Radio Veneto24: “An original format with content different from other Italian radio offering”

Featured on the italian radio aggregator FM-World, Veneto24 represents a local all-news radio format of great interest. To learn more, we interviewed the station manager of Veneto24, Costantino da Tos.

Costantino da Tos

Station Manager of Radio Veneto24, he has a long and proven experience in the radio and television media sector. He conducted the design of Radio Veneto24 and oversees its implementation and development.

The Interview

Marco Hugo Barsotti (FM-World): Let’s start with a few words about you and the history of this station.

Costantino da Tos: Veneto24 was born from an idea, in a way, of many radio consultants: the lack of an all-news format, even at a local level in Italy. It has always been talked about, but in the end, the problem has always been being able to achieve it. Personally, two years ago, I met Giuseppe Bergantin, who is a print publisher. A free press with an enormous capillary distribution in Veneto. He brought a passion for radio, but above all, thirty years of concrete experience with journalists, information, local reality, and capillary distribution.

Print Splitting

Furthermore, he had borrowed the concept of splitting from local radio. He has a huge number of editions that, in a capillary way, much like radio splits, cover the Veneto territory. So there were many points in common. These points in common had as a common denominator the fact of working with journalists, which is difficult for radio broadcasters, as we were not used to it. We had dealt with the territory in a capillary way and had a focus on information. Putting these things together, the Veneto24 project was born.

FM-World: For those who don’t know… the publication is called La Piazza?

C.D.T.: The Free Press is called La Piazza, and that’s the split one. They have about thirty editions for Veneto, and this is the interesting thing. So it’s even more than at the municipal level, it’s at the provincial level.

FM-World: Perhaps more, in Veneto there are only seven provinces, if I’m not mistaken…

C.D.T.: Indeed, the editions are capillary and reach the level of sub-provincial subsets.

FM-World: So he has journalistic experience, print media, and perhaps advertising. Yours, on the other hand, is more radio-oriented?

C.D.T.: Yes, the publisher’s experience is journalistic and in print media. In reality, it started thirty years ago with a first experience as a radio publisher. A small local station that he later sold, but which remained a suspended desire in a way.

My experience, on the other hand, comes from local radio stations since I was 18 years old, so it’s been 35-40 years now. I continued as the director of Radio Venezia, then I joined SpheraHolding, the holding company of Company, Radio 80, Radio Padova, Easy Network as CMO, then director of Radio Padova, Easy Network. After my collaboration with SpheraHolding ended, I dedicated myself to radio consulting. I am a consultant for LagoUno, Radio Nostalgia, and Radio NumberOne, a series of stations for a Swiss publisher, and finally for Veneto24. That is my background.

Veneto24 News

FM-World: When did the radio start broadcasting?

C.D.T.: Six months ago. We started in September of last year, 2023. The entire technical structure was designed and set up in June-July of last year. In September, we began broadcasting only on streaming. Two months later, we turned on the first experimental MUX in Veneto. Now there’s a second one; the first one only covered the province of Padua, the Padua area. A second one was turned on in Vicenza, and now we’re waiting for the release of the app concessions.

From AudioOne to Zetta

FM-World: Technology platforms?

C.D.T.: The on-air broadcast, Zetta control room. Schedule and scheduling g-Selector. Advertising schedule Aquira. The NewsRoom we chose is NewsBoss for editing, receiving, writing, and managing the news flow, all shared with the newsroom and collaborators. The OpenRadio platform allows us to distribute podcasts and the AD server for asynchronous content. Apps and web are from AudioOne. All Veneto24 signals are processed with Omnia. Finally, streaming distribution happens through Revma.


FM-World: Let’s talk about content. I get the impression that you were inspired by 1010 Wins, with the story of the 20 minutes….

C.D.T.: Exactly. In a way, if you think about it, for an all-news station, the news is not infinite. The amount of news available over time is not infinite.

