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For other uses, see Rai.
Rai — Radiotelevisione italiana S.p.A.
Spa (State Owned)
Industry Media
Genre TV Broadcasting
Founded 1924; 93 years ago (1924) (as URI), 1944; 73 years ago (1944) (as RAI), 1954; 63 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 — Radiotelevisione italiana S.p.A. (pronounced [ˈrai ˌradjoteleviˈzjoːne itaˈljaːna];[2] commercially styled Rai; known until 1954 as Radio Audizioni Italiane)[3] 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, and other minor television and radio networks. RAI has a relatively high television audience share of 33.8%.[4][better source needed]

RAI's broadcasts are also received in neighboring countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Slovenia, Vatican City, Switzerland, and Tunisia, and elsewhere on cable and satellite. Sometimes Rai 1 was received even further in Europe via Sporadic E until the digital switch off in July 2012.

Half of RAI's revenues come from broadcast receiving licence fees, the rest from the sale of advertising time.[5][6]

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."[7] 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".[8] 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.[9]



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.

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.[10][11]


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).

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.


RAI company has been criticized because as of 2015 it had 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 and subscribers have to pay an annual tax of 100 euros.[citation needed]

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[edit]

As March 2015, Rai has a debt of 442 million euros and the Italian "Corte dei Conti" (an Italian public finance examination institution).[14]

Rai mandatory annual fee on all televisions in Italy[edit]

Italians must purchase an annual television license for about €100 every year in order to legally own a TV or HDTV. It is known as Canone Rai, "Rai Tax" because it is used to part-fund RAI.[citation needed]

TV channels[edit]

Current channels[edit]

Logo Channel LCN on DVB-T Broadcast Launched Description
Rai 1 - Logo 2016.svg
Rai 1 1 National DTV
January 3, 1954 generalist
Rai 2 - Logo 2016.svg
Rai 2 2 National DTV
November 4, 1961 generalist
Rai 3 - Logo 2016.svg
Rai 3 3 National DTV
December 15, 1979 generalist
Rai 4 - Logo 2016.svg
Rai 4 21 National DTV
July 14, 2008 TV series, movies and shows
Rai 5 - Logo 2017.svg
Rai 5 23 National DTV
November 26, 2010 culture, music, documentaries
Rai Gulp logo 2017.svg
Rai Gulp 42 National DTV
June 1, 2007 kids/teens
Rai Movie logo 2017.svg
Rai Movie 24 National DTV
July 1, 1999 movies
RAI News24 2013.svg
Rai News24 48 National DTV
April 26, 1999 all news
Rai Premium logo 2017.svg
Rai Premium 25 National DTV
July 31, 2003 fiction
Rai Scuola logo 2017.svg
Rai Scuola 146 National DTV
October 19, 2009 educational
Rai Sport 2017.svg
Rai Sport 58 National DTV
February 1, 1999 sports
Rai Storia logo 2017.svg
Rai Storia 54 National DTV
February 2, 2009 history
Rai Yoyo logo 2017.svg
Rai Yoyo 43 National DTV
November 1, 2006 kids
Rai 1 HD logo.svg
Rai 1 HD 501 National DTV
October 25, 2013 HD version of Rai 1
Rai 2 HD logo 2016.svg
Rai 2 HD 502 National DTV
October 25, 2013 HD version of Rai 2
Rai 3 HD logo 2016.svg
Rai 3 HD 503 National DTV
October 25, 2013 HD version of Rai 3
Rai 4 HD logo 2016.svg
Rai 4 HD 521 National DTV
January 22, 2016 HD version of Rai 4
Rai 5 HD logo 2017.svg
Rai 5 HD 113 Tivùsat September 19, 2016 HD version of Rai 5
Rai Movie HD new logo.svg
Rai Movie HD 114 Tivùsat May 26, 2016 HD version of Rai Movie
Rai Premium HD new logo.svg
Rai Premium HD 525 National DTV
May 26, 2016 HD version of Rai Premium
Rai Sport + HD new logo.svg
Rai Sport + HD 57 National DTV
September 14, 2015 HD version of Rai Sport
Rai Italia 2017.svg
Rai Italia International
January 1, 1992 reaching out overseas Italians
World premium.png
Rai World Premium International
Italian culture
Rai Ladinia.svg
Rai Ladinia Regional Ladin language channel in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
Rai Südtirol.svg
Rai Südtirol Regional German language channel in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
Rai 3 bis logo.svg
Rai 3 BIS FJK 103 Regional 1995 Slovenian language channel in Friuli-Venezia Giulia/Furlanija Julijska Krajina

