By JOANNE FOX
Listeners of Catholic radio – KFHC (Ponca, Sioux City) and KOIA (Storm Lake) – may not notice anything different when they set their dials to 88.1FM in January.
However, for the station, changes will be dramatic.
After 10 years broadcasting from the Benson Building in downtown Sioux City, Catholic radio is moving to a new location, the former offices at St. Boniface Church, Sioux City.
The board of St. Gabriel’s Communication, which oversees the operation of the station, was informed in a November letter – just about the time of the annual Fall Pledge Drive – about the change in building ownership, explained board member Don Stevens.
“The new owners of the Benson Building are giving us a bit more time, because of the complexity and logistics of moving the radio station equipment,” he said. “They were very open and willing to consider our thoughts.”
“We knew we did not need to panic even though things were happening quickly,” added another board member Jim Levich. “We knew we had the talent, prayer, planning and communication to resolve the challenges we were facing.”
Board members began searching for a new home for the station among several business properties. Father Brad Pelzel, vicar general, offered the suggestion of St. Boniface.
“I was driving to Hawarden to celebrate Mass in Spanish and listening to the station and the thought occurred to me,” he said. “I wondered if the board had considered seeking to relocate the radio station’s offices and broadcast center to the former St. Boniface parish offices.”
Board President John Fitzsimmons reported members concurred with the recommendation.
“We were delighted that Father Brad presented us with this idea, which the board hadn’t considered,” he said. “We were able to meet and sign a lease with Father Brent Lingle, pastor of Cathedral of the Epiphany.” St. Boniface is part of the cluster, which also includes St. Joseph Church.
Staff and board members have been working on the move during December, Stevens noted.
“We have to contact the FCC, the postal service, move phone service and internet, and notify our vendors,” he said. “There are also things in the new space which need to be done, such as determining what goes where, what painting needs to be done and what carpeting might need replacing.”
Packing up a decade of accumulation and purging what goes and what stays has been under the auspices of Ann Colt, director of programming.
“Our files that have all of our FCC information will be coming with us,” she said. “Also moving to the new location will be some of the furnishings, our CDs of the bishop’s rosary and other premiums we use for our pledge drives.”
What will not be going is the broadcast equipment, Fitzsimmons clarified.
“There was much joy when Catholic radio celebrated its 10th anniversary of operation,” he said. “However, that also meant we were using equipment that was a decade old.”
The board decided to purchase new equipment in order to bring listeners the best quality production available, Fitzsimmons pointed out.
“The estimate for new equipment is about $80,000, which includes the equipment, the computers, the wiring and the labor, but that is not set in stone,” he said. “As good stewards of our funds, we are determining what is critical and what we might be able to delay purchasing.”
Fitzsimmons acknowledged that although the move comes with unexpected expenses, opportunities abound, too – to bring the Word of God via the airwaves and the internet.
“We had a positive response to our recent pledge drive and we thank all who have pledged their support,” he said. “At this time, though, we would ask people to prayerfully consider a financial donation to help offset the expenses associated with the move.”
For more details, contact Colt at (712) 224-5342 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations may be made online at fhcradio.com.