Like its flashy television sibling, your chance of finding the right radio station that delivers the niche programming you enjoy continues on its upward trajectory. Perhaps the ultimate “niche” programming is religious programming. And Catholic radio, more specifically, is growing, albeit at a much quieter (think “contemplative”) pace.
Since launching WRYT 1080 AM/Edwardsville, the first station of his Covenant Network in 1997, religious broadcaster Tony Holman of St. Louis continued his march into the Springfield diocese’s terrritory in 1998 when WIHM 1410 AM/Taylorville and WOLG 95.9 AM/Carlinville signed on the air. Today, the Covenant Network has grown to 39 stations including a recently-enhanced signal at 88.9 on the FM dial capable of reaching all of Springfield.
“This upgrade significantly improves the 24-hour signal for Springfield,” said Holman, president and general manager. “Covenant Network is now broadcasting Catholic radio from an antenna at 223 feet in downtown Springfield.”
Part of Covenant’s mission reads: “As Baptized Catholics we are called to be missionaries. We all have an even greater responsibility to ‘evangelize’ our brothers and sisters … . Catholic radio is one of the greatest tools we can use!”
“The goal is to help Catholics come to better know, love, and serve the Lord,” Holman continued. And he said that while the audience is primarily Catholic, many non-Catholics and ministers of other faiths listen and support the stations.
“Covenant Network stations have helped many people convert to the faith, come back home to the church and enabled even more to more fully articulate and live the faith.”
Holman said Covenant Network is a founding affiliate of EWTN, well-known for its very public face Mother Angelica who died on Easter Sunday last year. When Covenant Network began there was only a Catholic station in Alaska and two other EWTN affiliates. There are now more than 400 Catholic radio stations across the U.S.
Onward and upward
Since 2001 when 88.9 FM went on the air in Springfield, the Covenant Network continues to build its reach throughout central Illinois: WRMS 790 AM/Beardstown; 96.1 FM in Williamsville; 92.1 FM in Pittsfield; WGMR 91.3 FM/Effingham; 102.5 FM in Mattoon; 104.9 FM in Springfield; 93.7 FM in Quincy; 91.1 FM in Canton, Mo., and Quincy; and 107.1 FM in Stonington/Taylorville. In addition, construction is planned in the near future for an FM station in Beardstown at 106.3 on the dial.
Editor’s note — Catholic radio is also available to Decatur and Macon County area listeners on WDCR/Decatur.