Discontinued channels[edit]

  • Rai Azzurri: UEFA Euro 2004 (2004, broadcast using Rai Utile frequencies)
  • Rai Doc: cultures, styles (April 1, 2004—June 1, 2007)
  • Rai Extra: generalist (July 31, 2003—November 26, 2010)
  • Rai Festival (broadcast using Rai Utile frequencies)
  • Rai Futura: technologies, games, etc. (May 30, 2005—February 1, 2007, broadcast on the same frequences of Rai Doc at settled times)
  • Rai HD (April 22, 2008—September 18, 2016)
  • Rai Med (April 26, 2001—April 2014)
  • Rai Olimpia: 2004 Summer Olympics (2004, broadcast using Rai Utile frequencies)
  • Rai Sport 2 (May 18, 2010—February 5, 2017)
  • Rai Sport 2 HD (August 1, 2016—September 19, 2016, HD version launched for 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games)
  • Rai UniNettuno Sat Uno (November 10, 1997—April 2014)
  • Rai UniNettuno Sat Due (2003—February 1, 2009)
  • Rai Utile (January 4, 2004—January 1, 2008)
  • Rai Widescreen: 1998 FIFA World Cup (1998—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)
  • RaiSat 1 (1998—1999)
  • RaiSat 2 (September 29, 1997—July 1, 1999)
  • RaiSat 3 (October 13, 1997—September 7, 2000)
  • RaiSat Album (June 1, 1999—July 30, 2003)
  • RaiSat Art (1999—July 30, 2003)
  • RaiSat Fiction (March 1, 2001—July 30, 2003)
  • RaiSat Gambero Rosso Channel (1999—July 31, 2009)
  • RaiSat Ragazzi (July 1, 1999—October 31, 2006)
  • RaiSat Show (June 1, 1999—July 31, 2003)
  • RaiSat Smash Girls (November 1, 2006—August 1, 2009)

Radio channels[edit]

FM, AM, Satellite, DAB/DAB+, DTT, Filodiffusion, Web:

Discontinued channels[edit]

  • RadioStereoDue (1982—1991)
  • RadioVerdeRai (1991—1994)
  • Rai Italia Radio (July 1, 1930—December 31, 2011)

On demand service[edit]

  • Rai Play

Headquarters and offices[edit]

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, 19 4

Local offices[edit]

Foreign offices[edit]

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 City, Beijing, Cairo, Jerusalem, Nairobi, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d [1] (English) Retrieved on 13-01-2016
  2. ^ Il Grupo Rai - La struttura aziendale
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ "Ascolti tv 2013 - Predominio Rai con Rai1 - DavideMaggio.it". DavideMaggio.it. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Basta con il governo padrone, così cambierà la Tv pubblica" (Italian) Retrieved on 2007-10-10
  6. ^ " DDL Riforma Rai" (Italian) Italian Ministry of Communications, Retrieved on 2007-10-10
  7. ^ The Origins of radio broadcasting in Italy Comitato Guglielmo Marconi International (retrieved 27 November 2011)
  8. ^ Gazzetta Ufficiale No. 11 of 15 January 1925 pp. 164-167
  9. ^ retrieved on 2009-06-21 (Italian)
  10. ^ "RAI's privatisation is de facto suspended", its new director general, Alfredo Meocci, told a parliamentary watchdog committee.
  11. ^ "Berlusconi halts plan to sell off state broadcaster". Financial Times. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "Il pubblico in fuga da una Rai faziosa". Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  13. ^ ""Rai faziosa" Brunetta lancia l'osservatorio online". Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Corte dei Conti, alert sul debito della Rai". Repubblica.it. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to RAI - Radiotelevisione Italiana at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 41°55′4″N 12°27′59″E / 41.91778°N 12.46639°E / 41.91778; 12.46639