About Us

Solidarity in the New Evangelization

The Catholic Radio Association was founded to serve the needs of all in Catholic radio and to make Catholic radio a more efficacious instrument in the Church’s work of evangelization.  In fact, the Catholic Radio Association is the only apostolate in Catholic radio that does not exist for its own growth, per se, but for the growth of its members.

 

The Association serves as the trade association for Catholic radio.  It seeks to unite all involved in Catholic radio, including stations, program providers, and Church Hierarchy. As a trade association, the CRA works to advance the cause of Catholic radio by providing member services, facilitating the sharing of knowledge and resources, and speaking with one voice for its members. The Association’s membership includes virtually all Catholic radio apostolates in the country, program providers, and several (arch)dioceses. Over the past 15 years the Association has helped Catholic radio grow at an average rate of over one new station per month.  A current Low Power FM expansion effort could result in over 100 new stations and 10 million new souls reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

 

Purpose
The purpose of the Catholic Radio Association is to serve the Church in its mission to bring all people to holiness in Jesus Christ by assisting and uniting Catholic radio apostolates to reach more people with efficacious programming.

 

Need for the Association
Catholic radio is crawling out of infancy.  Over 300 stations across the United States now broadcast full or part time Catholic programming.  This is an increase from only a handful a few years ago. As the Bishops of North America utilize Catholic radio more readily, the apostolate should experience continued phenomenal growth in the next several years.

 

Because of the Association’s unique perspective, i.e., existing not for its own sake but for that of its members, its knowledge and experience, as well as the necessary services it provides, its role, both in Catholic radio leadership and service, will continue to grow.  In addition, the Association provides an objective and much needed forum in which to discuss the growth pains and ever-changing broadcasting marketplace, so that each station or programming apostolate may take full advantage of all opportunities to expand and spread the Gospel. These reasons make the Association indispensable.

 

History

The growth of Catholic radio received a big boost in 1996 when Mother Angelica made EWTN’s program feed available for free to any station which wanted to air it.  WDEO (Ann Arbor), KIHM (Reno), WQOP (Jacksonville) and WRYT (St Louis) were the first to take Mother up on her offer.  They were also the first to be inundated with requests for information and assistance from others interested in establishing a Catholic station.

 

One of the early visionaries of the effectiveness of Catholic radio was Gene Zurlo.  An entrepreneur, Gene brought together the founders of the aforementioned stations with an idea to harness their knowledge and experience and leverage it to help others by packaging and disseminating it through an association of Catholic radio stations.  It was 1999, with 20-some Catholic stations on the air, the CRA was born.

 

Straight away the FCC opened up an opportunity to apply for Low Power FM licenses.  The CRA got its feet wet and helped a couple groups apply for LPFM licenses.  Receiving licenses from the FCC was the way in which Protestant/Fundamentalist radio grew so quickly and economically over the previous decades.  It can reduce the startup cost of a station by over 75%!

 

In 2000 the CRA teamed up with EWTN to create the Global Catholic Radio Conference.  The radio conference grew out of the efforts of the Lay Catholic Broadcasting Network’s conferences in San Francisco in the late 90’s and EWTN’s affiliate meetings.  The radio conference is the single most effective opportunity to gather and share the collective knowledge and experience of all those in Catholic radio.  It has been a powerful catalyst to the increase of stations and programming, and therefore, the very life of the Church.

 

2001 saw a change in the CRA’s work and organization.  Archbishop John P. Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, in a meeting with CRA founders, asked the CRA to take on the task of being the trade association for the burgeoning apostolate of Catholic radio.  The founders considered the idea and quickly agreed.

 

In 2002 Stephen Gajdosik was hired as the CRA’s first president with the charge to carry on and expand its current work while developing the organization into an effective trade association.  Membership was opened and over 100 Catholic radio apostolates, program producers and nascent Catholic radio hopefuls joined as inaugural members.

 

The CRA immediately began shaping and expanding the new Catholic Radio Conference to make it even more effective in serving the needs of Catholic broadcasters.

 

2002 also saw the establishment of our Episcopal Advisory Board.  Through the EAB every US Bishop over the last 12 years has been informed, educated and invited to utilize Catholic radio to leverage the work of the Church.  This outreach has profoundly affected not only every Catholic station and program provider in the country, but the life of the Church in the US and, consequently, the world.