Every hour you can consider having 10-12 pieces. So the concept of 20 minutes is not so much a choice made out of thin air, but becomes a necessity in the sense that in those 20 minutes, that number of news stories is told. So it is assumed that the listening is constructed during those 20 minutes. It is also a listening linked to news and public utility news.

So in addition to providing everything that has happened in Veneto, you also have the traffic and weather part. The 20 minutes are statistically the duration of commuting to and from work. So it is calibrated for listening in the car. All the data out there says that somehow the preferred place for radio listening at the moment is the car. So the 20 minutes of TenTen Wins is not an artistic choice, but a real necessity for that type of format.

Certainly 1010 Wins has set a precedent, but they probably have 50 years of operation. And in 50 years they have calibrated their product: it’s not an artistic choice, but an element of necessity, of the station’s format.

Delayed Live and Morning Show

FM-World: How much content is produced live and how much is replays of things that have already been broadcast?

C.D.T.: We have 50 news editions, three every hour, for every 20 minutes. Those are made in a delayed fashion, three minutes before broadcast. So all the newscasts go on air, they are closed three minutes before going on air. The in-depth features are updated every day and are done three or four hours before going on air. At the moment there is no morning show: a news morning show with interviews and guests is planned, and it will be the live part of the station, from 7 am to 11 am. However, the content is recorded just before, so it’s as if it were live. It’s recorded up to three minutes before the news bulletin is generated.

FM-World: Why this choice, an operational choice or a fine-tuning one?

C.D.T.: It’s a step-by-step approach strategy, which is also correct in a way because, in reality, those who work at Veneto 24 have never done radio before.

They are journalists who used to write for print media rather than the web, but without radio experience for the most part. So in a way, the language of radio is something different, something new, and the format is equally new, so you need some time to get everything running smoothly.

Veneto 24’s current operations are at 60%, everything is there, but something is still missing, there’s still some
Here’s the continuation:

Veneto 24’s current operations are at 60%, everything is there, but something is still missing, there’s still some fine-tuning to be done, but then again, having been born only six months ago, it’s also justified.

The Newsroom

FM-World: What is the structure? Is there a connection with La Piazza or are you separate?

C.D.T.: In reality, it’s a hybrid system. Three editor journalists are on staff at Veneto 24 and are the people who build the newscasts, write and read the newscasts. Then there are six contributors in the territory, also journalists, these are employed by La Piazza, so they are the journalists who work for La Piazza, who send two or three reports each day to Veneto 24 from their respective provinces.

So for each province there is a La Piazza correspondent who also collaborates with Veneto 24. Together with the contributors there are then ten commentators who deal with the in-depth features, they are all journalists, some on loan from local newspapers, a couple also collaborate with national newspapers. So that’s the team in the end.

There are 27 features in total that Veneto 24 produces, covering politics, culture, society, economics, sports of course, and commentary on current events, always however with a close connection to topics relating to Veneto. We are fortunate because Veneto is a region that generates a lot of news and many points to report on or comment on.

FM Concession

FM-World: I also heard a lot of advertising on air, which is unusual for a web radio.

C.D.T.: No, no, no, it’s not a web radio because in reality the concession is an FM concession. So this one for Veneto 24 is an FM concession, with a frequency in the province of Padua.

FM-World: So you have an active FM frequency?

C.D.T.: We have an active FM frequency.

FM-World: But this wasn’t clear from the website! And I didn’t hear it on air. Not even on the brochure: DAB, online yes, FM nothing.

C.D.T.: Let’s say that our vision at the moment is more towards DAB than FM.

FM-World: Yet it’s hard to emerge in a region like Veneto which has so many strong brands and some are even historic: Radio Padova was born among the first in Italy, if I remember correctly.

C.D.T.: Yes, perhaps the second, but the question of who was first or second is always…

FM-World: ….Radio Parma, Radio Milano International and then maybe Radio Padova, who remembers…. But I always hear that without FM you can’t break through.

