By JOANNE FOX
Catholic radio in Siouxland has been the place to hear national and international, syndicated news.
A successful pledge drive last fall and listener input has encouraged the station to enhance its local programming.
According to Martha Paz, station manager, the fall pledge drive set a goal of $75,000 and raised $79,000.
“There were about 20 to 30 volunteers who took part in the pledge drive when it came to adoration in the chapel and answering phones; plus, we had another 30 volunteers join us on the air,” she said. “Of the 243 total pledges, we had 17 new donors.”
Another positive story surfaced because the pledge drive took place on Veterans Day.
“We had the opportunity to welcome Cmd. Shockey Snyder, the commanding officer of the USS Sioux City, who was brought in by Siouxland Chamber of Commerce President Chris McGowan,” Paz stated. “Hearing about the building of the ship first-hand was amazing for us in the studio and for all of our listeners.”
Paz reported many callers, and those who pledged, shared their excitement of the improvements that were made in the studio to help provide quality programming.
“Many were enthusiastic with the increased local production and programming that currently airs on the station,” she said. “That included the mention of broadcasting live sports events.”
The radio station has added Bishop Heelan High School basketball games, after the success of broadcasting football, softball and baseball.
It took some trial and error, Paz admitted, to determine what type of equipment was needed to provide quality, live broadcasting. Pat Schiltz, KFHC sports director and broadcaster, agreed.
“Once the software was purchased to measure listener metrics, we were thrilled, even stunned, by number of on-line listeners each football broadcast received,” he said.
Schiltz, who spent 27 years as director of the School within School for at-risk students in the Sioux City Community Schools , confessed few expected such an enthusiastic audience for sports.
“Initially, we were going to do a limited schedule but due to the unexpected demand and the tremendous response from our underwriters, there are now new and bigger expectations,” he said. “We embrace those, but at the same time, we feel the need to continue to improve the broadcasts and make them as informative, entertaining and professional as we can.”
Schiltz has made a lifetime out of participating, coaching, studying and following sports, but this is his first entry into radio broadcasting.
“I have enjoyed watching and then describing how the kids compete, improve, and enjoy the thrill of winning,” he said. “Just like when playing or coaching, to me the anticipation of the big game prior to a broadcast is as exhilarating.”
However, Schiltz acknowledged that while the sports broadcasting on KFHC has been successful, it never detracts from the mission of Catholic radio.
“The sports are just a small part on how 88.1 communicates to encourage evangelization for all the faithful within our listening area,” he said. “Listeners are exposed to a multitude of interesting topics regarding the Catholic Church. If our sport broadcasts help promote the listeners to tune into the daily programming on 88.1, our mission is even more rewarding.”
Promoting the mission
The changes within the studio can now be heard from Sac City to Wayne, Neb., Paz reported.
“The production done locally has increased immensely and has improved since we revamped and improved all of the software and equipment within the studio and at the tower sites,” she said.
For 2017 Paz plans to focus on expanding north into the Iowa Great Lakes area, but also to bring more awareness of Catholic radio to listeners within the KOIA listening region.
“It is amazing that we have been on the air for nine years and we are still finding new listeners and supporters joining us,” she said.
One approach to cultivate new listeners that Paz has embraced is to provide parishes with radio “packages,” that include bumper stickers, magnets, prayer cards, a sampling of reading materials and a CD featuring Bishop Walker Nickless reciting the rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to increase awareness of KFHC.
“This has been done to show the seriousness of our desire to fulfill the mission of the Catholic Church — to meet people where they are and to stand behind our priests in showing that we are also encouraging prayer and spiritual growth,” she said.
The station has also developed an Android App that can be found in the marketplace under St. Gabriel’s Radio, so individuals can listen via TuneIn on any mobile device. People may also listen online by visiting www.fhcradio.com.