Proclaiming Christ Through
Catholic Radio | Jim Graves | Catholic World Report
An interview with Steve Gajdosik, president of the Catholic Radio Association
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City calls it “a bishop’s best friend.” Bishop of Birmingham Robert Baker says it is an “indispensable tool.” Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila refers to it as “a blessing which helps us to learn our faith and transform our hearts.”
Catholic radio is currently available on AM-FM radio to about 170 million Americans, or a little over half the nation, through about 250 Catholic radio stations. This may sound impressive, but it is dwarfed by the presence of non-Catholic Christian radio programming, which is delivered by 1,700 non-Catholic Christian stations. Additionally, there are still many major media markets—Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, and Memphis, to name a few—that do not have Catholic radio.
As compared to Protestants, Catholics have been slow to discover the importance of radio in evangelization. Nonetheless, Catholic presence on the airwaves has been steadily increasing in recent years, and, according to Steve Gajdosik, president of the Catholic Radio Association, a unique opportunity to grow that presence has arisen. The CRA is a support organization of Catholic radio network owner-operators, and has the end-goal of helping to “push the growth of Catholic radio” in the United States.
Gajdosik recently spoke with CWR about Catholic radio, its success as an evangelization tool and opportunities to expand its reach in the future.
CWR: Although 170 million Americans have access to Catholic programming via AM-FM radio stations, is there any way to know exactly how many are listening?
Gajdosik: No, we don’t have a direct way to measure the size of our audiences. Most Catholic stations don’t subscribe to Arbitron [a consumer research company that collects listener data on radio audiences], so we don’t have a lot of data available to us. One exception, however, is Relevant Radio, a Catholic network that operates in the Midwest. They subscribe to Arbitron. The most recent numbers they had for the Chicago market were out of this world. People were tuning in to the station and staying with it.
CWR: How is Catholic radio programming produced?