Catholics seek more presence on radio nationwide

.- Catholic broadcasters are hoping the Church’s message will reach more listeners via the radio waves in the next year.

Religious radio is huge in the United States — it came in third as the most numerous after news talk and country in 2003 — yet there are only 120 Catholic stations among the 2,000 religious stations nationwide, says the Catholic Radio Association. Most of these stations are Protestant.

The Catholic Radio Association, with its several dozen members, is hoping to add as many as 200 more if a "window of opportunity" from the Federal Communications Commission opens in the next year, reported the Associated Press. The window is the only time that nonprofit groups, including churches, universities and public safety groups, can apply for low-power FM stations.

The association wants to raise $150,000 in the next two months to pay for these applications to the FCC. It's not clear when the filing window will open, but the association expects it to happen.

John Lillis is another Catholic radio broadcaster who is working to have more Catholic radio. He told the AP that he plans to distribute programming, similar to National Public Radio, across the country from his studio in Omaha. He envisions discussions with Catholic authors, human-interest stories about Catholics around the country, and a weekly anti-abortion show with interviews with bishops. He and the seven other consultants, who make up New Evangelization Inc., want to help get other Catholic stations get off the ground. They even have plans to start up to three stations in Sudan.

Of the Catholic radio stations currently, two broadcasters stand out as the largest: EWTN Global Catholic Network and Relevant Radio, based in Green Bay, Wis., which owns 16 stations and 14 affiliates in 13 states.


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