Why do we need analog Catholic Radio? Catholic Radio is remarkable. Whether or not you tune in online, through an app, in your car, or in your kitchen, Catholic radio programming is round-the-clock, quality fare that feeds your mind and nourishes your soul. There are literally hundreds of analog radio programs that air each week focusing on all aspects of our Catholic faith journey – Rosaries, Chaplets and other prayers, Masses, marriage, parenting, apologetics, local Catholic community coverage, coverage of major events like the Walk for Life in DC, and so much more. Really, there’s something for everyone. While satellite radio is rapidly gaining ground in the realm of Catholic media, and is proving to be an excellent vehicle for the New Evangelization, the lowly analog radio still has its place. Though many are convinced that analog should go the way of the dinosaur – Norway is outlawing FM radio by 2017 – I feel that these lower-tech stations play a vital role in reaching the masses. Here’s why.
Around the time my mom experienced her “reversion” (return to the Faith after years away), she bought a shortwave radio to listen to Catholic radio. Specifically, her dial was always tuned to WEWN, the shortwave station of EWTN. She listened to all sorts of programming – Masses, prayers, and Catholic talk radio. Honestly – as a kid, I mostly tuned it out. I couldn’t understand why someone would listen to someone yapping on the radio when there was good music to be heard! [I’m looking at you, Hanson, and the pure lyrical genius that *is* MMMBop!] Eventually, as I grew older and realized I couldn’t escape that little radio no matter how hard I tried, I finally gave in and gave it a listen. Inadvertently (maybe intentionally?) Mom’s habit of listening to Catholic programming while going about her daily duties really made an impression on me. Not only was my mother modeling the concept of growing closer to God in the midst of her work, those apologetics shows were fascinating to me as a preteen and teenager. Countless hours spent listening to defenses of Catholic teachings really gave me a better understanding of why we believe the things we do. It truly augmented my religious education. My particular favorite was when Protestants would call in to Catholic Answers Live and ask all kinds of interesting questions. I also loved Life on the Rock, which was then hosted by Jeff Cavins. We didn’t have a Catholic analog station in Houston at the time, so shortwave radio was my only exposure to this programming.
Fast forward to 2015. Houston has a fabulous Catholic station, KSHJ, which I love to listen to and have gotten my husband hooked on as well. The station is a part of the Guadalupe Radio Network. We have personally met the KSHJ Station Director, Joe McClane, who hosts a local show called “Evangelium.” His hour-long broadcast features interviews with local Catholics, offers coverage of Houston news and events as they relate to the faith, and so much more. The program lineup is pretty great, too. Back when I had hour-long lunches, I used to sit in my car and listen to Dr. Ray Guarendi talk to me about parenting. I like listening to Al Kresta or Catholic Answers on the way home from work (cue “Still Crazy After All These Years”…just something timeless about that show!) Often, when my convert husband and I are discussing theology, he will say something and I just stare at him in amazement. I always ask where he learned that little nugget of info, and 9 times out of 10 he will tell me he heard it on KSHJ during his commute to class.
The best part of KSHJ? IT’S 100% FREE. Like the budget of my parents all those years ago, our family budget is super tight thanks to my single (modest) income, and there isn’t much wiggle-room. Like, there’s not even room for the minimal cost of satellite radio. But guess what? My family isn’t alone. Many of my Catholic friends don’t have a lot of wiggle room in their budgets either, especially here in Houston, where a majority of the folks are employed in oil and gas. In case you haven’t noticed, the price of oil is down. Really down. The largest denomination in the greater Houston area is Catholicism, and our numbers are growing rapidly. When my husband converted in 2013, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston welcomed one of the largest groups of new Catholics in the entire country on Easter Vigil night. Add to that the idea that Catholic families tend to be on the larger side, and well – satellite radio doesn’t exactly rank up there with “food,” “rent,” and “electricity.” There is an audience here, with a need to hear the truth. And the truth should be free. We need to be able to feed people “without paying and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1).
But of course, nothing is truly free, is it? Last week, the lovely #edel14 ladies of the soon-to-launch radio show The Visitation Project participated in a pledge drive for the flagship station of their broadcast. KBVM of Portland, Oregon, is trying to raise $240,000 to cover their operating costs. As part of the fundraising effort, the three co-hosts of TVP (Bonnie Engstrom, Heather Renshaw, and Rebecca Frech) hosted a giveaway for those who donated to support the station. The winner? Yours truly. The bigger takeaway?
CATHOLIC RADIO NEEDS OUR GRASSROOTS SUPPORT.
If your city has Catholic radio, please participate in their fundraising pledge drives, galas, dinners, raffles, etc. NO GIFT IS TOO SMALL. There have been times we’ve only been able to donate $20 – and that’s ok. That $20 goes a long way thanks to the wonder-working prowess of shrewd and prudent Station Managers. Of course if you can give more, give more! For those of you that aren’t fluent in apologetics or hesitant to share the Gospel with others, take this first “baby step” in the New Evangelization and support analog Catholic radio. You never know who might be listening!