Police have silenced a radio station that spread the good word to Roman Catholics in an Italian village, but interfered with local air traffic, the La Repubblica newspaper reported yesterday. With its antennae inside a church steeple, the low-powered radio station - in operation since the mid-1980s - relayed services live to the elderly, ailing and handicapped of Asolo village, northwest of Venice.
But its broadcasts at 108 MHz FM - which is also the bottom end of the aviation radio band - led to complaints from pilots at nearby Treviso airport, used by low cost airlines, and triggered a police raid.
Don Giacomo Lorenzon, the parish priest in Asolo for the past two years, insisted on his good faith when police questioned him, but La Repubblica said he will nevertheless have to plead his case to a judge.
Some 160 Italian towns and villages have similar radio stations that are too small to require a government licence, the newspaper said. Using technology from a company in Milan, they typically use a low-power transmitter that costs up to €10,000 ($14,500) as well as fixed-frequency receivers that parishioners can buy for €60 each.