Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.
Today on Register Radio, we celebrated the first anniversary of the program by speaking with David Vacheresse, general manager of EWTN Global Catholic Radio. David spoke about the history of EWTN Catholic radio and about the power of radio for evangelization.
"The affiliates have received Register Radio in the same way that everyone received the National Catholic Register coming into the EWTN family," said Vacheresse. "They're thrilled to have an audio version."
Speaking of the history of EWTN Radio, Vacheresse said that EWTN will be celebrating its 20th anniversary of shortwave, and 15th anniversary of offering its programming, free of charge, to AM and FM stations.
"The very foundation of Mother's vision was to spread the Gospel...using whatever vehicle accomplishes that," said Vacheresse. "What Mother Angelica has been saying to us for the past 30 years is 'Come back to Jesus.'"
Vacheresse shared that EWTN does not own or operate its own stations, but cooperates with more than 200 terrestrial stations by offering them free programming. In addition, EWTN Radio and podcasting are available online, as well as on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio channel 130.
"We look at the growth as an opportunity to reach more souls," said Vacheresse. "Our goal is to have a station in every market... ideally, we'd like to have an English language and Spanish language station in every market."
"Radio can be an effective tool for those who are coming into the faith, because they can tune into it in private," said Vacheresse. "Some also discover it with no intention of finding it. The seek button is our best friend. We have a promise to stand on. When the Word goes out, it does not become void. We know that it will have an effect."
Catholic New Media
In our second half, Matt Warner spoke with us about his attendance at the Catholic New Media Conference and the Church's use of new media and technology.
Of the conference, Warner said, "It's become my favorite conference. It's a great place where a lot of us who do our work online, are able to meet in person."
Asked about where the Church is in its use of new media, Warner said that he believes the Church is about five years behind. He also offered some thoughts as to why that is.
"The demographic of the Church tends to be a little bit older and lagging themselves in personal adoption of new media communications," said Warner. "So there hasn't been the same kind of pressure. The demographic we're serving haven't been demanding these technologies."
Asked whether it's a question of dollars and cents, Warner stated that, "The Church struggles with understanding that the investment is worth it. They think of it as risky, but staying with the status quo is more risky. We miss opportunities if we're not using technology properly. A lot of this doesn't take that much money to use."
"Too often we try to apply a one size fits all approach, but that's not how the web works," added Warner. "We need to try to reach out to particular demographics, and learn what the Church has applied in ministry - that it comes down to personal relationships - to what we're doing online. When someone poses a question of faith online, how we respond to a 15-year-old teen in New York versus a 40-year-old mother in Spain is going to differ."
As always, to hear the full interviews listen to today's show at 2 p.m. EASTERN Friday on any EWTN Radio affiliate or Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. The program re-airs at 7 p.m. EASTERN on Saturday and 11 a.m. EASTERN on Sunday, and is also available on the Register Radio web page, and via podcast.