22HBG has a gift for 2024: the new version of FM-world, which quickly becomes a trending app in the iOS store

On Christmas Eve, 22HBG decided to give a gift to all its users: a “brand new” version of the FM-world app.

For many radio enthusiasts, this aggregator has become one of the main apps on their phones. To convince you, just look at the battery usage screen of your smartphone: you will probably find a situation not too dissimilar from that of the author (where it ranks second as it is almost always running in the background).

Released in the night between December 23rd and 24th, the App is already in an excellent position in the Italian and French iOS app store rankings, with an upward trend that as of the afternoon of the 24th shows no signs of decreasing. An undoubted sign of the vast user base and of course the curiosity to test the new features.

New Features

But let’s get to the news of this version. We had the opportunity to speak with Matteo Rossi and Nico Montanari (development team leaders) and founder Gianluca Busi.

Marco Hugo Barsotti: Matteo, can you tell us about the main new features of this version?

Matteo Rossi: As a substantial new feature, a graphic restyling and the new radio search tab by category. We added charts with the most listened to radios, a service similar to that on the FM-world website in real time.


M.H.B: The integration with the News from the FM-world.it portal is particularly interesting, but we found that even the foreign versions of the app refer to the news in Italian. Strategically, do you think of the app versions in foreign app stores as an application aimed at Italians abroad or also at international users in general?

M.R.: For the news section for now it only refers to the Italian part and the app is aimed at an Italian audience at the moment. But this does not mean that things cannot evolve in the near future.

TV Section

M.H.B: The video section – or rather TV – seems to me to be a unique feature of your app. In the future, will we also find pure television stations and not just “radiovisions” in the video section?

Gianluca Busi: As you pointed out, the video section is very important as today we are the only radio aggregator that supports visual radios. One of our goals is to also aggregate non-music TVs and with new services for the automotive sector where in the future the video part will be an integral part of the car media. As you know, media consumption in the car is a focus point of mine and I intend to direct much of 22HBG’s energy for 2024 precisely on this. As for native TV, we have already included some, in fact let me say that whoever wants to join can send us a request and be included immediately.

M.H.B.: One last question, can you give us a sneak peek of what’s coming in 2024?

G.B.: Does Tik Tok tell you anything? Well, we’re working on it and we’re nearly ready. And we are also discussing with some industry operators of Fast Channels (the famous linear channels that are created to be inserted into the home screens of Samsung and LG TVs) to bring something unique and innovative to the market.

The Best of Talkmedia 10 – September 29, 2023: Medium waves on the FM-World app? – RAI CEO intervenes in a discussion

As every 15 days, in this article we summarize some of the most interesting posts (based on the number of comments) that appeared in the second half of September on the Facebook group Talkmedia.

The topics and summary were selected and elaborated by PeperoniAI and Claude by Anthropic, with fact checking (and some final considerations) by M.H.B., aka “AI caregiver

FM-World grid

On September 11, a message appeared on the talkmedia group on behalf of FM-World in the first person, which asked readers how they would reorganize the stations in the app’s grid and which ones they would want in the first 35 positions.Numerous reader-radio listeners took the opportunity to suggest their favorite radio: one reader proposed Radio Hemingway, another Radio Stop, and so on with many other radios mentioned by their respective fans.

One user suggested creating a section dedicated to medium wave radio stations, penalized in apps. Another stated that the most obvious solution would be to put them in alphabetical order.

Some complained that some independent web radio stations had been removed from the list, but then apologized because they had actually found them again. One commentator asked to be able to organize favorites with drag and drop rather than a predefined order.

Note from the caregiver: on drag and drop, a video appeared a few days later by one of the 22HBG developers showing this functionality at work. We look forward to it eagerly on testflight

Among the requests was also to show first the radio stations most listened to by each user, and the introduction of the search function on iOS devices. The admin answered by taking note of the feedback to improve the app.


On September 17, a reader linked an article in the group entitled “The Flop of TeleMeloni” claiming the existence of a drop in RAI listeners following the change in management.

“TeleMeloni” is not the name of a real network, but a kind of word game, invented by someone certainly less imaginative compared to those who invented the famous Tele Kabul (Ed.)

Among the comments there was even one from the CEO of RAI, who thus demonstrated that he is attentive to what is written on our group and is anything but the classic inaccessible RAI executive locked in the control room (or rather, in the potentiometer room given his passion for radio).

A first commenter dismissed the article as a mere pretext for attacking the current prime minister, accusing the author of manipulating data. A supporter reinforced this, denouncing the improper comparison between different years, and claiming balance from the new management compared to the past.

However, others believe the criticism is well-founded, opening a reflection on the difficulty for Rai to propose public service content, flattening out on private supply. Someone highlights the risk of excessive political “coloring” of public information.

