December 18, 2015

Dr. Ray, Archbishop Tobin guest speakers for Catholic radio event in Columbus

By Natalie Hoefer

There is a final frontier in south central Indiana, in a region stretching from approximately Nashville to Greensburg and Seymour to Greenwood.

“Geographically, we are one of the last frontiers of Indiana without Catholic radio,” says Eileen Hartman, president of Gabriel Radio.

She hopes to change that fact by purchasing land and erecting a tower in order to transmit Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) Global Catholic Radio Network programming on Columbus-based WGPI 93.5 FM, a ministry of the Great Lakes Gabriel Project.

To raise the $400,000 needed to purchase the land and erect the tower, a fundraising event will be held at St. Bartholomew Church, 1306 27th St., in Columbus from 6-8:30 p.m. on Jan. 6. Guest speakers include Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, EWTN Radio general manager David Vacharesse, and EWTN radio host Dr. Ray Guarendi, who will talk about his exodus from the faith and what factors influenced his return.

“It was truly God’s idea,” says Hartman of the radio project. “The FCC [Federal Communications Commission] has awarded more than 300 low-powered FM stations with 100 watts, which have become Catholic stations all over the country.

“This is the only station awarded to a local non-profit with 6,000 watts and a Class A commercial rating.”

The staff of Catholic Radio Indy made Hartman aware that the FCC was seeking applicants for the frequency more than a year ago.

“Six other organizations competed for it, and we were the only organization with no radio broadcast experience in the competition,” Hartman says. “God obviously wanted Catholic radio in south central Indiana.”

Having limited radio experience, Hartman hired Steve Gajdosik, founder and president of the Catholic Radio Association, to guide the process. Gajdosik has experience helping more than 200 Catholic radio stations get started.

Room has already been found for the radio station’s office in the United Way Building of Bartholomew County. As a service provider for the county, Gabriel Project qualifies to rent space in the building at a reasonable rate.

All that remains to put the Catholic radio station on the air is raising $400,000 to purchase land and the new 360-foot tower for the WGPI antenna.

“We can be on the air as soon as we raise the money,” Hartman says.

The purpose of the Jan. 6 event is to “raise money, which will be used as matching funds for money to be raised in each parish in our listening area,” she explains. More than 15 parishes fall within the station’s region of reception.

The event will start with a reception offering hors d’oeuvers, desserts and beverages in the lower level of the church at 6 p.m., and will move to the church sanctuary at 7 p.m. to hear the guest speakers. Those wishing to attend the event are asked to RSVP by Dec. 30 by calling Verda Redman at 317-847-3825, or by sending an e-mail to GabrielRadio@goangels.org.

Those who wish to contribute but cannot attend may log on to www.goangels.org and donate money designated for Gabriel Radio, or may send a check to The Gabriel Project, P.O. Box 1233, Columbus, IN 47202.

“We hope to have a home for our antenna very soon,” says Hartman. “Then we can proclaim the Gospel of Life over the airwaves with Catholics and non-Catholics alike in south central Indiana now and for many years to come.” †

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