A Unique Format to Break Through

C.D.T.: If we had thought of a station with a “classic” format, let’s say similar to another available station’s format, it would have been really difficult. An original format that brings content that is completely different from the current radio offering, that deals with local information with the possibility of also being listened to through podcasts, that offers the possibility for institutions and entities in Veneto to have a voice, should have an easier life even on DAB. In our case, we are certain that it will be the product that will find its listeners.

It’s true that the historic FM publisher carries over an important listener base due to its longevity and also the spread of FM. The publisher who instead approaches DAB will probably have to invest not so much in networks, but in communication and marketing. Or a presence on the territory: which we have.

Think Local, Act Local

FM-World: GR News is the closest thing to you, but at a national level. How do you view the fact of being… the right question might be: what is the right balance between local and national?

C.D.T.: Well, the right balance could be syndication, because if you create a national network that recounts local realities one by one, you risk always doing an injustice to someone. If instead you focus on a very large area like the Veneto region, in a way you can represent it, recount it from all points of view.

National news or information already exists, through television, the web, national radio stations. Perhaps Radio 24… but Radio 24 is more than just an all-news station, it’s a station that recounts the news and expresses opinions, so it’s not an all-news station.

FM-World: I meant GiornaleRadio News, their second network. The first is somehow similar to Radio 24, but the second one I believe is set up like yours.

C.D.T.: You see, the national dimension is almost a commodity, you have it everywhere, the local dimension in my opinion is a strength, it has always been indicated as a strength by those who talk about and recount radio. Local news is a difficult element to deal with, to find, to recount and focusing on this element is another of the things that differentiates us, but on a broad basin that is the Veneto region. Then it’s also true that you can’t ignore national news.

The right dimension for an all-news station could in itself be syndication, now that in a way DAB gives this possibility, perhaps the most correct path would be to have many Veneto 24 radios around Italy, each tied to its own local reality and finding a common point for national news.

No Clusters, We’re Venetian

FM-World: We’ve talked about many topics. Did I forget anything?

C.D.T.: To return to the topic of advertising and how the ads are inserted: even in this case it has a slightly different interpretation from the usual practices of radio formats. We don’t have advertising clusters, but only single spots that function as punctuation between one content element and another, so even in that we tried to differentiate ourselves from other stations.

The other interesting thing about this type of station is the enormous interest that public and private institutions and entities have for a station of this kind. Because if you think about it, often finding a space to recount their own content for institutions and entities is increasingly difficult, in the sense that newspapers now have a limited audience, the web is very scattered, while radio remains an important mass medium, easy to use because it doesn’t need visuals and manages to communicate in a simple way to everyone. (M.H.B. for FM-World)

From Turntables and mixers to AI-based Radio: Some Hypotheses on the Near Future of Radio Media

What will radio broadcasting be like in the era of AI? Is it possible that, after the era of mixers with turntables and Revoxes, followed by that of automated control rooms with four screens, we will witness a new mutation of studios and important changes in the operations of radio professionals, perhaps accompanied by a return of receivers in the form of “Rabbit-R1-Style” devices?


In December 2022, the world discovered Artificial Intelligence (AI) based on large language models (LLMs) with ChatGPT. Globally, the radio industry immediately saw countless attempts to create programs or even stations entirely managed by AI. Not exactly high-impact projects for the moment, or at least that’s how it seems.

Probably, the integration of AI will be slow and profound. It will go hand in hand with the evolution of the capabilities of various LLM models and will require reimagining radio, and not just asking the various AIs to create radio as it has always been done.

Claude 3

Always remembering that the evolution of LLMs is incredibly rapid, to the point that what was true even just a few months ago is no longer true now: anyone with doubts should read, for example, what the potential is in fields such as “Graduate level reasoning” or “Reasoning over text” of the latest arrival, the Claude 3 model from Anthropic.

The Studios

Historically, before the classic console with the famous three turntables, radio corresponded to a large auditorium with musicians performing live: recorders had not yet been substantially invented, and each station relied on live broadcasting with its own autonomous production, alternating written newscasts with live performances, as can also be deduced from old Radio Schedules.

