Proclaiming the Gospel on air
My first experience in the field of communication was radio. I was invited to direct the radio apostolate for the Archdiocese of Boston in 1994. Although the archdiocese did not own its own radio license, there were a number of regular programs broadcast in the region, three of which I produced. To this day, I still produce a regular program on WBZ, a 50,000-watt news station in the Boston area.
Obviously, the ways we communicate are changing rapidly and have been since the advent of the internet. Interestingly enough, the line of communication has gradually shifted away from phone lines and cables and back to “the air.”
It’s become common for people to access various forms of media on handheld devices connected to the internet via fast networks available almost everywhere. With the advent of 5G, those connections are about to become faster and go further. Today any individual, company, cause, parish, or diocese who wishes to be present to an audience must look to “mobile first” as they design their communication platforms.
Radio is often classified as “old media,” not simply because it’s been around since the time of our great-grandparents, but in the sense that it remains a technology carried over the air to a specific device. It continues to be useful as a portable and inexpensive vehicle to convey news, information, and music.
But the old can be made new, and if there’s money to be made in the business, then it certainly will be. If the market will support new voices on radio, those voices will be heard. There is definitely a “market” for the Gospel. Why? Because there remains a deep yearning in people’s hearts for what is true, good, and beautiful.
There is definitely a ‘market’ for the Gospel.
This is always the case, but now, in the early 21st century, as our society grapples with so many problems — divisiveness, despondency, doubts, debates over what is true and right, drug abuse, suicide, and on and on — people’s hearts will open more and more to the message, the Good News of Jesus Christ, that we have always preached.
And so the Church, admittedly an “old” institution, has new opportunities to communicate her message, catechize, and evangelize on this “old media” we call radio. But as Christ said, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Radio has become something new. A whole host of Catholic radio stations have popped up across the country, just as many Catholic podcasts have become available to listen to at home, on one’s lunch hour, or over the course of a long drive. Radio stations are not only on the air, but now many broadcasters livestream via the internet and apps.
Of course, with this proliferation of media comes the challenge for listeners to discern an authentic message from personal opinion.
Still, the opportunities are there for both the Church as an institution and individual Catholics to proclaim that Jesus is Lord! May we be open in this apostolate to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
St. Gabriel, guide our Catholic broadcasters
St. Gabriel the Archangel is the patron saint of broadcasters. Gabriel is God’s messenger who announced the Messiah’s coming (see Daniel 9) and the births of John the Baptist and Jesus (see Luke 1). Gabriel shares a feast day (Sept. 29) with two other archangels — St. Michael (see Revelation 12; Daniel 12) and St. Raphael (see Tobit 5–12). Sts. Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, pray for us!
The Catholic Press Association and SIGNIS North America, an affiliate of the World Catholic Association for Communication, sponsor the Gabriel Awards to honor the best in Catholic radio, television, film, and the internet. The awards began in 1965. Winners receive a Gabriel Statuette, awarded during the Catholic Press Association’s annual Catholic Media Conference.