Grand Island (SNR/KVSS) – An expansion effort for the Spirit Catholic Radio Network (SCRN) in central Nebraska has reached its fundraising goal to expand the Spirit 91.5 FM signal by mid-June.
The $160,000 raised will be used to purchase a more powerful antennae and transmitter to be installed on a tower in Wood River, enabling the signal to broadcast at more than 11,000 watts and reach Hastings, Kearney, Grand Island, and all points in between. Currently, 91.5 FM is transmitting at 1,500 watts from Grand Island.
"We estimate that nearly 230,000 potential listeners will have access to the expanded signal in a radius of 50 to 70 miles around Wood River," explained Lincoln/Grand Island Station Director John Soukup. "Once again, I’m astounded by the generosity and desire of so many who want to bring Spirit Catholic Radio to their area."
Father Nicholas Baker, pastor of St. John Church in Minden, and Holy Family Church in Heartwell, said he’s very excited that Catholic radio will soon be available in his area. "It will be great to hear information from a faith-filled perspective, in addition to enabling listeners to learn more about the different facets of the Catholic faith," he said.
Announcement of the completion of this effort comes on the heels of another successful expansion project in northeast Nebraska. More than $140,000 was raised by supporters in that part of the state, which was matched by an anonymous donor. Following construction of a broadcast tower near Osmond, a 100,000-watt signal will cover more than 3,200 square miles. The Federal Communications Commission has established Hartington, as the city of license for the signal.
"We should be on the air with Spirit 88.3 FM by late summer," said Mr. Soukup. "Once both these expansion efforts are completed, nearly 75 percent of the state’s population will have access to the Spirit Catholic Radio Network. While heard on different signals, what the listener hears, or will hear, is the same, no matter what part of the state they’re in."
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), and Spirit 98.3 FM is currently heard in Norfolk. These signals are all part of the network based in Omaha at KVSS (VSS stands for Veni, Sancte Spiritus – Come, Holy Spirit).
Local volunteers and priests in the future coverage areas built awareness and worked with parishes for close to a year to raise the necessary funds for the expansion projects. "These awareness activities, many of them supported by the Knights of Columbus, altar societies, and individuals, not only helped raise the needed funds but also grew the Spirit Catholic Radio family," explained Soukup. "It’s very humbling and gratifying to see the support this non-profit radio ministry is getting from current and especially future listeners."
The SCRN can also be heard on the Internet at www.KVSS.com.
Spirit Catholic Radio for Central Nebraska Reaches Expansion Goal