Console and Screens

This was followed by the long era of consoles with turntable virtuosos and then the current one, with studios equipped with many computer screens where music and interventions come from some hard disk, perhaps even hosted “in the cloud”. And where the presenters are often guided (sometimes caged) by clocks, in accordance with management strategies.

Now and Then

The screens will probably remain in future studios as well, although it is now quite certain that the window interfaces (adopted by the various automation software) will be supplanted by text interactions, written or spoken: it’s useless to struggle to find the infinite options of the various programs in the menu structure when you can simply ask the AI to do what you want.

From this point of view, the concept of LAM, Large Action Model, introduced by Jesse Lyu at the Rabbit R1 presentation seems particularly convincing.

AI-Powered device

Our hypothesis, however, is that in AI-powered radio, the center of gravity of radio stations will shift from the current pair of “speaker + automation software” to a model of “Creator + AI + one-to-one interaction”.

Creator, not speaker

We wrote “creator” and not speaker. We mean to say that the human who speaks on the radio will probably be very different from the current figure of the host-logged-by-clock-and-format.

To differentiate themselves from AI, the host will have to be a creator, a person with great analytical, inventive, and – precisely – creative abilities: all qualities necessary to be preferred over an automated broadcast, as well explained in a recent article on Newslinet.


We mentioned changes in future radio studios. At 22HBG, we are thinking of an innovative device/service, provisionally called WIP (Work In Progress).

One of its features is the automatic recognition of the type of content on air, whether it’s music, advertising, or talk radio programs. This capability allows for the insertion of advertising announcements in a non-invasive manner at the most opportune moments, maximizing their impact without compromising the listener’s experience.

WIP can also act directly on geographically differentiated programming, taking into account location data, weather information, and individual listener preferences. In this way, users can receive real-time traffic updates, notifications of local events, and relevant news correctly interspersed with the normal flow of the broadcast.

Understanding the “mood” of listeners

WIP constantly analyzes data from various sources, including social media, listener feedback via WhatsApp, SMS, and messages.

Through the usual functions of LLMs (see an example of “system” and “user” prompts here above), WIP is able to signal similar viewpoints (in the style of “trending news“) and/or provide a reasoned summary of the most interesting messages received regarding a topic covered in the broadcast. This analysis can allow those responsible to dynamically modify the programming, in order to address the topics of greatest interest on air. Or simply to make listeners aware of the prevailing “mood”.

Personalized interaction

WIP incorporates numerous chatbots capable of directly dialoguing with individual listeners, through a WhatsApp-style interface directly in the radio app or aggregators such as FM-World.

Thanks to these bots, listeners can obtain additional information or participate in surveys during broadcasts. Obvious implications for what is today defined as “engagement”.

And the listeners?

We believe that listeners are ready for the transition towards listening devices inspired by the Rabbit R1. The “OnAir” project of 22HBG foresees for the future the launch of an innovative “multimedia object” equipped with a touchscreen and voice control containing an AI (in the cloud, like the current Peperoni AI, or even locally, a possibility made feasible by recent SLM, Small Language Models).
A gadget capable of reproducing high-quality sound through integrated speakers, hidden from view by a premium matte finish.

But things don’t stop there: within the FM-World system, this device will be in direct communication with the station’s software, receiving data and metadata from it and providing it in turn to the broadcaster.

Privacy & Big Data

In accordance not only with European legislation but also with common sense, the device provides encryption of all uploaded user data, so that it can be transmitted to the station anonymously, but analytically complete. The station will still be able to create a historical “big data repository”, allowing for analysis and segmentation that will become increasingly valuable over time.

Radio 3.0

Infinite are the fields of application of this true Radio 3.0, where – in line with Marc Andreessen’s well-known vision “Software is eating the world” – stations will be able to find their differentiating factor in the conception and realization of personalized software.

From Watt to Python

From the era when whoever had more Watts in the antenna prevailed, to the one where those who are able to have good ideas and realize them in Python will win. And with the support of AI, it won’t even be too difficult (M.H.B. for FM-World)

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 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)