Mixed reactions to the launch of Virgin Radio Italia
Thursday, July 12th, 2007

There have been mixed reactions to the launch of Virgin Radio in Italy. The station started broadcasting at midday today on the former frequencies of Play Radio. As expected, it is rock orientated. The slogan is ‘La radio che mancava’ (The radio which was missing).

According to artistic director DJ Ringo, listeners are complaining about too much talk on radio; the reason why Virgin Radio Italia is limiting the airtime of DJ’s. Virgin Radio wants to introduce young listeners to the rock music of the past (including a story of rock radio programme) and the best music groups of today. B-sides and recordings of live performances will be aired on the new Italian station. The Aim is to also reach the ‘iPod generation’.

For the time being no DJ’s are programmed. Virgin Radio Italia is a totally different station to the former Play Radio which was partly hit-orientated but was also positioned as an informative and entertaining radiostation. According to a report from the Italian Internet service NewsLine, commercial company Arnold claims that the format and icons of Virgin Radio are good for a golden oldies station like 105 Classics (also part of Finelco). “The claim ‘The radio which was missing’ is no positioning, those are dangerous claims’, said Maurizio Maresca, Managing Director of Arnold Italy.

Marco Pontini, commercial director for Radio Italia (the most famous and most popular Italian-only music radio station), however, puts the matter in perspective: He points out that Virgin Radio is not something new, but that it is an international format that has proven to be successful in different markets.

Lorenzo Suraci, owner/president of RTL 102.5 (which is NOT related to the RTL Group) also commented, saying “The name Virgin is not so original, but good luck to my friend Alberto Hazan.” Alberto Hazan is the majority owner of Finelco which is the co-owner of Virgin Radio Italia, together with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Radio Group.

Virgin Radio Italia can be received on FM in Italy and Monte Carlo (Monaco) as well as on Internet and satellite (Hotbird).

(Source: Virgin Radio Italia website)