There has been no shortage of criticism for the selective sharing of articles, which should be balanced by sharing more voices for a pluralistic debate. Someone speaks of real anti-government “propaganda”.

The caregiver commented by underlining the lack of Fair Play of the newspaper Il Domani – where the original article appeared -, which cites listening data from others when it does not provide its own circulation data, always impossible to find in ADS (try it to believe it).

Now Music

Let’s get out of the minefield of politics and deal with music. On September 22, a post raised a reflection on the music radio stations play today, sharing the episode of a listener who in a request program chose an Italo disco song rather than a less overplayed song.

The author of the post said he was surprised, having in the past shared the criticism of those who accuse radio stations of always playing the same hits. But from this request he deduced that maybe radio playlists are already too eclectic for the average taste of listeners.

The topic sparked a lively debate. There are those who defend the editorial choices of private radio stations, emphasizing that they must satisfy the tastes of the public if they want to have listeners. A publisher recalled that the music on the radio is decided by listeners with their requests.

Others, however, accuse radio stations of having educated the public for years to settle for mediocre music, fueling a vicious circle. There are also those who complain of a deterioration in the radio music offer compared to the past.

There is no shortage of critical voices towards listeners who always request the same overplayed songs. But there is also who defends everyone’s freedom to listen to the music they prefer without prejudice.

The great blackout

Finally, the Facebook algorithm surfaced a three-year-old post. Which in turn recalled a past episode, the major blackout that hit Italy on the night of September 28, 2003.

A user recounts: “I was sleeping with the windows ajar in Turin when I was awakened by several alarms going off. After half an hour I realized the gravity of the situation”.

Another recalls: “We all stayed outside the radio station where I worked, in Padua, and the gates didn’t even open“.

Someone mentions still having a list of FM frequencies captured in Novara, a city where there was no electricity.

A user recounts: “I parked under the house and pulled a cable onto the balcony to power the TV and satellite decoder with an uninterruptable power supply, thus managing to understand what had happened”. Another says: “Here in South Tyrol after half an hour the power came back on and I didn’t notice anything”.

There are no shortage of experiences with improvised radio broadcasts, such as that of the writer: “I turned on 20W on a dipole on the roof of the house. With that signal I covered over 70km, crazy since the only one on air was RAI“.

(Article created by PeperoniAI and Claude by Anthropic based on content from the Talkmedia community, with supervision by “AI caregiver” Marco Hugo Barsotti – for FM-World)

Giornale Radio: From Italy an innovating 24h all news radio in the tradition of great italian journalism

Giornale Radio represents one of the main innovations in Italian national radio broadcasting in recent years. For the new season the schedule, which is now live all day, has been further enriched: we have therefore decided to host an in-depth conversation with editorial director, Daniele Biacchessi.

Daniele Biacchessi has extensive radio experience, having worked for Radio Lombardia, then Radio Regione, Radio Popolare, Radio Rai regional Lombardy and national (Blue note and Folkconcerto), Trm2, Italia Radio, Rete A, Antennatre, Telenova, Radio 24, Giornale Radio. He has written for numerous publications including l’Unità, Europeo and Mucchio Selvaggio.

Giornale Radio

Giornale Radio is a national radio station, dedicated to news and in-depth analysis of national and international events.
Since its birth, it had immediate succes and it’s currently recording more than 300.000 daily listeners reported by TER (local equivalent of UK’s RAJAR), already in its second year of existence.
It presently broadcasts live for 14 hours/day (6-20), and the newsroom is composed of 14 valiant journalists.
Giornale Radio is distributed over IP, DAB+ and FM in key markets such as Milano and Rome.

The interview

Marco Hugo Barsotti: Giornale Radio is now live all day: the team of presenters and journalists is complete, or are you thinking of growing further?
Daniele Biacchessi: Yes, Giornale Radio has grown in terms of image, listening, production, and today it offers the national radio scene a high quality journalistic offer. I think there is still room for growth also because the potential audience for a news radio has not yet been reached. Giornale Radio is currently rooted in five strong segments: Lombardy, Piedmont, Lazio, Emilia-Romagna, Campania. There we have established ourselves where the production system is most developed. The audience of a channel like ours wants to be informed while events are happening, and on Giornale Radio facts are separated from opinions, especially from my commentaries and those of Ferruccio Bovio which represent the editorial line of the radio.

All opinions are equally dignified, just as the selection of guests is made essentially on the basis of news, not trends or the mainstream. It is a radio that does not spare anyone. I’ll give some examples. If the government announces a budget law, let’s say, lacking adequate financial cover, which risks becoming a mere election campaign announcement, we highlight this to our listeners, we do not hide the problem. We do the math. And this applies to any government in office.

