Redeemer Radio was visited by Al Kresta of Kresta-in-the-Afternoon who was covering an event at the University of Notre Dame. Kresta used the studio at the Little Flower Redeemer Radio location for this afternoon broadcast. Later he told his audience how he, “… enjoyed last week in South Bend, Indiana who had an outstanding radio station there. One of our great Catholic media outlets in America.”
By Stephanie A. Patka
For Catholic radio station Redeemer Radio, 2016 is a special year because it marks the 10th anniversary of the audio ministry. Through the work of its dedicated staff, hundreds of volunteers, board members and prayer, Redeemer Radio has been a labor of love to accomplish the mission of nurturing individuals towards greater Catholic discipleship. The leadership of Redeemer Radio seeks to carry out its mission in many ways including proclaiming the truth of the Catholic faith, by providing encouragement on how to live one’s life in accordance with the Catholic faith and by supporting the development of individuals as Catholic leaders.
Redeemer Radio’s origins started with the name Fort Wayne Catholic Radio in December of 2005. Fort Wayne Catholic Radio began buying airtime on Fort Wayne’s WLYV AM 1450 and broadcasting Catholic Answers Live as early as December 2005 bringing full-time Catholic radio to Fort Wayne radio airwaves.
It was on January 3, 2006 that the late Bishop John M. D’Arcy blessed the Redeemer Radio studio on Illinois Road. Three days later, on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th, the station was fully ready for operation.
January 6, 2006 also officially marked the day that the station began its own branding. It was at a meeting of the board of directors and advisors that the name “Redeemer Radio” was unanimously adopted. As a moniker that has served humanity for centuries, it was chosen for the apostolate because of the truth and beauty of its message.
The staff of Redeemer Radio recall the extraordinary blessings which have befallen the apostolate during its time broadcasting the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith. For most of its 10 year history, the station depended on the 1450 AM signal. In February of 2014, the non-profit Redeemer Radio station received the gift of FM in exchange for its AM station when the Adams Group, who had purchased two local commercial stations to comply with FCC ownership rules, offered 106.3 FM for 1450 AM. Remarkably, no cash was exchanged in the transaction between the Adams Group and Redeemer Radio. An FM signal meant new growth opportunities reaching thousands of new Northeast Indiana listeners 24 hours a day.
To better reach all the Catholic faithful in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Redeemer Radio wanted to expand into the Michiana area. Four members of the St. Thomas More Foundation had joined the board of Redeemer Radio in 2010 to begin researching the process of acquiring a station in the northwest side of the diocese. During the last week of February 2014, then Board Chair, Michael Landrigan was made aware that the owners of 95.7 FM were offering to sell their station. By the end of March, under Landrigan’s leadership, the Board had received pledges for over half the amount required.\On May 14, 2014 an agreement to buy 95.7 FM was entered and in September Redeemer Radio began airing EWTN programming from its studio based at Little Flower parish in South Bend.
Executives and board members at Redeemer Radio credit the extensive number of faithful listeners and volunteers. The support of prayers, time and financial contributions are nothing short of impressive. March 2006 was the date of the inaugural Shareathon, which was to grow to a two times a year appeal for listener donations.
Current Board President, Jeremy Reidy shares his gratitude, “I am overwhelmed by the generosity of Redeemer Radio supporters. This Spring Sharathon turned out to be the most successful fundraising event in Redeemer Radio’s 10 year history.\But even more impressive was the amount of joy emanating from Redeemer Radio listeners, staff, volunteers, and visitors during the three-day celebration.”
He continued, “The Redeemer Radio family was having fun — praying, laughing, hugging and smiling, while working hard to raise funds to support our apostolate. The funds raised during Sharathon will allow Redeemer Radio to continue its mission to evangelize the culture. We are grateful for the outpouring of time, talent, and treasure from supporters across the Diocese.”
Each of Redeemer Radio’s stations have two on-air fundraisers a year. Sharathons, in the spring and fall, raise the necessary funds to continue its programming and local outreach.\\Over the course of six days (3 in Fort Wayne and 3 in South Bend) approximately 400 people, comprising of on-air guests, priests, religious, volunteers, staff and prayer warriors converge for the mission of listener-supported Redeemer Radio. \Sharathon broadcast hours are filled with area parishes, apostolates, and ministries that discuss how they share the Good News and how they extend the mercy of God to others whom they reach.
