1910 __ Araldo Telefonico, Roma
‣ Comment : The operators of the Budapest Telefon Hirmondó were interested in licencing their technology to other sites, and at least two related systems were established. The l'Araldo Telefonico. — Italian for "Telephone Herald" – began operation in Rome, Italy in 1910. In 1922, this system, which would eventually exceed 1,000 subscribers, was renamed the Fonogiornale. In 1924, individuals associated with the system started the first radio broadcasting in Rome. (Compiled from various sources) — The aim [...] is to illustrate the historical developments of two technologies in Italy, namely, Araldo Telefonico in the first decade of the twentieth century and mobile TV in the twenty-first century. These two media may be somewhat different, on an economic and social-technological level, but they also have a common key factor : the impossibility of distinguishing between point-to-pont communication and broadcasting. Araldo Telefonico and mobile TV are two examples of the transition from telecommunications to mass media. Even if we will suggest that the telephone had both a point-to-point and broadcasting nature, fixed and mobile telephony were both originally two typical examples of tele-communications: in fact they were tools vreated and used by people to communicate with each other. Later, the fixed and mobile phone evolved into different forms and especially into two mass media (Araldo Telefonico and mobile TV), often maintaining the same device (the telephone), habits, and sometimes the same operators, too. In fact, telecommunications operators are now investing in mobile TV. Furthermore, even if Araldo Telefonico belongs to a different historical period from mobile TV, it achieved similar forms of media convergence (telecommunications and editorial content), of interactivity, and of confusion between the private and public sphere (it was listened to in homes, hotels, bars, and so on): all features in common with the mobile TV, but conceived between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. [...] One of the first official experiments of long-distance telephony in Italy linked the telegraph office of Tivoli and the Quirinale in Rome; "it began with the royal anthem, played on a piano in the Tivoli office. Then some pieces by Prati, a tenor "romanza", flute and violin sonatas and a poem followed." This feature also emerged in an article which appeared in the popular Italian newspaper "L'Illustrazione Italiana" on January 29, 1882, which recalled a peculiar experiment carried out by the Gerosa brothers, pioneers of telephony in Milan : from time to time, they played an accordion in the switching room and connected it to all their subscribers, who could this hear a sonata. While the Gerosa brothers' sporadic surprises could be considered the first steps of Italian broadcasting [in 1882], from the beginning of the 1880s in other European countries and in the United States these uses of the telephone were institutionalized with so-called circular telephony. The first experiment of this 'novelty' took place in Paris in 1881 during the International Electric Exhibition. But the most popular example of the "Théâtrophone" was launched and developed in the metropolitan area of Budapest by Theodor Puskas in 1893 : the so-called Telephone Hirmondò with over 9,000 subscribers. The system was fairly easy to implement. Through dedicated electrical circuits, similar to those of the telephone, subscribers could receive a single "channel" with daily news and shows from a transmitter. When a new "telephone hearing" was organized, the telephone's rign was different from the standard one : a few seconds later the shwo could begin, following an agenda already known to those who paid for the service : what today is called a (radio or TV) schedule. So the audience could listen to their favorite programs peacefully sitting at home, and it was the first time in history in which premade entertainment shows were directly aimed at the home. The Hirmondò model was copied in many countries : from the English "Electrophone" to the American "Telephone Herald", from the long-lived Soviet example ot the Italian "Araldo Telefonico" (Herald and Araldo are quite simply literal translations of the Hungarian "Hirmondò"). In Italy, a previous attempt to formalize entertainment transmissions through telephone lines was made in 1887, as recalled by "Il Telegrafista", a technical journal of that time written for and read by electrical engineers, but a regular telephone broadcasting service appeared only around 1910. [...] « "Communicating", actually, is different from "transmitting", because it implies the possibility of responding : this is what Araldo, due to its technology, could not do. It transmitted every day, at fixed times, political news and music collected by Ranieri; it resembled the newspaper rather than the telephone. Mr. Ranieri broadcast the news not through the press, but using technology founded on the principles of telephony : but that system was not the telephone in the common sense of the word. So neither communication nor telephone, ... the appelant must be absolved from this infringement because his action cannot be considered a crime. In fact, it lacks one of the essential characteristics for being punishable : the objective nature of telephone communication, that in the Araldo does not appear. » "Aralado Telefonico" did not follow the principles of use of traditional telephone communication, so it could not follow its laws. The perception of this distinction appeared in the period 1910-1920 and this is very important : until this moment, in fact, the dissimilarity between interpersonal and broadcasting media could not even be imagined. [...] It must still be remembered that the "pleasure telephone" era, as the historian Asa Briggs defined this early period of the technology, ended with the advent of the radio. In fact, from the twenties a hiatus appeared in the media system : on one side, some media (for example, the telephone) were definitely associated to point-to-point communication; on the other, new media like the radio and then TV adopted a mass diffusion model : so-called broadcasting. That distinction was appropriate until the advent and commercialization of a new medium : mobile TV. (Gabriele Balbi, Benedetta Prario)
‣ Source : Balbi, Gabriele & Prario, Benedetta (2008), "Back to the Future — the Past and Present of Mobile TV", In "Mobile Technologies: From Telecommunications to Media", edited by Gerard Goggin, Larissa Hjorth, Taylor & Francis, pp. 161-173.
‣ Urls : http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Telephone_newspaper (last visited )
No comment for this page