The BBC reports that “Vatican Radio, the voice of the Roman Catholic Church, is starting to air advertisements for the first time in the station’s nearly 80-year history,” and that the first company to air a commercial is Enel, an Italian gas and electricity company. More:

[T]he station - like other organisations - …has recently been looking for outside financial help.


That has now come in the form of Enel. Its commercials are likely to be in keeping with the measured conservative tone of the station.

In return, Vatican Radio could receive some $250,000 (£155,000) over the next six months…

Until now Vatican Radio has been wholly funded by the Catholic Church at a cost of some $30m (£17m) a year.

But the Holy See’s latest finances show that it too is suffering from the global economic downturn.

(h/t Foreign Policy’s Passport blog.)

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.