Since the inception of the radio station, Redeemer has aired Catholic Answers Live from EWTN. In the summer of 2014, Redeemer Radio launched their two-hour weekday morning show, titled “Redeemer Mornings,” and launched this program on 95.7 FM in greater Michiana in December.
Originally hosted by Deacon Jim Tighe, Redeemer Mornings brings the joy of the faith to listeners with information and tips for living the faith in their daily lives. The morning show also highlights interviews covering a variety of topics from local events and diocesan ministries to catechesis and personal faith witness. This week marks the introduction of a new voice on Redeemer Mornings. Deacon Jim Tighe will be passing on the Morning torch to new Redeemer Radio voice, Kyle Heimann. Kyle comes with an extensive background in media, youth ministry and Catholic husband and father. He, his wife and three boys are parishioners at St. Mary of the Assumption parish in Decatur, IN. Deacon Jim isn’t going anywhere, however. He will still be a part of the Redeemer Radio staff in a variety of forms.
Redeemer Radio is thrilled to begin a partnership with Relevant Radio with their national headquarters located in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Since December of 2000, Relevant Radio has been helping people bridge the gap between faith and everyday life through informative, entertaining, and interactive programming twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. Father Simon Says will be filling the 11 am slot, replacing Women of Grace. While The Drew Mariani Show will be heard at 3 pm, previously held by EWTN Open Line.
The weekday noon hour will now begin with Readings and Reflections, followed by Take 2 with Jerry and Debbie. The Journey Home, which was previously heard at noon, will now be on Redeemer Radio at 8 pm.
Another local favorite is Dr. Matthew Bunson with a weekly feature called “Faithworks.” Airing on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., Faithworks is Redeemer Radio’s original, locally produced program that showcases prominent Catholic authors and leaders from across the world and the dedicated and talented people right here in the local diocesan Catholic community. Among Bunson’s guests have been George Weigel, Mike Aquilina, Cardinal John Foley and Cardinal Telesphore Toppo.
The strength of programming on Redeemer Radio is that it contains the best of Catholic radio programming from across the country and also gives visibility to local catholic ministries and broadcasts live during important diocesan events. Redeemer Radio is present at historic events like the installation of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades as the 9th bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend. The station also airs live coverage of priest ordinations and local Catholic high school sports teams.
Following Redeemer Mornings at 8 a.m. is a national morning show titled, “Morning Glory.” Then “Fathers Know Best” fill the 10 a.m. hour, which has teachings and talks from priest favorites Father Larry Richards, Father John Riccardo and Father Benedict Groeschel. The 2 p.m. hour features a live call-in show titled “Called to Communion,” with host Dr. David Anders as he talks with non-Catholics and fallen-away Catholics.
Redeemer Radio also airs Al Kresta with Kresta-in-the-Afternoon. The station was actually visited by Kresta who was covering an event at the University of Notre Dame. Kresta used the studio at the Little Flower Redeemer Radio location for this afternoon broadcast. Later he told his audience how he, “…enjoyed last week in South Bend, Indiana who had an outstanding radio station there. One of our great Catholic media outlets in America.”
Redeemer staff reflected, “It’s always exciting when an EWTN worldwide on-air personality finds Redeemer studios the solution as a base to keep on their schedules. Further it’s a testament to the confidence in Redeemer’s Technical Staff and volunteer corps.”
New executive director, Cindy Black is excited about the future of the 10 year old radio station, “Our Redeemer Radio staff and volunteers gather daily to pray. We ask the Holy Spirit to help us in our mission as instruments heeding Pope Francis’ words: “It is urgently necessary to find new forms and new ways to ensure that God’s grace may touch the heart of every man and every woman and lead them to Him.” \Our listeners will notice some changes to our programming this week in response to that call,” she remarked. Black is confident that Redeemer Radio will continue its work to strengthen those already living the Catholic faith, but, she added, “we also need to reach beyond to those who do not yet know Christ and the power of His love.”
Black continued, “One of my favorite things about Redeemer Radio is how many people are engaged in the mission. In addition to our professional, dedicated staff there are thousands of people who support us with their time, talent and treasure. We have engineers, voice talents, office help, committee members, a mail crew, people praying…all making it a family of faith and joy.” Black encourages the community to get involved in the ever growing and flourishing mission of the radio station. She invites, “If you would like to join the Redeemer family, set up a time to visit either station and we’d be happy to help discern how to use your gifts.”