever increasing demands for programming, Pope Pius XII ordered the construction of a new Transmission Centre at Santa Maria di Galeria, 25 kilometres from Rome. The Centre enjoys special status as provided for by articles 15 and 16 of the Lateran Treaty, while a specific agreement between the Holy See and Italy was signed in this regard on October 8th 1951. The Centre was inaugurated by Pope Pius XII on October 27th 1957.
Inside the Vatican Gardens, near the Palazzina Leo XIII where Vatican Radio has its technical control centre, two parabolic antennae were built for the transmission of radio programmes via satellite and for telephone communications. They cover the entire world and greatly reduce the use of logarithmic antennae and traditional broadcasting systems.
Vatican Radio’s offices and production studios are located in Palazzo Pio in Rome (Piazza Pia). The Radio currently transmits on five channels via land, satellite and the internet. It broadcasts to all five continents in 39 languages for approximately 438 hours a week. Vatican Radio can frequently be heard in link-ups with other radio stations. Since January 1st 1986, Vatican Radio is an independent entity with regard to Vatican City State, while being recognized as an institution tied to the Holy See and enjoying a special relationship with the Secretariat of State.
On October 1st 1995, a new Statute and Personnel Regulations came into force through which Vatican Radio was granted the status of an independent administration.