RAI purge begins: trio of top exex at Italo pubcaster resign

In what looks like the start of a widely expected autumn purge at Italy’s pubcaster, three top execs at RAI resigned Sept. 8.

The resignations by the RAI vets come in the wake of pronouncements by the broadcaster’s new bottom-line president Claudio De Matte that management heads were likely to roll as he tries to balance the debt-ridden pubcaster’s budget.

Those getting the boot: Giovanni Salvi, vice-director general for coordination of the three RAI webs; Francesco De Domenico, director of personnel; and Sandro Curzi, RAI 3’s news chief.

Salvi was one of RAI’s most powerful execs, deciding which programs would get made, who would host them, and on which web they’d play. De Matte seems to have been unsatisfied with Salvi’s performance, and did not like so much overlapping of programming on the three channels.

The resignation of De Domenico suggests that the pubcaster is trying to curb overstaffing and put an end to the parceling out of RAI jobs as political patronage.

Curzi, who has been responsible for a number of successful current affairs shows, resigned in protest after leaks that De Matte and the board of directors were considering turning RAI 3’s newscast into a “regional” report, leaving national news for RAI 1 and 2. Sources say he might be enticed back.

Further firings are expected as Dematte and his board attempt to give RAI a more coherent and more fiscally responsible editorial policy.

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