No to single thought

MHB: Let’s talk about the Ukraine case. Not everyone agrees with unconditional support for Zelensky…
DB: That’s correct. But when much of the information, at the beginning of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, seemed to report the war through a single thought, we chose to narrate the conflict through the plurality of sources, testimonies, opinions, with a fixed correspondent from Moscow.
What we have done depends essentially on the quality of our presenters, names such as Luca Telese, Giuliano Guida Bardi, Vicky Mangone, Manuela Donghi, Pasquale Tridico, Lapo de Carlo, Paolo Sergio, Francesco Borgonovo, Francesco Massardo, Sergio Luciano, Roberto Frangipane, Marco Trombetta. To whom, and I announce it to you first today, Luigi Crespi will also be added from October.

Journalism of the last century…

MHB: In a recent interview, Hannah Gelbart from BBC had explained the long and complex process implemented by the British public service to validate and filter the information coming directly from social channels. Do you also use these channels or do you rely on classic services like ANSA?
DB: Let’s take a step back. Modern newsrooms are much more structured than in the past and journalists tend to move away from the street and people. For much of the twentieth century, the communication and transmission possibilities for a reporter are precarious: they go from correspondence by letter to telegraph, to conversation and dictation of pieces by telephone. So the times get longer, but the content of the articles is not always written “at the desk”, but is conceived and devised on the spot where the events take place. So in the twentieth century the journalist, who is an intermediate body between institutions and readers, accesses first-hand sources, the main interlocutors and relations with the authorities become more direct and transparent.

…and that of today

Today the situation has certainly been reversed. Journalists have to deal with influencers, spin doctors, communicators of all kinds and the manipulation of news makes it increasingly difficult to distinguish true from false. However, compared to the twentieth century, journalists now have increasingly sophisticated technological tools at their disposal: smartphones incorporate very powerful, high quality audio and video recording units, capable of transmitting written, read and filmed reports in real time. Broadband data transmission reaches the reader while the facts are happening: the use of social media, Facebook and Twitter foremost, gives the primary user the feeling of having the information at hand, within reach of their phone, anywhere in the world with a connection.
Thus, investigative tools, which in the twentieth century are essentially paper-based, thanks to connective technological innovations, become infinitely more powerful and refined. In the third millennium the need for quality journalism and in-depth analysis grows, which can counter the daily bombardment of data, news, points of view, comments, interpretations, press releases, simplifications, slogans, tables, biases, distortions and sweetened versions.

Citing sources, always

MHB: The problem remains of separating the true from the background noise, so to speak…
DB: Today to achieve authority and reliability the journalist must demonstrate having been honest, having heard and recorded all possible points of view, not relying on their own prejudice, on a theorem. It must provide sources and must cite where they come from. This is the point. Here there is no need to certify the news, but to do well the job we are paid for. Citing sources, as well as being a proper deontological attitude, is also functional to the stipulation of a real contract based on the truthfulness of the information. In essence, a service does not work just because of the sloppy style, incorrect quotes or poor construction, but also because adequate research has not been done. There are primary or first level sources, those that guarantee credibility to information, because they have institutional authority, because they are recognized as having specific expertise. There are secondary or second level sources, whose reliability is entrusted to the same journalistic quotation, in the sense that it is the journalist, giving them a voice, who legitimizes them in the eyes of his audience. The source must be official, even if it is a simple citizen, a mayor, a municipal administrator, an assessor, a witness. There must be a name, a surname, an address.
MHB: So the possibility for those listening to do a cross check, their own personal verification, if they believe.
DB: Exactly: There must be no initials of the witness’s name, voices extracted from intercoms, from phone calls with smartphones in which the speaker says nothing. You have to work for documents. The news must be checked through the comparison of multiple available sources. First and foremost institutional ones, direct ones, the testimonies. The verification of news also involves the critical use of other secondary sources: agencies, public and private radio, TV, the internet.

Breaking News

The “big” news should be broadcast on radio and TV in the form of breaking news, and then distilled in depth so as to make the news interesting and lasting. The use of breaking news must be calibrated….
MHB: …it reminds me of a competing group that calls all of its newscasts “breaking news”…
DB: …I was saying, the use of breaking news must be calibrated on the true importance of the news and it must be short, postponing further updates and insights. In the case of a very important news story we must have the promptness, strength, commitment, availability and organization to overturn the schedule with continuous live coverage and a change of voices and conduction.
The form must always be narrated. First the news as complete as possible, then the live interview, not the other way around. The listener must be assured that at any time of the day they will be informed by someone who has prepared with the utmost care. On radio, TV, in print and on the web, the poor preparation of those who write or speak multiplies.

To obtain the maximum amount of information, the presenter will be equipped with tools for immediate visual consultation (agencies, national and international portals). The schedules with the guest selections will have to adapt to the hierarchy of the news and the layout technique.

