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Are You Listening?

Sally Crowe Nash

During the recent EWTN Catholic Radio Conference held in Birmingham, Alabama, many of the regularly-featured programs heard on Oklahoma Catholic Radio were broadcast live from the conference.  Dr. David Anders of Called to Communion likened Catholic radio listeners and supporters to “… a family” with Catholic radio their “… labor of love … born out of a missionary heart,” like that of St.Paul.  OKCR president Jeff Finnell and his wife Kathy recently returned from the 19th annual conference.

Oklahoma Catholic Broadcasting Network was just beginning to expand beyond Oklahoma City – KOEG in Lawton was just about to be built – when OCBN president Jeff Finnell and his wife Kathy attended their first conference in 2011.  The conferences give EWTN affiliates a chance to unite with each other and share what families share: their stories, their trials, their best practices, and new ideas.

“At the conference in 2011,” recalled Jeff, “I met some very key people who helped us get KOEG on the air!”  Jeff went on to say, “Everyone at the conference was willing to share everything they knew to help out the others attending the conference.  There was no competition or turf protection.”

I have got to believe that is the Holy Spirit at work because such cooperation is not natural to the human spirit.  All of us tend to want to protect our own first,  even when we are engaged in God’s work of evangelization!  The Holy Spirit shows us that sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ opens us to generosity in all kinds of ways.  The EWTN affiliates have taken that to heart in helping each other succeed as Jeff described.

Jeff and Kathy have continued to participate in the annual conferences, despite the fact that there is no OKCR expense account to fund their efforts.  The Finnells are invested in Mother Angelica’s legacy of providing quality Catholic programming, free.  The programs serve to evangelize non-Catholics and to re-catechize Catholics.

This year, the workshops and talks covered subjects such as using social media to connect with listeners, fundraising, and even how to stay in compliance with FCC regulations.

Spending time with other affiliates and the on-air personalities was a highlight too. Many of these people face the same issues that we at OKCR encounter.  Hearing how they address challenges gives us courage or prods us when we need it.  The program hosts offer encouragement, and they, too, want to connect with the affiliates on a personal level to make sure their programs remain relevant and meaningful.

I want to hear more about the conference from Jeff.  He will detail some things for the OKCR board at an upcoming meeting.  That may translate into some new projects for us in 2019.  I am all ears!