- Purchase/rental options available:
Concepts and structures of broadcasting did not suddenly appear during the 1920s with radio, but were inherited from the so-called "circular telephone." Between the end of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth, the telephone was used as both a point-to-point and a broadcasting medium in France, Britain, Hungary, the United States and Italy. This paper focuses on the Italian case, the so-called Araldo Telefonico. Appearing in Rome in the 1910s thanks to engineer Luigi Ranieri, its schedule included educational, informational and entertainment programs. After World War I, the circular telephone was launched in Milan and Bologna. Araldo Telefonico and its wireless brother Radio Araldo were also involved in negotiations establishing the first Italian radio company, URI (forefather of today's public broadcasting company, RAI). This article narrates the history of a dead medium in Italy and highlights its relevance for radio and media history more generally.