If the main news story is the war it opens with that, not something else, and a scan will be given to the succession of topics. The style must be popular and correct in form, preferably terms in Italian, if in English explained quickly. Political ones should focus on the unfolding of events, understanding issues, more than the sum of statements or backstories. A good radio and TV piece will contain voices, direct testimonies, something that gives rhythm and substance to the story. The monologue does not work, unless it is an editorial, because it is separate from the news. We almost always do it, I cannot confirm for others.

Breaking news… or rather, Flash News
MHB: Are you equipped for unforeseen events outside of normal hours?
DB: We have already reported major events in History by disrupting the usual schedule, inserting specials, live coverage. Our format is talk-news, not talk-radio or all news. This means that Giornale Radio always transmits a flow of news, comments, opinions, multiple voices. A format that does not need boxed-in schedules, a rigid schedule. When Silvio Berlusconi died, the presenters themselves, with great sense of responsibility and maturity, kept the live broadcast going by redesigning the schedule, shaping the flow with current events, with the facts. A schedule made up of closed boxes and small gardens drives the audience away, it is an old and outdated model, globally as well as in Italy.

Behind the scenes

MHB: Beyond the presenters we hear on air there is a newsroom that works behind the scenes. Can you explain how it is organized and if you currently offer opportunities for young journalists or even just interns?
MHB: Beyond the presenters we hear on air there is a newsroom that works behind the scenes. Can you explain how it is organized and if you currently offer opportunities for young journalists or even just interns?
DB: It is a newsroom made up of presenters, assistants, collaborators, which focuses on young people and also hosts interns. The strength of Giornale Radio lies precisely in this teamwork that the publisher Domenico Zambarelli, myself as editorial director, and Manuela Donghi in the role of deputy director with responsibility for the economic sector, we are putting in place in a short time.

GR News

MHB: The GR News channel has taken the place that Giornale Radio had at the beginning. But it seems very underpromoted, isn’t it a missed opportunity?
DB: Our newscasts are produced by Area agency with which we have built a fruitful relationship for both. Those newscasts are the result of a long operational discussion involving the Area editorial staff and ours. What you hear every day, especially in the long newscasts, is added value. The jingle, the short titles, the choice of voices, the signatures announced at the beginning by the presenter, the signatures at the end of each report. It is a decisive change of pace, not a missed opportunity. Giornale Radio focuses on programs and Area on newscasts. Together they make up a single certified, verified, quality information product. Good information.

Looking beyond Italy

MHB: To conclude, can we ask you a tough question?
DB: Go ahead.
MHB: In the past season you offered a complete overview of the day’s events for those who decided to listen – perhaps during dinner – after getting home. In the season just started at the same times we can hear endless interviews with Italians abroad (sometimes of very debatable importance) and… Borgonovo.
The impression is of a shift from a news radio to a talk radio…
DB: As I told you, we are not a talk radio, not even an all news radio, but a unique format: a talk news radio, where each presenter carries on their piece of the story.What you call “endless interviews with Italians abroad” are actually public service information, which public service often forgets. The stories make the difference. Listeners identify with those stories, because the father and mother have a child who has gone far away looking for a job and dignity, perhaps excellence.
The presence of Francesco Borgonovo shows that Giornale Radio, while having a very clear editorial line, remains a unique, independent and pluralistic information medium. (M.H.B. for FM-World)

Immersive Worlds and Augmented Reality in Our Future: A Conversation with Eugenio Gatto of Eurosystem

Eugenio Gatto (Eurosystem): New technologies can be frightening, but how we use them depends on us.

Italian corporations has already understood the potential of this technology and calls on us directly. Our product works in both augmented and virtual reality and can be associated with an app.

Customer data? We generally import it from CAD. 3D viewer? For now we use Metaquest 2, but we are moving towards Lenovo’s offering, while we remain on standby for Apple.

Developing hardware in Italy seems impossible to me, it’s a different story for software.

As we recently reported on Linkedin, 22HBG is experimenting with the use of augmented reality (AR) for its applications, starting with the evolution of the FM-World app.

This is an innovative and perhaps revolutionary way to interact with the real world and the applications that assist us every day, where many are taking the first steps. So we thought we’d talk to an Italian company that is a de facto leader, having started operating in this area several years ago. Here is the report of the conversation with Eugenio Gatto, business unit manager for “immersive technologies”. For those who prefer to listen to Eugenio’s own words, you can listen to this podcast.

The interview

Marco Hugo Barsotti: let’s start with an introduction of Eurosystem: when and why did you decide to open a business line linked to AR/VR.

Eugenio Gatto: Eurosystem has been in IT for about 40 years and, in the specific case of the division for immersive technologies, Eurosystem acquired my company which was called Ragtag which is now the business unit for immersive technologies. Of course, Eurosystem’s priorities included acquiring all those strategic companies that could bring value especially in terms of innovation and of course it chose Ragtag because we already had several years of experience in developing software for vertical immersive technologies for companies.


MHB: What was the history of your company?

