Catholic radio broadcasting in two regions of the dioceseBy: J.B. Kelly Marshfield MO
Covenant Network and Catholic Radio Network partner with donors to make it happen
The first Catholic radio station in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau began broadcasting out of offices of Sacred Heart Parish, Dexter, MO. Dedicated to the Heart of Jesus and Mary, KHJM 89.1 FM, hit the airwaves on March 25, 2010, and can be heard in many areas throughout southeast Missouri including the Bootheel.
That same year, members of a lay apostolate were working to launch a Springfield-area station they anticipated a “sign-on” date later in 2010. Finances, as well as issues related to land surveying, site studies, and negotiating lease agreements, caused several delays to the process.
In the wake of the 2010-12 setbacks, Dan Grelle of Rogers, AR-based Padua Media, stated that it looked as though “the only remaining option was to pursue a LPFM (Low Power FM) station.”
Grelle and a ‘team’ of Catholic radio supporters were informed that several stations were available for purchase in the Marshfield area, east of Springfield. Though their initial negotiations with the station owners were not successful, the group contacted the Kansas City-based Catholic Radio Network and worked out a partnership that allowed for the purchase of the Marshfield station.
More than five years after efforts began to bring Catholic radio to southwest Missouri, the “signing-on” of KQOH 91.9 FM this spring came as happy news to the many involved in the radio project. Bp. James V. Johnston blessed the new station–the second Catholic radio station in the diocese–on Feb. 27, 2013. It is dedicated to Mary, Queen of Heaven.
“Just as your word issued forth from You, Eternal Father,” Bp. Johnston prayed at KQOH’s blessing, “may that same word touch each heart that listens to this station.”
The Springfield-area broadcast has been on the air now for a few months.
“There have been lots of positive remarks so far,” said Catholic Radio Network’s Jim O’Laughlin.
“All of us are in need of conversion,” O’Laughlin said. “Our hope is to help motivate our listeners to seek a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church.”
O’Laughlin noted that while the station is up-and-running, it requires the support of local listeners to remain ‘on-air.’
Fundraising campaigns are underway to help maintain–and improve–KQOH 91.9, and hopes remain high for people to tune-in to the station, like what they hear, and fund its existence.
“The possibility exists for a power upgrade for the [Marshfield] station,” O’Laughlin stated, which would extent its listening area and clarity. The cost for such an upgrade could range from $50,000 to $70,000.
Support for Catholic radio stations has increased significantly over the past decade with more than 200 Catholic radio stations currently on-air across the nation. This also represents a faithful response to the exhortations of Blessed Pope John Paul II, who wrote that “knowledge and use of the media, whether the more traditional forms or those which technology has produced in recent times, is indispensible. Using the media correctly and competently can lead to a genuine inculturation of the Gospel” (“Ecclesia in America”).
According to O’Laughlin, the Catholic Radio Association did a nationwide study of Catholic radio listeners two years ago. The listener study reported that 12 percent said that Catholic radio saved their marriage, 2 percent said that it saved them from suicide, and 24 percent said that it brought them back to the Catholic Church.
Not in the Bootheel or Springfield?
Covenant Network, to which the Dexter-based KHJM 89.1 FM belongs, offers streaming broadcast of its programs Online through www.covenantnet.net. Catholic Radio Network also offers streaming broadcasts through www.thecatholicradionetwork.com as well as an iPhone application (search for “Catholic Radio Network app”).
How to get involved
Without broad listener support, Catholic radio would not be available in the community. Contributions to support Catholic radio in the Springfield area can be sent to Catholic Radio Network, 201 N. Industrial Park Rd., Excelsior Springs, MO 64024 (memo “KQOH Radio—Springfield”). Contributions to support KHJM 89.1 FM, broadcasting from Dexter, MO, can be made by calling Covenant Network at (877) 305-1234.