Unione radiofonica italiana

Unione radiofonica italiana or URI (the "Italian Radiophonic Union"), was an Italian radio broadcaster founded in Turin on 27 August 1924. It was the exclusive radio broadcaster of the Kingdom of Italy.

Unione radiofonica italiana
Broadcast areaKingdom of Italy
FormatNews, Classical music
  • Radiofono
  • Italian government
First air date
October 6, 1924 (1924-10-06)
Last air date
November 17, 1927 (1927-11-17) de jure
1928 de facto



On 8 February 1923, the Royal decree n. 1067 gave to the State the exclusive rights for the radio broadcasts to be exercised through a concessionaire company.[1][2] In consequence, three companies were born in order to achieve the licence, all of them were related to American and British manufacturers of radio devices:

  • The "Società italiana radio audizioni circolari" (SIRAC), founded by Riccardo Gualino and representative of RCA for Italy[3]
  • The "Società Anonima Radiofono - Società italiana per le radiocomunicazioni circolari" (Radiofono), founded in September 1923 by Guglielmo Marconi through the British Marconi Company[3]
  • The third competitor was engineer Luigi Ranieri, publisher of L'Araldo Telefonico and, accordingly to a provisional licence,[4] the experimental Radio Araldo, formed after an agreement with Western Electric.[3]

Negotiations lasted more than a year, but Minister of Post Giovanni Antonio Colonna di Cesarò seemed to want to give the licence to Ranieri.[3]

However, at the beginning of 1924, Di Cesarò resigned from the government and he was replaced by Costanzo Ciano, who preferred Marconi.[3]

Ranieri succeed to achieve a technical test. On 20 March 1924, Radiofono installed a test station in the Centocelle district of Rome, but it failed to broadcast a speech of Benito Mussolini in the Costanzi theater on the next 23 March probably due to electric interferences.[5]

On 3 June 1924, Minister of Communications Costanzo Ciano addressed a letter to the companies who requested the licence, inviting them to find an agreement.

A compromise was reached with the formation of a united company, without however the joining of Radio Araldo which did not have enough capital in order to take part to it. On 27 August 1924, the URI was founded by Radiofono and SIRAC through the subscription of a share capital of 1,400,000 lire (82.9% of Radiofono e 17.1% of SIRAC).[1][6] Enrico Marches from FIAT was appointed as president,[6] while Luigi Solari, close to Guglielmo Marconi, as deputy president.


On 6 October 1924, at 9 pm, the first URI station of San Filippo in Rome, produced by Marconi, broadcast the first regular announcement read by Maria Luisa Boncompagni:[6]

Italian Radiophonic Union. 1-RO, Rome station. Inaugural symphonic concert.

— Maria Luisa Boncompagni[7]

Shortly after, Ines Viviani Donarelli, from the Roman station of Corrodi Palace, presented the first programme:

URI (Unione Radiofonica Italiana). 1-RO: station of Rome. Radio wavelength 425 meters. Our greeting and good evening to all the listeners. It is 9 pm of 6 October 1924. We broadcast the inaugural concert of the first Italian radiophonic station, for the circular radio hearings service. The quartet formed by Ines Viviani Donarelli, who is speaking, Alberto Magalotti, Amedeo Fortunati and Alessandro Cicognani, will perform Haydn from the Opus 7 string quartet, I and II half.

— Ines Viviani Donarelli[8]

The programme, lasted one hour and half, broadcast opera, chamber and classical music along with a weather report and news about the stock exchange.

On 27 November 1924, the government gave to URI private company the exclusive licences of radio broadcasting for six years (extendable to other four), accordingly to an agreement signed on 27 November 1924[9] and the Royal Decree n. 2191 of 14 October 1924.[10]

With that decree, URI was considered as the only Italian radio broadcaster to be authorized to spread news of public interest and the government was the only to approve the news broadcasting from press agencies different from Agenzia Stefani, the official source as well as the first Italian press agency founded in 1853 by Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour.[6]

The URI announcer was Maria Luisa Boncompagni from L'Araldo Telefonico and Radio Araldo.

On 18 January 1925, URI published the first issue of Radiorario, a weekly magazine which provided the broadcast schedules[1] and publicized the new media to the public.[6]

The radio station of Rome was followed by the one of Milan (8 December 1925) and Naples (14 November 1926).[1][6]

In October 1926, adverts began to be broadcast and the advertising space was provided by Sipra.[11]

The radio broadcasting phenomena, initially hindered by prohibitive costs for a very poor Italy, took off in the thirties due to the initiatives promoted by the Fascist regime which gave to each casa del Fascio a radio device and promoted the spread of economical devices like Radiorurale[6] and radio Balilla.

According to the Royal Law Decree n. 2207 of 17 November 1927,[12] URI became the Ente Italiano per le Audizioni Radiofoniche (EIAR) in January 1928.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Annuario RAI 1988 1989. Turin: Nuova ERI. 1989.
  2. ^ "REGIO DECRETO 8 febbraio 1923, n. 1067". Normattiva (in Italian). 1923-02-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e Nunziata, Renato (2014-10-06). "Cara vecchia radio, novant'anni dopo". Democratica (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-09-24.
  4. ^ Nunziata, Renato (May–June 2018). "Il primo broadcasting in Italia". Armonia - Rai Senior: 14–15.
  5. ^ 80 anni di storia della radio: Dossier delle Teche Rai. Rai. September 2004. p. 105.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Storia della Radio dal 1924 al 1933". Storia della radio (in Italian). Rai. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  7. ^ Primo annuncio in assoluto della radio italiana, URI 06/10/1924. on YouTube

    Unione Radiofonica Italiana. 1-RO, stazione di Roma. Concerto sinfonico inaugurale.

  8. ^ "Original Audio". Radio Marconi (in Italian). URI (Unione Radiofonica Italiana). 1-RO: stazione di Roma. Lunghezza d'onda metri 425. A tutti coloro che sono in ascolto il nostro saluto e il nostro buonasera. Sono le ore 21 del 6 ottobre 1924. Trasmettiamo il concerto di inaugurazione della prima stazione radiofonica italiana, per il servizio delle radio audizioni circolari. Il quartetto composto da Ines Viviani Donarelli, che vi sta parlando, Alberto Magalotti, Amedeo Fortunati e Alessandro Cicognani, eseguirà Haydn dal quartetto "Opera 7", I e II tempo.
  9. ^ "Rai - Radiotelevisione Italiana". Treccani (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-09-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "REGIO DECRETO 14 dicembre 1924, n. 2191". Normattiva (in Italian). 1924-12-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "La vera storia della radiodiffusione in Italia - CRONOLOGIA DAL 1919-2000". Radio Marconi (in Italian). Comitato Guglielmo Marconi International. Retrieved 2019-09-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "REGIO DECRETO LEGGE 17 Novembre 1927, n. 2207". Infoleges (in Italian). 1927-11-17. Retrieved 2019-09-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)


  • Balbi, Gabriele (2010). La radio prima della radio. Rome: Bulzoni.