EG: Ragtag was founded by two partners, myself and Fabio who is currently the other business unit manager. We met sharing a common vision, in addition to a passion and experience for 3D and rendering.

Future Shock

MHB: I’ll ask you a bit of a cultural question, then we’ll move on to the real technical questions: In general – and we see it with AI and maybe with AR too – why do new technologies excite some people yet frighten others?

EG: New technologies excite because of expected results and frighten for the same reasons, for what one imagines they will allow, sometimes in a dystopian direction (anti-utopian, in other words a future where technology can oppress man and his freedoms, Ed.)

In reality it depends on us how we use them: on those who develop them and guide applications, but also on those who use them and vote with their wallets on which ones should emerge.

It is up to us to distinguish harmful uses from useful ones and take responsibility for promoting only technologies that have a positive impact. Developers by giving an ethical imprint and users by rewarding only virtuous applications.

Augmented Reality

MHB: Let’s get to AR. It may be worth explaining, even for those who don’t know you, whether you have a specific product or you present yourself as a service provider.

EG: Basically we have a product which is a multi-platform 3d product configurator that works from smartphones to desktop PCs and works in both virtual and augmented reality.

To help you understand, one of the uses is support for salespeople within a showroom, where they can present the product in a much more engaging way and above all they can configure it.

In the vast majority of cases this is something that substantially raises the user experience and therefore greatly increases the chances of sale.

MHB: What’s the process? If I’m a company and I want to adopt one of your solutions, what are the steps?

EG: So the product is called Y Digital Experience and it’s called that because it’s not just a 3D configurator but a tool that allows you to experience an experience. It works on the basis that the experience generated by the interaction between the salesperson and the customer through this configurator is something that must be memorable.

Our product offers a multi-user experience that allows, for example, a designer in one city to interact in real time with a customer in another city. Both wear a viewer and find themselves in the same 3D virtual room with the product model to discuss. They can configure it, change its features, talk about it and draw on it, all in virtual reality without being physically in the same room.

Another key aspect is that the product is supported by a CMS, so if the customer has a 3D department they can become autonomous in implementation, modification and content management. For example, for a new product you can upload the 3D model, enter the configurations and more without having to contact us, all at zero cost.

MHB: Can each customer publish their own app with their own products?

EG: Yes, exactly. Each customer can publish their own app.

AR/VR Viewers

MHB: Instead at the 3D viewer level what do you use?

EG: Currently we use Meta Quest 2 because it has the best quality-price ratio and a very low cost that makes it highly scalable. For example, if a customer needs 10 viewers, having a price of 400 euros instead of 2,000 euros makes a big difference in terms of economy of scale. Meta Quest 2 therefore has a low price that makes it the ideal solution for projects that require the use of multiple viewers.

MHB: And in fact when Apple launched its Apple Vision Pro Zuckerberg was happy, he told Bloomberg “Well Apple, this validates our thinking and in the end, since we cost less, we’ll sell a lot more“, so what you say validates his observation. Does Meta provide support for developers?

EG: We are not in partnership with Meta, but with Lenovo. In fact, we plan to test the new Lenovo virtual reality headset. We are also in partnership with Lenovo, among other things, on augmented reality.

Lenovo has developed an extremely interesting headset that I consider the best on the market for its reasonable cost and very high quality. It is very light, portable and comfortable to wear all day. It has a series of advantages in terms of quality that competitors do not achieve.

EG: The product is called EG: The product is called Think Reality A3 and we are around 2000 euros for the bundle that includes glasses and the connected smartphone, a smartphone that must be used forcefully, you cannot use any smartphone and this Motorola has a dedicated firmware specifically for use with the glasses. (Editor’s note: for those who want to try it quickly, we found it here).

Privacy and data use

MHB: Is there a reason why you are not in contact with Meta? I mean, don’t they have developer programs, or did you go in another direction for some specific reason?

EG: Let’s say that Lenovo has a policy that we embrace more willingly, especially regarding privacy and data use.

So we would actually be more inclined to move forward with Lenovo also from the point of view of virtual reality viewers. Of course, we’ve had to use Meta’s for now for cost and quality reasons, because there weren’t any major competitors…at least until yesterday. However, I emphasize, we still have to get our hands on it.

Lenovo: a consumer product

We noticed a turning point with the Lenovo device, similar to a pair of glasses, much lighter and more manageable. It goes in the right direction, towards a consumer product, even if we are not yet at that level.


MHB: Staying for a moment in this area, how do you position yourself with respect to Apple technology?

EG: At the moment we would never propose that viewer to a customer, because no customer has that specific need…

MHB: …well also because it’s not even on the market, you can’t even pre-order it!

EG: …Effectively. Our strategy for now is to observe the feedback Apple will receive to understand how it will decide to respond and improve the product. For now it makes no sense to propose it to customers for marketing and commercial strategy reasons.

