Catholic Chronicle — 6/27/2010
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Catholic Radio Comes To Toledo Diocese
Angela Kessler

Two Catholic radio stations are set to begin broadcasting this summer, which will bring programming to listeners in the metro-Toledo and Putnam County areas of the Diocese of Toledo.

Holy Family Radio, the dream of Tom and Mary Ann Deitering, members of New Cleveland Holy Family, is beginning to broadcast after its tower was raised in Leipsic June 2.

Annunciation Radio announced at a “launch party” in June that it would begin broadcasting Aug. 15 in the Toledo area.

Holy Family Radio At WJTA 88.9 FM, Holy Family Radio is expected to be broadcasting 24 hours a day by the beginning of July, says Jim Lammers, assistant director of the station.

With the tower located near the Leipsic home of the Deiterings, the radio station should be heard as far as Lima, Van Wert, Findlay, Napoleon and possibly as far north as Defiance, Mr. Lammers says.

Getting to this point has been a long road for the Deiterings and a group of supporters that joined them on the journey. Mr. Deitering says the idea first came to him in the early 1990s, when he happened upon a Catholic radio station located outside the diocese that carried EWTN programming. He says he would listen for a few hours every morning.

Feeling that many people in the area were not catechized well, he says, “I thought this would help. At least it would give people the opportunity to hear quite a bit about it.” It wasn’t until 2001 that the Deiterings visited studios at EWTN and started going to the network’s annual conferences, says Mrs. Deitering. And it was another four years before they established Holy Family Communications Inc. and appointed a board so the work could begin on getting a Catholic radio station in the area, she adds.

The reality of building a radio station did not come without a price tag. The Deiterings invested their own funds to hire a lawyer and pay fees to get things started, says Mrs. Deitering. After receiving permission from Toledo Bishop Leonard P. Blair, fundraising began in the St. George Deanery. The deanery, which encompasses all of Putnam County, has 11 parishes.

“The churches are very supportive and excited about it,” Mrs. Deitering says.

With the tower erected and antenna installed, test signals are being sent out and final approval from the FCC is expected within the month, Mr. Lammers says.

The station is to primarily rebroadcast EWTN programming, including live call-in shows “The Doctor Is In,” “Son Rise Morning Show with Brian Patrick” and “Catholic Answers Live.” In addition, local programming is to be added, Mr. Lammers says. With a production studio located in a construction trailer on site, the idea is to produce a program in which local priests and deacons would be interviewed.

In the meantime, Holy Family Communications is celebrating its on-air presence with a kickoff party Aug. 1 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Ottawa. Doors open at 4 p.m. with a cash bar and a barbecue pork dinner is to be served at 5 p.m. Bishop Leonard P. Blair is to be in attendance and will impart an opening prayer and final blessing. Ray Guarendi, host of “The Doctor Is In” is the guest speaker at the event.

There is no cost to attend, but reservations are needed by July 17 and may be made at 419-943-4386 or WJTA88.9@ Annunciation Radio Annunciation Radio expects to be on the air in the Toledo area beginning Aug. 15. The announcement for the station — WNOC 89.7 FM — came during the “launch party” June 5.

Deacon Michael Learned, of Toledo St. Catherine and president of Annunciation Radio, also announced a second station is slated to be on air early next year in the Sandusky area: WHRQ at 88.1 FM.

The bulk of Annunciation Radio’s programming is provided by EWTN, but local shows are also in the works.

A locally-developed program called “Living Stones” is being demoed now, Deacon Learned says.

“That’s based on interviews with people on how God has touched their lives and [they] have gone through a conversion experience,” he says. “And I’m not necessarily talking about conversions from one faith to another, but somebody who has been Catholic all their lives and God has touched them.” Other local programs being contemplated for the station include a “Bishop’s Hour” with Bishop Blair, a live call-in program where one or two people would be in the studio talking about and answering people’s questions about the issues of the day and a high school drive time show produced by students.

The tower for Annunciation Radio is still being built, and the Aug. 15 launch date is dependent upon the weather cooperating enough for its installation, Deacon Learned says.

The Toledo station should reach south past Bowling Green to Portage, east to Bono, west to Swanton and north just beyond the state line, he says.

It was also announced that a second station — WHRQ

88. 1 FM — is expected to be on air early next year. The station based in Sandusky should reach the Port Clinton, Huron, Norwalk, Clyde, Bellevue and Fremont areas, he adds.

The idea to begin a Catholic radio station first came to Deacon Learned in 1992, but he didn’t seriously start working on it until several years later. In March 2007 Annunciation Radio took root.

“I am absolutely elated,” Deacon Learned says of the launch. “It’s been a long haul, it really has. Not to try to sound schmaltzy, but I am just amazed with what God is able to do with somebody like me.”