Organizers of the Italian Wind Music Awards show say they are pleased with the slight increase in TV ratings for the first broadcast of the 2009 event.

The show was recorded in the picturesque Roman Arena in Verona over the weekend of June 6 and 7. The first of three segments was broadcast on the Silvio Berlusconi-owned Italia Uno network on June 8 and averaged 2.9 million viewers, with an audience share of 14.1%. This was marginally up on the figures recorded for the first night last year (2.8 million and a 12.7% share) and in 2007 (2.6 million and a 12.5%) share.

The show, which has the support of Italy's main music representative bodies (FIMI for the majors and PMI and AFI for the indies) although it is not an official Italian industry ceremony, presents awards to Italian artists who have sold more than 150,000 CDs in the previous 12 months.

Performers in the first TV segment included Laura Pausini, Elisa, Giorgia, Gianna Nannini and Fiorella Mannoia, while the second segment, which will be broadcast on Monday, June 15, will feature, among others, Zucchero, Renato Zero, Nek, Claudio Baglioni and Marco Carta. The appearance by the awards show's main foreign guest, U.K. singer songwriter Paolo Nutini, will also be broadcast next week. A third segment is due to be broadcast the following week.

The awards show is sponsored by the Italian mobile operator Wind and is organized by Fernando Salzano of the Milan-based concert promoters, F&P, in collaboration with Giancarlo Mazzi, on behalf of the Verona-based company Arena Extra.

The previous editions were staged in Rome, but the show moved to the Verona Arena this year. This is the traditional setting for the final night of Italy's itinerant summer festival, Festivalbar. Although Festivalbar has been a feature of Italian music since the 1960s, it did not run last year and, while there has been no official announcement, it is clearly not running this year, either.

Although representative body FIMI has organized official awards shows in the past, Italy does not currently have such an event. A few eyebrows were, however, raised when TV presenter Paolo Bonolis, who was the artistic director of this year's Sanremo Music Festival (Italy's main music event), recently left (Sanremo's broadcasters) state-owned RAI in order to return to the Berlusconi-owned Mediaset networks.

At his inaugural press conference at Mediaset he mentioned that he might work on a "Grammy-style" project for Italy, but industry insiders claim this is the first they have heard about it.