But in our opinion the real value of immersive technologies lies in solving specific corporate issues, optimizing processes. We have consolidated applications such as AR-assisted maintenance and VR training, but we also receive many requests from companies that have deep-rooted problems in their sector that can be solved through new technologies.

Industry has understood

MHB: What market segments do you target…in fact, what are the segments where this type of technology can already be applied today?

EG: Look, the industry has already understood and it is the industry itself that calls us.

It is the companies themselves that contact us proposing ad hoc solutions to solve specific problems they have identified.

In other cases they ask us directly what they can do with virtual and augmented reality to optimize their business. We are very serene, industry is looking for us.

MHB: Yes, but in terms of market sectors, is it more an interesting technology for someone who manufactures cars, just to avoid naming names, rather than an artisan who makes small furniture, an architecture firm… or?

EG: I would say a little bit of everything you mentioned. And more. But let’s remember that custom immersive technologies require significant investments, but I have to say that these are often amortized through facilitated loans and tenders, as they are innovative projects.

Let’s say they are not figures within the reach of micro-enterprises, while medium-large (or large) companies have the resources and draw major competitive advantages from these innovative technologies.

Think of sectors like AR-assisted maintenance: it saves time and costs. Once these systems are adopted, companies do not go back because they understand the impact on optimization.

Saving resources is the main goal, and augmented reality contributes decisively. Medium to large industry has the resources and gets the most benefits from these innovative technologies.

Olivetti no more

MHB: Last question, looking ahead. In general, it seems to me that Italy is no longer a real player in High Tech as it was in Olivetti’s day (and I’m not just talking about the usual P101 but also Olivetti mainframes… maybe Italy has forgotten but when IBM 360/370 was king there was the Bunch, but Olivetti had anticipated everyone with the Elea. So in the 1960s we were ahead of everyone. Now I don’t think anyone in Italy has developed AR/VR glasses… or am I wrong?

EG: Let’s say that we operate in a very particular sector, in the sense that hardware has monstrous investment costs that clearly no one in Italy has the funds to face. Even a colossus like Meta that has invested tens of billions, i.e. the equivalent of one of our budget maneuvers to be clear, still has not made a profit, so it is still investing, I don’t know if I make myself clear; so we’re talking about figures that aren’t even conceivable in Italy.

MHB: Hold on, in 1950 Italy was infinitely poorer than today but a sovereign mainframe was developed, to use a term that is popular today. And the costs were not negligible. Why shouldn’t we dare to try again, this time in AI or AR?

EG: Let me tell you something. Here in my city, which is Modena, there was someone who tried a few years ago.

There was a start-up called GlassUp which had tried to produce augmented reality viewers.

Here in Modena! and of course unfortunately it closed down because either you have the funds to do something like this or your competitors are called Samsung, are called Meta, are called Microsoft and so… as far as hardware is concerned, I really don’t think it will ever happen in Italy.

It’s a whole different story for software.

Currently we use algorithms developed by software houses, even small ones, which are then often acquired by the big ones if the algorithm is interesting. These innovations can also come from us, in Italy.

On the software side things are starting to move, who knows, maybe a small company can grow on its own by developing innovative algorithms. We need to regain the courage to invest in research that realities like Olivetti once had.


MHB: Final question, customers: are your customers in Italy or are there any abroad?

EG: So for now they are in Italy but we are part of a larger group called Smart4Engineering, a French group and we are starting to move in that direction so soon they will be abroad as well.

MHB: So Eurosystem is part of this French company? I got that right?

EG: Yes exactly, it is part of this French fund which has various offices throughout Europe and thanks to them we are starting to move beyond borders as well. (M.H.B. for FM-World)

Best of Talkmedia, September 1-15 2023: Classic vs modern radio formats, old analogue mixers and… the marvellous “r” of madame Marchand

Every two weeks we summarize some of the most interesting posts (based on number of comments) that appeared in the first half of September on the italian Facebook group Talkmedia, the most important private group composed of professionals and emthusit of radio and the broadcasting sector in general.

The topics and comments were selected and elaborated by PeperoniAI and Claude from Anthropic, with fact checking (and some final thoughts) by M.H.B. promoted for the occasion to “AI caretaker“.

Radio Today by Gianfranco Campobasso

In a September 1st post. Gianfranco Campobasso harshly criticized modern radio, judging it negatively for its musical programming, style of broadcasting and lack of imagination compared to the past. This would be evident to everyone by listening today to some old recordings from stations like Studio 105, RMi and Deejay as well as early RTL 102.5

A first commenter replied, defending the author’s right to express himself, but disagreeing with his drastic judgments and saying he actually favoured today’s radio.

A second reader asked the author to explain his point of view better. The author sarcastically replied, inviting him to hold on tight to his modern “little radio”.

