COLUMBIA—Catholics will soon have a new presence on the radio dial in the Midlands.
St. Peter School recently received a low-power FM radio license and is set to begin broadcasting on Aug. 6 on the 92.7-FM frequency. The station will get its own call letters at a later date.
It is the latest school to receive access to the airwaves through a Catholic radio expansion program in the diocese, said Michael Brennan, executive vice president of Catholic Radio in South Carolina.
The expansion is in response to the Local Community Radio Act, which was passed by Congress in 2010 and signed into law in 2011. It offers non-commercial educational groups the chance to request the low-powered licenses. Schools must receive permission from Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone to apply.
Those that have secured a license or are working on one include: Blessed Sacrament in Charleston, St. Paul the Apostle in Spartanburg, John Paul II in Ridgeland, and St. Joseph and Cardinal Newman in Columbia.
Catholic Radio in South Carolina, based in Greer, will help set up equipment and get the stations running, plus provide some content.
“Through this program we can get a generation of school children interested in broadcasting and also have Catholic programming in some areas we haven’t serviced yet,” Brennan said.
Father Gary Linsky, pastor of St. Peter Church, found out in early July that the school’s license had been approved, with the condition that broadcasting begin by Aug. 6. The only challenge was raising money to purchase equipment and have it installed by the deadline.
He talked about the radio station at Masses and posted a letter on the church website. Response was enthusiastic and immediate, he said, and the funds were raised within weeks.
For now, St. Peter’s station will mainly broadcast EWTN programming. In the near future, Father Linsky hopes to showcase some of the church’s music programs and offer live broadcasts of Mass, parish and community announcements, and other information about the faith.
The long-term goal is for the station to produce some of its own programs, using the skills of people with broadcasting backgrounds. He also would like students to receive training to help with the station.
Father Linsky thinks it is a good opportunity for the entire Catholic Church in the Midlands.
“I hope we can help bring the love of God to the community,” he said. “This is a great thing to be able to do during the Year of Mercy. We’re putting some money where our mouth is, and offering people God’s mercy through the airwaves.”