Catholic Radio: Faithful, Interactive, and Growing | Jim Graves | Catholic World Report
Solid programming and improved technology have spurred the growth of Catholic radio networks
Catholic radio has had a slow start in the United States in comparison to the success of non-Catholic Christians on the airwaves, but in recent years it has come on strong with solid programming and improved technology which has enabled the message of the Gospel to reach throughout the globe.
In a previous article, “Proclaiming
Christ Through Catholic Radio” (May 9, 2013), CWR interviewed Steve
Gajdosik, president of the Catholic Radio Association.
In this second article on Catholic radio, CWR spoke to several people involved in the industry to share their
reflections on working with Catholic radio.
Mike Kendall is chief programming officer for Relevant Radio (www.relevantradio.com). Relevant Radio is headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, produces its own programming, and airs it through 13 stations it owns and 20 with which it is affiliated. Most of its stations are in the Midwest, including Chicago. Through a contract with Arbitron, “the gold standard in measuring a radio audience,” Kendall believes its weekly Chicago audience is in the 60,000-70,000 range, and total audience 150,000-200,000.
“Our audience is engaged, and we’re a part of their daily lives,” Kendall said. “Our audience might be small compared to commercial radio stations, but they’re very committed. In fact, over 80% say Relevant Radio is their first choice in radio listening.”
Relevant Radio is funded primarily by donations, mostly smaller donors, and some traditional advertising. Their spring 2013 pledge raised $1.3 million, more than expected.
Listeners can hear programs on AM-FM stations in some markets, as well as through the Relevant Radio website or by downloading their free mobile app through any iPhone or Android device. Kendall noted that listeners from all over the world had reached out to the network to let them know they were listening.
Some of Relevant Radio’s most popular programs include Morning Air with Sean Herriott, The Drew Mariani Show and Go Ask Your Father (featuring different priests answering questions about the Faith). The network offers ten hours of live, interactive programming during weekdays.
“We find we’re successful when we address topics that impact the everyday lives of our listeners,” Kendall commented. “Radio’s strength is that it is live, interactive and ‘in the moment.’ We act as the town square where people can call in and express their opinions.”