Note from the caretaker: Our AI tends to be politically correct and interprets this exchange in a way that in our personal and human opinion is surreal (or perhaps encrypted). Those interested can find it in the original post.

Subsequently, a third commenter urged people not to compare today’s radio with that of the past, which belongs to another era, and to appreciate modern radio for what it offers. The author of the post retorted, claiming he was unable to appreciate contemporary radio, which he felt was actually causing him health problems (gastritis).

Finally, a fourth reader advised the author to not follow groups that talk about modern radio, since he doesn’t seem to appreciate it. With a joking, stinging tone, the author replied that he had no intention of depriving himself of the pleasure of criticizing contemporary radio operators.

Vintage Radio Equipment

By Enrico Bonisolo

In a late August post, Enrico Bonisolo shared a photo of an old six-channel Amtron UK718 mixer, recalling its use in early free radio stations in the 70s.

A first commenter recalled having purchased a similar one in 1978 for a local station, pairing it with other gear from that period. The two nostalgically recalled early experimentation with pirate radio at the time.

A second reader explained some technical characteristics of that model, underlining the limitations of the equipment used by early independent stations. He recounted having used it for a few months before moving on to more advanced technologies.

A third commenter mentioned a historic electronics magazine, asking if anyone had built a particular accessory (a stereo encoder) published in it. A fourth reader clarified that the designer of that accessory was a ham radio enthusiast, not a CB operator, as previously erroneously stated.

There followed other comments where users shared personal memories from that pioneering era of radio, between vintage transmitters, homemade antennas and experiences with brands and magazines of the time.

Capital News

One of the most discussed topics is the “eternally renovating” Capital radio. Both Nicola Franceschini’s September 3rd post and Simone Mercurio’s post sparked countless comments.

A first commenter defined the station as “ruined”, eliciting a reply from another asking in what sense it was ruined, and wishing the station long life.

Others intervened to express criticism, such as the excessive duration of some programs or the presence of unappreciated hosts. Some have switched to listening to a competing station.

But there were also voices of appreciation: some called it the best radio in Italy for music quality and professional broadcasting. One comment praised the presence of music programs with free playlists full of gems.

One user wondered why critics think radio has to necessarily chase audience, without enhancing possible alternative offerings, thus risking becoming mainstream pop.

A comment absolutely shared by the AI ​​caretaker, who decided to add something of his own:

Finally another listener suggested that some hosts should expand the musical genres chosen and avoid excessive – and dangerous – niches.


Finally, much support for Alessandro Cerreoni’s post about Myriam Fecchi, defined as “a super woman who was a DJ, worked at major radio stations, hosted successful TV shows and helped launch prominent artists like Mike Francis and Double Dee. She was the first to bring dance music to television with “Mio Capitano”.

A first commenter recounted having listened to her as a child in the 80s and having felt a strong emotion upon finding her on the radio thirty years later.

Others recalled when the host had a cassette music program in the 80s, sharing anecdotes from that pioneering era of radio. One user proposed digitizing and sharing online an old episode with an interview, to let fans re-listen to that vintage period.

Other historical radio hosts she had worked with were remembered with nostalgia from the beginnings of her career in the 70s, when she took her first steps with great vocal talent despite her young age.

Numerous comments praised her professionalism and unmistakable voice, emblematic of a high quality radio that today tends to be missed. Some also hoped for her return to certain radio contexts to enrich programming with her experience and class.

Someone praising her soft r was answered in the first person by a kind of legend of Monegasque-Italian radio, Barbara Marchand.

Her words “Soft r? There is only one with the real soft r!!!

Final Thoughts from the AI

– The comparison between modern and vintage radio “excites enthusiasts”, but also generates heated controversy between those nostalgic for the past and supporters of the present. Perhaps a little more mutual openness would benefit the debate.

– Radio technology has taken giant steps in recent decades, even if the pioneers of the free radio era retain an affectionate memory of the first homemade equipment.

Programs and hosts like Myriam Fecchi remain a point of reference for entire generations of listeners, emblematic of a quality radio that today tends to be idealized.

– Generalist stations often have to balance ratings and alternative offerings, risking dissatisfying purists but aiming to broaden their audience.

– In short, radio remains a medium that arouses passions and emotions, between romantic memories of the past and a critical eye on the present. Perhaps greater mutual openness and understanding between “factions” would benefit the debate.

Final Thoughts from the Caretaker

One thing stands out. Almost everywhere, in nearly every post, someone mentions old radio format and styles from last century, speaking of it as something preferable and now irretrievably lost.

