Diocesan News

Diocese Inspired by First Year of Catholic Radio

LINCOLN (SNR/KVSS) - It is hard to believe that just a year ago, a decade of discussions, research, fundraising, and prayer culminated with Catholic radio finally coming to the Diocese of Lincoln. It was January 29, 2009 that Spirit 102.7 FM went on the air and began broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

On that day, Bernadette Gibilisco of Lincoln happened to be flipping through the channels on her car radio when she discovered Spirit Catholic Radio.

“I heard the words of a bishop on ‘Catholic Answers’ say ‘Bless your devotion to Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist’ and I shouted out in my car, ‘thank you Lord, heck yeah!’”

It was a major milestone in the history of Spirit Catholic Radio KVSS, which went on the air in Omaha 10 years prior using a 60-foot telephone pole to mount their antennae on and broadcast on a very weak 500-watt signal. In contrast, the 102.7 FM antennae is now mounted on a 1,300-foot tower, broadcasting at 50,000 watts. More than 1.1 million people in eastern and central Nebraska and western Iowa can now hear Spirit Catholic Radio.

“We’ve heard from so many new listeners who have experienced a conversion or have come back to the church, or have had their faith strengthened by listening to the station,” said John Soukup, KVSS Lincoln station manager.

The radio station has also been a unifying force between the different dioceses in the coverage area.

“It’s inspiring and beneficial to be reminded we’re all on the same team when it comes to our faith and love of our Lord,” said Doug Pfeifer of Denton, and a member of the VSS Catholic Communications Board of Directors. “Priests, religious, and laity from all over the coverage are coming together, not only with their prayers and support of the station, but a few are also able to share their on air talents.”

Over the last year, KVSS programming has evolved to include new shows and new people on the air, including several from the Lincoln Diocese:

    Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (Tuesday show, nightly Rosary)
    Fr. Mark Cyza, Fr. Robert Matya, and Greg Schleppenbach (live on “Spirit Mornings” once a week)
    Fr. Scott Courtney and Tony Ojeda (weekly show “Live Greater”)
    Trish Petersen (co-host of weekly show “Get Real”
    Msgr. Liam Barr and Michael Henkenius (“Spirit of Stewardship” vignettes)
    Jeff Schinstock and students from Pius X and Bishop Neumann High Schools (“Witness: The Time for Action is Now” show)
    Special guests from the Lincoln Diocese on “Spirit Mornings”

Off the air, the number of volunteers from the expanded coverage area continues to grow. From the Lincoln Diocese, the “Lincoln Advisory Committee” has about 15 members who meet once a month to discuss and provide input on various issues regarding this radio apostolate. Also, Spirit Missionaries volunteer to assist with the KVSS ministry in their parish or school. In addition, close to 50 volunteers were involved with the Campaign for Catholic Radio, serving both on the leadership team and as solicitors.

Several people have volunteered to fill specific roles, such as Catholic contemporary singer Ellen Soukup singing for the Spirit Awards Dinner, and at several benefit Christmas concerts with Lynn Cooper. Lisa Marks was instrumental in making Spirit 102.7 yard signs available. Photographers and office workers have also volunteered their time.

“It’s great to see more and more people recognizing and embracing Spirit Catholic Radio as something that is worthy of their prayers, time and contributions,” said Mr. Soukup. “With the Holy Spirit’s guidance, that kind of support is taking this radio station to new levels.”

Last December, the Spirit Catholic Radio Network began broadcasting on Spirit 91.5 FM in Grand Island, and plans are to expand the reach of that signal to Hastings and Kearney. Hartington, in northeast Nebraska, also has plans to join the network, and there is interest from other cities throughout the country to begin broadcasting Spirit Catholic Radio.

“These communities raise the funds for the purchase of a broadcast signal and equipment, and we provide the infrastructure of the station and its programming,” explained Jim Carroll, Spirit Catholic Radio Network executive director. “It’s an effective way to continue this mission of spreading the Gospel to more souls.”

Bishop Bruskewitz agrees with the radio ministry’s impact. “Spirit Catholic Radio gives people an opportunity to hear the truth of the Catholic faith daily; not truth as a community-based consensus, but rather truth which comes from listening to the Church guided by the Holy Spirit.

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