 

Milestones

1999 – founded

2000 – launched the first Global Catholic Radio Conference with EWTN

2001 – Archbishop John P. Foley, asks CRA leaders to build trade association

2002 –membership element, member services and Episcopal Advisory Board begun

2003 – Filed for over 50 FM translators for members

2004 – filed applications for 40 full power AM licenses

2005 – moved to SC at the request of Bishop Robert J. Baker

2007 – filed over 200 noncommercial FM (NCE FM) applications for members

2009 – initiated and coalesced the national resistance to the FCC’s proposed Localism rules which would have given de facto control of programming to local advisory boards by taking it away from Catholic owners.  Talk show hosts such as Glenn Beck take lead and expose FCC’s plan.  Pending House and Senate legislation is amended to reflect Localism’s threat after CRA leaders meet with key Senate and House members.

2010 – Instrumental in passage of the Local Community Radio Act authorizing a new Low Power FM application window

2011 – Initiated legal actions against Performance Rights Organizations which eventually leads to the creation of reasonable music license rates for talk-formatted stations.

2013 – Raised awareness and lead effort that resulted in over 300 Low Power FM applications submitted for new Catholic stations; Loan facility for capital expansion or debt consolidation initiated

2014 – Advocated in formal Comments to the FCC for AM stations to be allowed to apply for an FM translator, this would give Catholic AM stations a footprint on FM and a nighttime presence.

 2015 – Lead effort to petition the FCC to create a 250 watt LPFM service; Created the Catholic Programming Symposium to equip and enable Catholic radio apostolates to produce and choose programming which is both orthodox and efficacious in our rapidly-changing culture

Uniqueness of the Association

In instituting the Catholic Radio Association its founders recognized the need for more Catholic stations to build up the Church in the New Evangelization.  Conventional means of teaching the Faith were meeting with little or no success.  In order to build more stations, there needed to be a more efficient sharing of information amongst nascent Catholic operators who were blazing a trail in this thing called “Catholic radio”.   With no one else to look to for guidance or experience, the need for sharing successes and failures among operators quickly became evident.

 

As Catholic radio grew, more and more questions and needs arose:

  • Who would apprise Catholic operators of opportunities to expand?  Who would help them?
  • Who would interact with Bishops and help develop a theology of evangelization for Catholic radio?
  • Who would promote Catholic radio among the general population and invite everyday Catholics to fulfill their Baptismal calling and participate more fully in this instrument of the New Evangelization?
  • Who would watch regulatory and statutory proceedings and alert/advocate Catholic radio apostolates?
  • Who would support new and existing apostolates to fulfill their calling to establish and operate Catholic radio stations or develop new programming ideas?
  • Who would look out for the interests of all involved in Catholic radio and seek the good of all, without regard to corporate self-interest?

 

Association leaders, station operators and even the President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications saw the importance of an organization dedicated to the expansion and development of Catholic radio.

 

Today, the Catholic Radio Association serves these needs and more, filling the gap to make the Church’s work of evangelization more effective by helping to convert our culture to Christ one station at a time.

 

20 Responses to “About Us”

  1. Joe Quattrocchi says:

    Thank you Catholic Radio Association for helping New York Catholic Radio, Inc. obtain a LPFM permit! We can’t wait to begin broadcasting the Splendor of Truth!

  2. Fae Presley says:

    CRA and Steve have been an immense help to us in bringing LPFM to our small town of Marquette, MI. Steve is only a phone call away, and that is so helpful. Engineering reports of various tower locations have been invaluable. Webinars and so much more have made it possible for my husband and me to “learn as we go.” Thank you, CRA, and may God bless all of you!

  3. Cecelia Flanary says:

    I can’t imagine going through the LPFM application process without CRA! Steve and Dennis and Stu have been there for me answering every question and concern I had along the way, and also through the negotiations afterwards. What a blessing CRA has been to me. I probably would have given up long ago had it not been for the support and encouragement from the CRA team.

  4. Mike Bellino says:

    From a individual perspective, I can say the CRA has been an invaluable (and extremely responsive) resource in navigating though the myriad of laws, regulations, options, and resources in pursuit of evangelizing with Catholic Radio.

    Stepping back, I see the power of having the CRA in building a community of passionate individuals who collectively are moved to the mutual goal of Catholic Radio. The CRA is constantly improving communications, collaboration and benefits for its members and member stations.

    The CRA supported me from “I am moved to do this… ” to garnering a Construction Permit from the FCC and they continue to guide as my team and I move to the construction phase.

    Joining the CRA was a capital decision.

  5. Bob Groppe says:

    Steve and the CRA has been an important part of WDMC-920AM from our first broadcast in 2008 to our current expansion projects. The professional, friendly advice and timely information has and continues to be a valued resource. We are blessed to be part of this great association.

  6. Dick Russ says:

    Looking forward to a long association with CRA as we launch St. Peter the Rock Media in Cleveland, Ohio … with our planned Catholic radio station.

