Vatican broadcast breaks all records
SUNDAY'S BROADCAST from the Vatican, of the Coronation of Pope Pius XII, was the longest, most extensive and most ambitious in the history of broadcasting.
It was well received in the larger portion of the globe, and it is estimated that 500,000,000 were listening. Three great American broadcasting companies kept their stations going all night, as they were convinced that millions would stay up to listen to the ceremonies.
The American companies, the BBC, Radio Eireann, and broadcasting companies in Switzerland, Holland, South Africa and others parts of the world relayed the Vatican broadcasts. Distant parts of the British Empire, China and Japan heard the Empire broadcast on the short waves.
The Vatican announcer expressed his appreciation of the generous and unselfish help given to the Vatican Radio staff by the BBC.
The Vatican Radio staff are to be congratulated on the excellence of the arrangements. Two miles of wire were used to connect the apparatus. Four microphones were situated on the balcony of St Longinus. On the left hand side of the top of the colonnade of Bernini were six microphones sending out commentaries in six different languages. Anther half-dozen languages shared a microphone.
There were microphones in the portico of St Peter's for the entrance ceremony, here and there in the interior of the Basilica, on the balcony for the choir, on the altar where the Holy Father said Mass, and at the Holy Father's throne.
The last-mentioned presented some difficulty: a fixed microphone could not be used as Cardinals and Prelates were moving about and His Holiness was sometimes standing, sometimes sitting. A "living microphone" was used — a priest carrying a microphone moved about with the Holy Father.
The microphone at the altar was so sensitive that the voice of the Holy Father, reading the prayers in a low voice, could be clearly heard.
The Catholic Herald, March 17, 1939