The Spirit of Italian Radio
Italian Sinfonia was a two hour Italian language music and cultural radio program carried by Fordham University’s Public Radio station for 20 years until being cancelled by the station in December 1996 despite the large ethnic population of the New York metro area which is the University’s primary service area.
The program aired a broad mix of current Italian music including pop, rock, reggae, rap, melodic, ballads, cantautori and emerging trends from the centri sociali in Italy. The show also featured interviews with writers, artists, poets, photographers, Italian movie directors and others with an impact on the Italian and Italian-American community. In addition, Livio Sarandrea was the broadcast’s Rome correspondent filing monthly reports and interviews from Italy.
Italian Sinfonia was on the air since the early 1970’s and until its demise, was the NY area’s longest running Italian program on the FM and AM bands. The program originally started as Festa Italiana and featured three co-hosts playing a broad mix of music from Italy. The format changed in the early eighties to one featuring the work of the Italian cantautori such as Baglioni, Bertoli, Venditti, Dalla, Battiato, Bennato and others. In the mid-eighties, the program began to assume it’s final format slowly incorporating top hits from Italy into the play selections. In addition to the top 40 format and well known artists, it was not uncommon to hear artists such as Almamagretta, Pitura Freska, Prozac+, Soon, 99 Posse, Mau Mau, Ustmamo, Grazia Verasani, and Modena City Ramblers. Italian Sinfonia was the last free FM/AM Italian broadcast airing from New York City. Its cancellation ends the era of Italian radio which began in NYC with avent of radio broadcasts 70 years earlier.
Since June 1996, the Italian Sinfonia web site has been continuing to provide information about community events, not only in the NYC area but across the US and Canada, as well as provide news and reviews of Italian music in an effort to keep visitors current. Check here for details about interview segments produced by Angelo Mazza which will air on radio stations outside NYC. If you are interested in a copy of the last program which aired on December 29th, 1996, please send us an e-mail.
The Italian Sinfonia web site is maintained by Vincent Manieri. Please e-mail any comments or suggestions concerning the site.
Angelo Mazza co-hosted Italian Sinfonia in 1983-84. In 1985, he became the solo host and producer of the program. His background is in communications and Italian and he did extensive research on the history of Italian radio in the metro area for his thesis dissertation. Angelo regularly addresses cultural groups and students of all ages regarding topics such as trends in Italian music, evolution of the cantautori and history of Italian radio in the US.