  7. David Morales says:

    This process was entirely new to us so having CRA help guide our steps was invaluable. Thanks CRA!

  8. Christopher Stearns says:

    The CRA team has been 1000% beneficial in technical and organizational areas of helping establish Catholic radio in our region. Their understanding of the processes and prayerful support has been invaluable! Thanks CRA

  9. Joanne Woodward says:

    As a neophyte in Catholic Radio I can’t say enough about the gift of working with Steve Gajdosik along with the benefits of being a CRA member. With Steve at the helm navigating my LPFM process every step of the way, what was once a wishful desire for Catholic Radio is now fact, to God be the glory!
    It is a pleasure to have access to a man of his character. He is a true leader and visionary, with the highest moral and ethical standards. Steve clarifies the process, delineates the next step, designs excellent webinars to keep us edifyed, with ongoing support and technical expertise, Steve makes it easy to contact him with questions. I was delighted when he located a tower for us and relieved when he offered to handle negotiations with my competition-he does it all! Our LPFM would not have been possible if it weren’t for Steve’s dedication helping the novice-I owe him a debt of gratitude for making the impossible possible. Catholic Radio is the new evangelization. Steve is a miracle man in my book. My enduring thanks to Steve Gajdosik and CRA.

  10. William Grondin says:

    Steve – Want to say thank you for everything Catholic Radio Association has done. In particular, how CRA handled the application strategy masterfully!

  11. Richard Richard says:

    Steve,
    Thank you for your words of wisdom and insight. What you mentioned about Catholic Radio not being a business, but an apostolate, is perhaps my biggest take away from the convention. We are truly trying to be under the guidance and providence of the Holy Spirit.
    We are one of those LPFM station start ups with no experience and I have learned much from you…please keep the wisdom and experience lessons coming.

  12. Dave Stevens says:

    The Catholic Radio Association and Steve Gajdosik have provided invaluable guidance to Redeemer Radio since before it’s founding in 2006 and regularly since then. Steve knows where resources a Catholic Radio affiliate needs are, connects us to them and helps us grow in tangible ways.

    Redeemer Radio has received great benefit from the sound technological guidance we have received from Steve and the association. Each year we receive much more value from our membership then we pay in.

    I’d encourage any Catholic Radio Apostolate to be a CRA member, it’s a tremendous partnership and a great value.

  13. Mary Malloy says:

    Thank you, Steve & the Catholic Radio Association, for walking the walk with us over the last 7 years. Your technical expertise is unmatched. You have always been accessible, mission driven, and extremely hepful to this Catholic broadcaster. Your heart is clearly in the right place–that is, aligned with the hearts of Jesus and Mary– as you bring Catholic Radio to an ever new and widening audience. Thank you for your creativity, your vision, and your untiring work in the cause of Catholic Radio. May God richly bless you and your family.

  14. Sarah McIntyre says:

    We are in Shreveport, LA and are trying to start a Catholic Radio Station. How can we get advice for programming and fund raising or just questions in general.
    Also, when is the next radio conference. Thank you.
    Sarah McIntyre, 318347-0198.

    • Welcome to the work of Catholic radio!

      There are many ways to get into Catholic radio: buying a station, applying for one or leasing. Applying is usually the least expensive, but is only available at certain times. AM is less expensive and, generally, a good way to begin. We can walk you through identifying a good station. There are many elements.

      The Catholic Programming Symposium is our next event: http://www.catholicradioassociation.org/symposium/ I would be pleased to sit with you at length there and help you through the steps. We are also having a training session for the station automation system.

      We also are available via e-mail, phone and on-site planning. Check your Inbox for more information.

      Ad maximam Dei gloriam!

      Steve

  15. Sharon Mitchell says:

    We are in Nova Scotia, Canada, and are interested in establishing Catholic Radio here. Is there a branch of the CRA in Canada? Or a counterpart organization? If not, do you have Canadian members and Canadian programming?

    Thank you and God bless your efforts!

    • Elizabeth Brennan says:

      Hi Sharon,

      I believe EWTN has a Canada-friendly program option. It is supposed to be scrubbed of the type of content not allowed over the air in Canada. I will be going to the conference in November. I’ll see if I can find out more from them while I’m there and get back to you.

      Pax Christi

      Elizabeth Brennan

  16. Katheryn Wilson says:

    I was looking for a Sample Business Plan on your site.

  17. I had along the way, and also through the negotiations afterwards. What a blessing CRA has been to me. I probably would have given up long ago had it not been for the support and encouragement from the CRA team.

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