By JOANNE FOX
Catholic radio in Siouxland has been the place to hear news related to the faith for the past decade.
It is now the place to “see” newsworthy events.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in spreading the Gospel through Catholic programming, Channel 88.1FM KFHC, Sioux City and Ponca, Neb., and KOIA, Storm Lake, remains committed to using various forms of programming and events to share God’s message.
In 2014, veteran broadcaster Tim Meacham took to airwaves to initiate calling the play-by-play of Bishop Heelan High School football. He returned, despite some health issues, to the gridiron in 2015.
An over-the-top, successful pledge drive in 2016 and listener input encouraged the station to enhance its local programming with the addition of other high school sports – softball, baseball, volleyball and basketball, primarily for Heelan.
It took some trial and error, then-KFHC sports director and broadcaster Pat Schiltz admitted, to determine what type of equipment was needed to provide quality, live broadcasting.
“Once the software was purchased to measure listener metrics, we were thrilled, even stunned, by the number of on-line listeners each football broadcast received,” he said. “Initially, we were going to do a limited schedule, but due to the unexpected demand and the tremendous response from our underwriters, there were bigger expectations.”
Today, now more than ever, the world and community need healthy, vibrant Catholic content, insisted the president of St. Gabriel Communications, the board which directs Catholic radio.
“With strong support of broadcasting Bishop Heelan sports, we added the gift of online video streaming to our tradition-rich radio events,” said John Fitzsimmons.
“We discovered just how powerful modern media can be in our Catholic messaging and an exciting way for us to share Catholic high school athletics,” he added.
With the 2018-2019 school year now in session, Fitzsimmons affirmed the commitment to continue broadcasting Bishop Heelan sports this year on 88.1FM, starting with the Heelan v. East game at 7 p.m., Aug. 24.
“In coordination and with complete support from the Diocese of Sioux City and Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools, we are very grateful to be the broadcast home for Bishop Heelan athletics,” he said. “We are pleased to welcome Jay Wright and Bob Geary as the football commentators for our broadcasts.”
The changes within the studio can now be heard from Sac City to Wayne, Neb., reported the station’s program director.
“The local production quality has improved since we installed the software and equipment at the studio,” Ann Colt said.
Fitzsimmons pointed out that sponsorship from supporters will enable Catholic radio to continue broadcasting sports events from Bishop Heelan schools this year.
“We believe our sports programming is consistent with our mission – introducing our listeners, and now viewers – to our ministry of spreading the Gospel,” he said. “As staff and budget allow, we are also looking at diocesan events to broadcast and/or stream.”
The station has an Android App that can be found in the marketplace under St. Gabriel’s Radio, so individuals can listen via TuneIn. People may also listen online by visiting the station’s website, fhcradio.com.
Questions may be answered by calling (712) 224-5342 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.