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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rai 2
Broadcast areaItaly
HeadquartersRome, Italy
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Sister channelsRai 1
Rai 3
Rai 4
Rai 5
Rai Gulp
Rai Movie
Rai News 24
Rai Premium
Rai Scuola
Rai Sport
Rai Storia
Rai Yoyo
Rai Ladinia
Rai Südtirol
Rai Italia
Launched4 November 1961; 62 years ago (1961-11-04)
Former namesSecondo Programma (1961–1975)
Rete 2 (1975–1983)
Rai Due (1983–2010)
Digital terrestrial televisionChannel 2 (HD)
Channel 502 (SD)
Streaming media
RaiPlayLive Streaming (Only in Italy)

Rai 2 is an Italian free-to-air television channel owned and operated by state-owned public broadcaster RAI – Radiotelevisione italiana. It is the company's second television channel, and is known for broadcasting TG2 news bulletins, talk shows, reality television, drama series, sitcoms, cartoons and infotainment. In the 1980s it was known for its political affiliation to the Italian Socialist Party, it has shifted recently its focus towards the youth, including in its schedule reality shows, entertainment, TV series, news, knowledge and sports.

The second television channel in Italy, it was launched on 4 November 1961, seven years after RAI's first channel was launched on 3 January 1954. The channel was initially referred to as "Secondo Programma". It received other names, such as "Rete 2" and "Rai Due" until it adopted its current name "Rai 2". Its direct competitor to Mediaset's Italia 1. It is also a state-owned channel like Rai 1.

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Birth and early years

Rai announced the opening of its second television network in late 1960. Its early plans suggested that the network would open by Autumn 1961. In the company's roadmap, it was planned that Rai would have 32 transmitters and 11 relayers carrying the service by year-end 1962.[1]

This evening for us, citizens of the monoscope, subjects of the antennas, inscribed in the roles of the telescreen, this is a great day. A few minutes ago, on the building in via Teulada, a 17-inch hand displayed a white ribbon. And then you all know it: the Second Channel was born. Do you want to see the newborn? Ssssht, be quiet, he's so small. But the doctor says he will turn out very well. Anyway, shall we take a look at it? [...] Have you seen? His fate is already sealed, he was born in the name of victory. And now tell me that I'm rhetorical, that I'm sentimental but I want to dedicate a toast to this second television son. Cheers Second Channel! We consider you a friend and even if, as in the dynasties of monarchs, you bear the name Canale Secondo, we wish you to be second to none and now, little new channel, good night.

— 4 November 1961: Mina's wishes to the newly created channel during the program Studio Uno[2]

Rai 2 begins its regular broadcasts on 4 November 1961 (after three months of experimental broadcasts, starting from 1 August that same year[3]) under the name Secondo Programma: the birth of Rai's second network was baptized by Aba Cercato, who presented the inaugural broadcast of the nascent channel, dedicated to the First World War, with the airing of Giuseppe Dessi's miniseries La trincea, given the coincidence of the launch of the channel with National Unity and Armed Forces Day; the birth of the new channel was also celebrated by Mina during Studio Uno, on the air, though, on Programma Nazionale, the extant network.[4] Its first director was Angelo Romanò, flanked by Fabio Borrelli and Pier Emilio Gennarini.

Already from its inception, the channel had the aim of broadcasting alternative programming to that of Programma Nazionale, but for a long time it was considered Rai's minor channel: its programs had much more limited budgets compared to the first channel and furthermore, while the variety shows on the National Program featured the great stars of the time as protagonists, on the Second Program instead space was given to the new talents of entertainment who, once they achieved popularity, were "promoted" on the first channel. Some examples in this sense are Diamoci tu and Teatro 11.

Precisely because of this dynamic and experimental vocation, the channel proved to be a true hotbed of talent, who would later become stars of the first magnitude on the television scene and beyond, and also of new formats. Starting from 1965, Jeux Sans Frontières (where Italy would eventually take part in every edition) which aroused interest throughout the country; furthermore in 1969 Renzo Arbore debuted with the variety show Speciale per voi, one of the first television programs aimed at a young audience with musical guests and studio debates; in 1967 another historic summer event began to be broadcast, the Festivalbar, a musical event that became an event for young people. In 1970, Rischiatutto debuted, the famous game show by Mike Bongiorno which became a great success, so much so that the Rai top management decided to move it to the first channel for the 1972 and 1974 finals.

From its first day on air the channel aired Telegiornale del Secondo Programma (the current TG2), a brief news bulletin that aired after Telegiornale which had the aim of informing all those viewers who had missed the news on the first channel; this news programme, which included rapid investigations and quicker news, was produced in a different way than that of the Programma Nazionale.[5] Enzo Biagi, already director of Telegiornale, debuted as a presenter in 1962 on Secondo Programma with RT Rotocalco Televisivo, the first Italian topical magazine program.


A few programmes include:


Kids Block

  • Random/ Cartoon Flakes (2005–2014)
  • Go-Cart mattina (1997–2005)

No longer aired programmes

Until 1975 regular broadcasting was monochrome, with very few exceptions. Since late 1975, then called Rete 2 began airing some new shows in colour, then beginning semi-regular colour broadcasting during the autumn season (a few hours a week). Rai 1 followed its "sister network" a few months later. Eventually, regular broadcasting in colour began on 1 February 1977.

  • Rischiatutto, one-hour-long Italian version of Jeopardy!, hosted by Mike Bongiorno, aired on Thursday night, from 5 February 1970, at 9:15 pm (in 1972 season at 9:30 pm). About 20 million viewers watched every episode of the show,[6] the first one aired on Rai 2 to enter in the list of the Ten Most Watched Programmes on Italian TV during the year. The final two seasons (1973 and 1974) were aired on Rai 1.
  • Ondalibera (known popularly as Televacca, Cow TV), was a one-hour-long comedy and satirical show hosted by a very young Roberto Benigni in his television debut. In the show, the Tuscan peasant Mario Cioni (Benigni) hosts a programme aired in the fictional local channel Televacca, which has its headquarters in a stable full of hay and animals. Using a sometimes vulgar and desecrating speech, with a heavy Tuscan accent, Benigni improvised monologues and satirised the TV medium and the society. Co-hosts were the boor Monna (Carlo Monni) and his "daughter" Donatella, a Daisy Mae Yokum stylish young woman.[7] Considered one of the most controversial programmes in Italian TV history, censored and interrupted after only four episodes despite being relatively successful, the programme debuted on 19 December 1976, airing on Sunday nights at 8:45 PM.[8]


  1. ^ "Broadcasting" (PDF). 5 December 1960. p. 90. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  2. ^ "Mina inaugura il Secondo Canale". YouTube.
  3. ^ "Da oggi il «2º canale tv»". La Stampa. 1 August 1961. p. 4.
  4. ^ "RAI2: "I MIEI PRIMI CINQUANT'ANNI"". 22 October 2013. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  5. ^ Ugo Buzzolan (3 December 1961). "Il "2º canale" un mese dopo". La Stampa. p. 4.
  6. ^[permanent dead link] (Italian)
  7. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Roberto Benigni Onda Libera 1/5". YouTube.
  8. ^ The "opening theme" of the show, titled "La Marcia Degli Incazzati" (Pissed Off Guys' March) Archived 20 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine

External links

This page was last edited on 6 June 2024, at 13:10
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