Friday, July 28, 2006

Catholic radio growing in size, scope and audience

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Catholic radio comes in virtually every size and shape, as does any other radio format. And the number of these stations is on the upswing. While dwarfed by the thousands of U.S. stations that identify themselves as Christian, the number is estimated at anywhere between 83 and 120.

There is one expanding network of Catholic stations. There is a global shortwave service that later decided to turn its gaze toward the States, offering its programming to anyone free, no strings attached. There are producers of syndicated programming. There are a growing number of low-power radio stations striving to fill the spiritual needs of Catholics in remote areas. Podcasts are in vogue.

Early this fall, there will be a new channel on a satellite radio service devoted to the Catholic Church. The next step is high-definition radio, giving stations the technology to broadcast multiple channels simultaneously to listeners with the latest generation of radio receivers.
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Relevant Radio owns 16 stations — nine in its home state of Wisconsin — and has affiliation agreements with 19 others, billing itself as the "largest Catholic talk radio network in the United States."
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There are "in excess of 80" stations carrying EWTN's radio feed 18 or more hours a day. One that carries EWTN radio across the clock is Sirius Satellite Radio, the subscription radio service. Early this fall, once the technical adjustments are all in place, Sirius will also carry the Catholic Channel, programmed by the Archdiocese of New York. "We'll be emphasizing on our channel a lot of live two-way talk ... to make it sound, in terms of format, like the best of popular radio," Joseph Zwilling, New York archdiocesan communications director, told CNS. "We will be completely Catholic in terms of content in what our hosts say on the air," with an eye on "the issues that are in the news," he said.
[snip] Florida Catholic


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