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WOV-AM’s La Grande Famiglia

WOV-AM’s La Grande Famiglia

Joseph Sciorra (September 14, 2016)
Ad for WOV-AM from 'Divagando' magazine, July 28, 1954.

Written and audio documents for my research and essay on the radio show "La Grande Famiglia."


Between 1948 and 1961, "La Grande Famiglia" (The Big Family) aired on WOV-AM, a New York City station with extensive Italian-language programming.

"La Grande Famiglia," a fifteen-minute radio show, was an ingenious marketing campaign devised for the Italian American food company Progresso Italian Food Corporation that would, with proof of purchase for products, have Rome-based representative Giuliano Gerbi drive to Italian Americans’ paesi to record mundane messages and heartfelt expressions that would in turn be broadcast twice daily for all to hear. The radio show was also aired in Miami, New Britain, Pasadena, and in Pittsburgh. In the course of a decade, it was reported that half a million families in the United States had participated in this unique transnational communication enterprise.

This blog post is part of my essay “‘Don’t Forget You Have Relatives Here’: Transnational Intimacy and Acoustic Communities of WOV-AM’s La Grande Famiglia” which will be published in the volume New Italian Migrations to the United States, Vol. 2: Art and Culture Since 1945, edited by Laura E. Ruberto and me and published in fall 2017 by the University of Illinois Press

In my article I examine the social context and cultural content of five 78rpm records in my private collection of messages from family members recorded in my father’s and mother’s respective hometowns Carunchio (Chieti prov., Abruzzo) and Maranola, Formia (Latina prov., Lazio) broadcast on WOV between 1952 and 1955. The radio station mailed the acetate records to those Italian Americans who had originally requested that "La Grande Famiglia" visit their family in Italy.

My transcription and translation of the recorded messages can be found in attached PDF files. In addition, I uploaded digital files of the original 78rpm recordings to


Since 1999 when I began researching "La Grande Famiglia," I have met only one other person, my co-editor Laura Ruberto, who not only knows about this unique transnational radio show but who actually has her own family’s recording from "La Grande Famiglia." While my seventeen years documenting is exhaustive, I am always looking to meet and talk with people familiar with the show; please free to contact me [email protected]

I will update this page when New Italian Migrations to the United States, Vol. 2 is finally published.


Transcription WOV AM La Grande Famiglia 78RPM recording Sciorra collection09.14.16.pdf [open]
Translation WOV AM La Grande Famiglia 78RPM recording Sciorra collection09.14.16.pdf [open]
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I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet people, its really really good article on building up new webpage.

Getting to this a little

Getting to this a little late, but an amazing treasure. Im sure we listened to this program, too, align with everything else on WOV and WHOM. Any more such archives out there?