By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
FAIRHOPE — There was a lot for Joe Roszkowski and company to learn when they first got involved with starting a Catholic radio station in Alabama.
“We didn’t know what AM was, what FM was, how signals worked, anything,” said Roszkowski, Archangel Communications’ Board of Directors President. “We got an education, contacted as many people as we could to help and soaked up as much information as we could.”
But that was then and this is now as Archangel Radio celebrated its 10-year anniversary of being on the air Sept. 29, the Feast of the Archangels. The anniversary celebration included Mass celebrated by Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi at the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception as well as recognition for how much Archangel Radio has become woven into the Archdiocese of Mobile community.
“We’ve become relevant,” Roszkowski said. “We weren’t 10 years ago. It was an idea a few people had. We had the vision, but didn’t know where it was going to go.”
According to Roszkowski, there were less than 100 Catholic radio stations in America when the idea of Archangel Radio was first floated around 13 years ago. Now he estimates there are over 300.
Archangel Radio Station Manager/Executive Director Ellen Taylor suggested Catholic radio is successful in Alabama because people value faith.
“I think this community in lower Alabama really values a voice of faith in a world that’s telling us that we need to push God out of the public square,” Taylor said.
“Regionally, this area really recognizes that a voice of faith has a place in the community.”
It’s also successful because Archangel Radio focuses on being local, she said. The station syndicates programs, but produces a local weekday morning show, airs Archbishop Rodi’s show, high school football, Montgomery-based Water Cooler Catechism and other programming.
“We think it’s essential to be rooted in the archdiocese here,” Taylor said. “As young people grow up and ebb and flow in their faith journey, it’s really important to be there, for if they get off the path a little, we’re an easy way for them to feel connected back.”
While Archangel Radio is Catholic, Taylor said many of the station’s listeners are not Catholic.
Because of this, the station tries to find a balance for those who may not have experience with the faith and those who know it well.
“We hope Archangel Radio can be an entry point back into the faith for a lot of our listeners,” she said. “That’s the whole thing. How do you become an entry point? A spark?”
As media changes, Archangel Radio plans to adjust as well. It’s actually incorporated as Archangel Communications and that means more than radio.
The station will debut a podcast Oct. 16 titled “Convergence.” It will include conversations centered on faith and culture.
“That’s our vision. We want to be much more than radio,” Roszkowski said. “We want to be a voice in all platforms of media.”
By ROB HERBST