Diocesan News

Groundwork laid for Catholic radio in Imperial

New station will be aligned with Spirit Catholic Radio Network

By Jan Schultz,
The Imperial Republican

IMPERIAL - An FCC license has been approved, the name is chosen and within the coming year, Imperial will have a new FM radio station.

St. Polycarp Catholic Radio in Imperial will streamline the programs originating from Omaha-based Spirit Catholic Radio, joining other Nebraska stations now operating in Chadron, North Platte, Grand Island, Omaha, Lincoln and northeast Nebraska.

Father Bernard Lorenz, pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church, said he responded favorably when an email went out a few months ago that Spirit Catholic Radio was looking to expand.

Last November, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offered applications to non-profit organizations for establishing low-power FM stations

With a small window of time to apply, Imperial was one of 10 communities in Nebraska that expressed interest in getting a local Catholic radio station established, and applied for the license.

The license has been received for Imperial. Now, a local board of directors is ironing out other details for the locally-owned station. 
Serving with Father Lorenz on the board are Tom Terryberry and Bill Sullivan.

All three board members said the station is not just for Catholics.

Several national call-in shows are part of the programming, noted Sullivan, who also serves as manager of Imperial’s St. Isidore Gift & Thrift, an outreach of Catholic Social Services of southern Nebraska.

One is “Kresta in the Afternoon,” featuring journalist and author Al Kresta, who is heard on more than 160 stations in the U.S.
His call-in show takes questions from all denominations on relevant faith issues, said Sullivan. He even offers a show occasionally only for non-Catholic callers.

Kresta takes a Christian look at news of the day, such as current U.S. border issues, Sullivan said.

Another call-in show “The Doctor Is In” features Dr. Ray Guarendi, a father of 10 (ages 14 to 26), a clinical psychologist, author, public speaker and nationally-syndicated radio host. 

From his website, he describes his show, “Whatever I can do to help you learn, laugh and stand strong as a parent, I’m willing. We’ll cover parenting, marriage and families from every direction.”

In addition, the Imperial station will feature music in the afternoon, other talk radio, a live morning program originating in Omaha, as well as other programming on faith, scripture and prayer, according to the board members.

Jim Carroll, executive director of the Spirit Catholic Radio Network, said broadcasts can also include some programming specific to this area, including public service announcements on parish events and even on-air interviews via the phone or skype.

Father Lorenz said one of the best ways right now to learn what is offered on Spirit Catholic Radio is to listen in other areas of the state, such as when driving east on I-80. People can pick up the station in the North Platte area (FM 90.1), Grand Island (FM 91.5), Lincoln and Omaha (102.7).

The station can also be listened to on the internet where it’s streamed live, or through its app for smart phones.

So why did the local board pursue this endeavor? Father Lorenz put it simply.

“Our modern world is now fast-moving. But Christ wants to be there with heavenly insight into current issues and give us instruction.

“We can do that with holy, radio programming,” he said.

He added, “We are following the good example of our Christian brothers and sisters and, like them, are wanting to help spread the Gospel” through radio.

It’s also responding to the new evangelization challenge of the Catholic Church, he said.
Board members have not yet firmed up a location for the 60-foot (max.) pole needed for emitting the radio signal, which will serve a seven to 10-mile radius here.

The FCC will later assign the FM radio dial location, as well.

Other Nebraska communities which have also received FCC licences and are in various stages of development for Spirit Catholic Radio-affiliated stations include Alliance, Beatrice, Holdrege, McCook, Scottsbluff/Gering, Sidney, Valentine, York and Creighton.

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