It is very rare to read someone shifting the conversation to the future, imagining scenarios or proposing innovations. Paradoxically, one of the few members of Talkmedia who does this (even if not in these specific posts) actually comes from the state broadcaster, RAI, which has a much longer history compared to private radio. An ironic situation, considering how cutting edge the private stations seemed compared to the state channels back in the 70s (Peperoni AI, Claude by Anthropic and the caretaker for FM-World)

FM-World editor’s Choice, the radio of the week: From Greece Zuccaradio, a tribute to bar Zucca in Milan, Italy

A Greek radio station named after a prestigious and historic bar in Milan. A DJ from Thessaloniki who selects also Italian music based on tastes developed after meeting Gino Paoli. A web radio that survives thanks to pay channels costing 450 euros per year. All this is Zuccaradio, our proposal of the week, which we discussed with the founder Yannis Mitsokapas

Our suggestion of the week

During the month of August a participant in the Talkmedia group wished that the FM-World aggregator would propose some “suggested” radios, given the difficulty in independently discovering the most interesting stations among the many radios available.

Here we are, we thought of inaugurating the series of articles “The proposal of the week”, also open to readers’ suggestions (to be sent to [email protected]). The proposed stations will also be highlighted on the FM-World app, on the station group “Talkmedia”:

We begin today with the Greek Zuccaradio, interesting both for the playlist which we believe is decidedly engaging and for the free + pay model that is proposed. The founder/publisher of the station (Yannis Mitsokapas) was also kind enough to answer some of our questions.


We discovered the station this summer as it was the soundtrack of the Bazaar Beach Club beach in Neo Pirgos. We immediately appreciated the unusual (and fascinating) musical selection, even if we struggled to understand the name of the station, both because the jingles are really rare and because they seemed to be saying “socca” radio. Socca is obviously a kind of typical Nice flatbread, but here we were in Greece and in fact the name was not that. Armed with a little patience and browsing the “Radio World” section of our favorite aggregator we finally discovered the real name: Zucca Radio, like the Zucca Bar in Milan

Playlist and Freemium model

The music, declared to be of the Bossa Nova, Pop and Swing genres, is in our personal opinion fascinating, with a mix of international classics (often lounge-style covers), quality Italian or French music and much more.

But perhaps even more interesting is the fact that, in addition to the free channel, the radio offers numerous vertical channels (Aperitif, House, Lobby, etc.) each costing 50 euros/month or 450 euros/year.

Homage to the Zucca Bar

The Zucca bar, in the Galleria in Milan, has had a prestigious history dating back to 1867, when Gaspare, the founder of Campari, decided to open the venue under his residence (which – lucky him – happened to be vaguely in the center of the Lombard capital).

Over the years it has often alternated its name (from Camparino to Zucca in Galleria and vice versa). And it is the name Zucca that strikes the imagination of the young Yannis, so much so that he decides to open one of his own, directly on the seafront in Thessaloniki.

The interview

Marco Hugo Barsotti: Introduce yourself

Yannis Mitsokapas: My name is Yannis, I was born here in Greece (Thessaloniki) in 1968. I have two daughters (25 and 26 years old) and since the age of 14 I have been a professional DJ. I named my radio Zucca in honor of a very famous bar located in Milan. After meeting the owner, I obtained permission to use the name for my bar here in Greece, in 2005. In 2018 I moved to Athens, but I kept the name and that’s when ZuccaRadio started.

Since I was a child I listened to my father’s vinyl records, especially Italian songs. In 1985 I went to Florence to study the language and I was fortunate to meet Gino Paoli.

One song, one story

MHB: How do you choose your music?

YM: Well, every song tells us something, brings back memories, images, people. Every happy or sad moment is connected to a song. This is the music I broadcast. You can’t describe it in words. You can only feel it.

MHB: Who are your listeners, and where are they located?

YM: Zucca Radio has listeners and subscribers from all over Europe, USA, Australia and even the Emirates. Hotels, bars and restaurants, various companies, shipping companies, law firms and many individuals are some of our listeners.

Earning money with a WebRadio?

MHB: In a world where very few make money, that of Web Radios, you offer channels at 450 euros/year. Does it work?

YM: Zucca Radio started with the free stream in 2018. All the music I had, not just the classic songs… I wanted it to be heard.

The free stream has no ads, just the Zucca signal. To be able to continue to exist (the cost is quite high) during the lockdown I created the pay streams (Classico, Aperitivo, Instrumental, Cosmopolitan, House, Classico+GR and a Live Set).

Each pay channel has a specific style, better audio resolution and no interruption.

Zucca Radio and Zucca Premium are not playlists. They are based on specific choices and numerical algorithms created by me. Every day you hear something different and every day the tracks are renewed.

DJ Set at Camparino

MHB: Plans for the future?

YM: I would like to create an album with remakes of my 12 favorite Greek songs made by the most inspired Greek composers. And bring Zuccaradio to the US (because the programming is adapted to the time of day and the time zone difference is a problem).

But my wish is to play at “Zucca” in Milan…”

M.H.B. We will make sure to let Campari Group know.

Zuccaradio is available on the FM-World aggregator and on fmworld.com (M.H.B. for FM-World)