WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 10, 1999) -- Catholic radio broadcasters will explore possible ways to expand their ministry during a two-day conference next week in Florida.
The Conference on Catholic Radio, which is sponsored by the Bishops' Catholic Communication Campaign, will bring together about 45 individuals representing dioceses and religious orders that are active in radio ministry. Current ministries range from diocesan owned and operated stations to dioceses and religious orders that produce and distribute weekly programs.
Surveys conducted during the development of a Strategic Plan for Communications adopted by the bishops' conference in November, 1997, indicated a high interest among the bishops in radio. Radio was singled out as a medium that is underutilized by the Church but one which the bishops feel has great potential.
Conference participants will hear from experts in the field including Norval Reece of Kane Reece Associates, who assisted the bishops in the development of their strategic communications plan; Tom Bender, a Catholic layman who is senior vice president and general manager of the Greater Detroit Radio Group; and James Stenger, a Washington communications attorney who represents some diocesan-affiliated radio stations.
Other participants in the meeting will present information on their particular radio ministries. The meeting will wrap up with a discussion of possible models for cooperation between the CCC and other entities to expand the Catholic Church's presence on U.S. radio airwaves.
According to Patricia Ryan Garcia, CCC's Director of Distribution, one possible outcome of the meeting could be the development of more radio programs and features to be distributed by the bishops' conference. The CCC currently sponsors a fifteen-minute weekly program titled "Journeys Through Rock," that is distributed as a public service by ABC Radio. The weekly television talk show "Among Friends," produced and distributed by the CCC, is also used as a radio program by some dioceses.
The February 18-19 meeting, which will take place in Tampa, will be hosted by Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg. Bishop Lynch chairs the bishops' Communications Committee and his diocese owns and operates two FM radio stations.