First off, I have to admit that originally I shied off from the very idea of Catholic radio. As with EWTN, I was disgusted by exposure to decades of annoying media preachers and couldn’t picture Catholic media being any better or more interesting. In fact, I assumed it was going to be worse — some kind of rad trad empire — and the ‘cable access’ look and feel of EWTN back in the day confirmed me in my prejudices.
(But let’s remember that I was of a generation that had never seen Bishop Fulton Sheen, but got to hear all about Father Coughlin in history class.)
But Catholic radio, like Catholic TV, has turned out to be a great blessing. I don’t think I’m particularly ignorant, but Catholic radio is constantly teaching me more about the richness of the Faith, and the uses of the gifts God had given us. I’m not alone, either. A huge number of the spiritually hungry people out there are finding their faith, rediscovering it, or having their most troubling questions answered. Catholic radio isn’t about hate or using God as a cover for speechifying and greed; it’s about peace and grace and service. I like that very much.
Ironically, I now find Catholic radio even easier to digest than EWTN. A good number of the new Catholic media folks have better voice presence than physical. (For example, Marcus Grodi kinda has the big-hair preacher thing on TV, but his voice is very reassuring.) There’s also a lot of Biblical apologetics on the radio, which I have come to love. Nice juicy scholarly answers — mm, mm! Also, the direct confrontation with real world problems — whether it’s kids who won’t behave or a caller who thinks priests are servants of the Antichrist — is very enlightening. You also get news of truly interesting Catholic activities. This is good, because the diocesan newspaper seems simultaneously to favor boredom and dissent from Catholic teaching as a means to salvation, and I’m not sure what’s worse.
I will admit that there are still some folks on the radio who scare me. Teresa Tomeo is a sweet and knowledgeable lady, but waaaaaay too fond of spiritual warfare and apparitions. Not that I don’t believe in devotions or mystical visions, but…you really shouldn’t believe in all of them all the time, ne? It starts to remind me of people who believe herbs can cure everything all the time, too. (This is not to say anything against the lady herself or to accuse her of going so far as to be unfaithful. Just that there’s an unhealthy tone to some of her healthy belief in prayer’s power, and I hope she’ll keep an eye on that. Especially since some listeners need guidance about such things, based on what I’ve heard on the air.)
But of course radio and TV both come with a channel changer and an on/off switch. So I don’t have to listen to what I don’t like.
There is one more problem I have with Catholic radio. It’s good that a lot of stations have a “Listen” button on their webpages. (Especially since I couldn’t tune in the nearest Catholic radio station without some kind of Huge Antenna Array of Doooom.)
But some require you to use the latest version of Windows Media Player to do so. This is bad — not to mention a huge waste of bandwidth. (And in violation of the principles of subsidiarity!) However, many radio stations do work with older versions, so just ignore warnings and try clicking anyway.
Here are some links to Catholic radio:
EWTN streaming radio and TV
Ave Maria Radio: EWTN, syndicated, and Detroit-local programming. Probably the best mix.
Relevant Radio: another mix of their own network shows with EWTN and syndicated.
Features “The Right Questions”, a news analysis show hosted by a lady trained by the old school at Dayton’s Journal Herald and WHIO. I can’t wait to hear it.
Immaculate Heart Radio
By contrast, there’s not outwardly a lot of difference between the campus radio stations at Catholic UD and secular Wright State, except that Wright State’s station includes more annoying Flash on their website. UD has a two hour show of Christian music, and Wright State has a one hour show of Gospel music instead. Big flippin’ deal.
I’m not saying everything has to be different, or that a Catholic institution has to be REALLY CATHOLIC ALL THE TIME — LOOK HOW CATHOLIC I’M BEING! LOOK! LOOK! I mean, that’s all show, too, and encourages being a whited sepulchre. But there ought to be some kind of discernable difference, ne? Otherwise, what’s the point of being Catholic instead of being First Church of Christ Monosodium Glutamate?