Grand Island (SNR/KVSS) – An expansion effort for the Spirit Catholic Radio Network (SCRN) in central Nebraska was realized July 23. Spirit 91.5 FM KJWM is now broadcasting at more than 11,000 watts, enabling the signal to reach Hastings, Kearney, Grand Island, and all points in between.
The signal was transmitting at 1,500 watts from Grand Island, before upgrading equipment and moving to a new tower location in Wood River.
"This is an answer to a lot of prayers, and we can’t thank our supporters and volunteers enough," said Lincoln/Grand Island Station Director John Soukup. "We estimate that nearly 230,000 potential listeners now have access to the expanded signal in a radius of 50 to 70 miles around Wood River."
Supporters in central Nebraska raised nearly $160,000 to boost the signal which first went on air in December 2009.
Announcement of the completion of this effort comes on the heels of another successful expansion project in northeast Nebraska. Spirit 88.3 FM KOLB went on the air July 19, broadcasting at 100,000 watts and covering more than 3,200 square miles. More than $140,000 was raised by supporters in that part of the state, which was matched by an anonymous donor. The funds were used to build a new broadcast tower in Osmond, and to purchase the necessary broadcast equipment. The Federal Communications Commission has established Hartington as the city of license for the signal.
"With both these expansion efforts completed, nearly 75 percent of Nebraska’s population now has access to the Spirit Catholic Radio Network," explained SCRN executive director Jim Carroll. "While heard on different signals, what the listener hears currently is the same programming no matter what part of the state they’re in, although in the future we’ll incorporate software allowing us to localize different parts of the broadcast for each respective signal."
Kevin Pfeifer of Grand Island, who helped organize fundraising efforts to establish 91.5 FM and is a member of the station’s board of directors, said the expansion would not have been possible without the many Catholics in central Nebraska anxious to hear Spirit Catholic Radio for the first time.
"There are so many who believe a faith-filled alternative is needed on the radio, and we can’t thank them enough for their prayers and support," he said. "This truly is Catholic radio for the Christian community."
Spirit Catholic Radio first went on the air in Omaha in 1999 on a small, 500-watt signal. In 2009, the station boosted its reach with the 50,000-watt Spirit 102.7 FM signal, and now more than a million potential listeners in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa have access to the broadcast. In addition, just over a year ago Spirit 91.5 FM went on the air in central Nebraska (Grand Island). These signals are all part of the network based in Omaha at KVSS (VSS stands for Veni, Sancte Spiritus – Come, Holy Spirit).
The SCRN, a qualified 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation, can also be heard on the Internet at www.KVSS.com.
Spirit Catholic Radio in Central Nebraska Expands Signal Spirit 91.5 FM now Heard in Tri-City Area