Italo bishops ready channel

MILAN — The first religious TV channel to broadcast nationwide in Italy is set to debut next month.

TeleVaticano, as Italy’s media has dubbed it, will join Telepiu’s digital satellite package of channels and will also air on an ad hoc terrestrial network created by 108 local Catholic TV stations.

The Vatican channel will debut at the end of September during the national congress of the Italian Bishops Conference, which takes place in Bologna. The Bishops Conference (CEI) owns the channel.The Pope will take part in the CEI’s activities in Bologna, which will be part of the channel’s first broadcast.

TeleVaticano has startup capital of about $12 million and has already hired reporters and executives. Former pubcaster RAI and TeleMontecarlo exec Emmanuele Milano has been appointed general manager of the new station.

Italian film director Pupi Avati will be responsible for the premiere show in September, and other artists in Catholic circles are expected to contribute to the channel, including pop stars Lucio Dalla and Gianni Morandi.

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