September 9, 2011
OMAHA (KVSS/SNR) - Shortly after Spirit Catholic Radio
made its debut in the Lincoln Diocese in 2009, Father Scott Courtney knew the
Holy Spirit would be working through this modern means of communication.
"I can’t imagine not having it now. The devotions and
other offerings this radio ministry provides is like having a spiritual director
with you 24/7," said the pastor of St. Anthony Church in Steinauer and Sacred
Heart Church in Burchard, and co-host of Live Greater heard on KVSS.
"The station encourages people to grow in their faith,
and many are."
So when the results of a recent Spirit Catholic Radio
survey showed that 94 percent of the respondents said they spend more time in
prayer because of the influence of Catholic radio, Father Courtney wasn’t
"That statistic alone shows that this radio station is
a viable instrument to preach the gospel," he said.
The Sprit Catholic Radio Network (SCRN) initiated a
listener survey over the course of six weeks this past spring, sanctioned by the
VSS Catholic Communications board of directors. Karen Dwyer, PhD, of the
University of Nebraska at Omaha (who also serves on both the board and
programming committee), shared her expertise in the development of the survey
and analyzing the results. Nearly 1,100 people took the survey, which equates to
a nearly 20 percent response rate from the 6,100 listeners directly solicited to
"Up to now, we’ve just been passing on to others what
we hear from listeners via e-mail, phone calls or personal visits about the
impact of this station," explained John Soukup, SCRN Lincoln and Central
Nebraska station director. "Now we have documented proof that Spirit Catholic
Radio is making a positive difference in the faith lives of many, and in many
When respondents were asked how Catholic radio had
impacted their faith life:
reported increased Eucharistic Adoration
reported increased Confession attendance
reported increased Mass attendance
reported increased involvement in parish life
u129 people said
they considered a vocation to the priesthood or religious life
u78 people said
they converted to the Catholic Faith
attending a bible study or prayer group
"Over the years, we had heard of people being
influenced by the station in their discernment of the priesthood or religious
life, but to see that nearly 130 people say they were impacted by the station is
amazing," said SCRN executive director Jim Carroll. "This was a snap-shot in
time of just six weeks. You have to wonder how many others are going through the
discernment process because of this station who did not respond to the survey."
When it comes to Spirit Catholic Radio’s impact on
changes made in their life:
reported attending a Catholic speaker or conference
reported increased charitable giving
reported increased giving of time and talent
reported becoming MORE pro-life
reported that it helped them teach their children
reported clothing naked, visiting sick, and feeding hungry
"The fact that so many have reported an increase in
charitable giving shows that this station is helping listeners understand the
importance of stewardship," explained Bernie Schaefer, SCRN development
director. "That means our parishes and other ministries are benefiting from more
people looking for ways to give back to God."
The survey also indicated that:
reported that Catholic radio had an impact on saving their
reported Catholic radio had an impact on reducing suicidal
Catholic radio had an impact on practicing Natural Family
Mr. Carroll said it’s wonderful to see how the Holy
Spirit is using this apostolate to impact the family, "And maybe give listeners
that seed of faith that grows in the light of Christ and change lives."
Survey respondents were also asked to rank what has
had the most positive impact on their faith lives, including more than 120
priests who also took the survey. Mr. Carroll said he understands there is a
bias in the answers since listeners were the ones mainly taking the survey. He
also noted that, while lay people rank Spirit Catholic Radio at number two, it’s
understandable that priests would rank the radio ministry at number nine.
"While we enjoy the support of our bishops and
priests, and think many feel the station provides another tool for their
congregations to further the faith, they don’t have as much time to tune-in.
Still, Catholic radio ranks in their top 10!"
An overwhelming amount of data was collected on
people’s listening habits, favorite programs, areas for growth, new program
ideas and data about the types of programs that are most effective in meeting
the mission of the station. SCRN management is discerning through this
information and will be making changes to the programming to more effectively
impart the Gospel.
"We will be sharing this information with listeners
over the coming months and make a few program changes," said Bruce McGregor,
program director for the network.
Spirit Catholic Radio first went on the air in Omaha
in 1999 on a small, 500-watt signal. In 2009, the station boosted its reach with
the 50,000-watt Spirit 102.7 FM signal. Over a year ago, Spirit 91.5 FM went on
the air in central Nebraska (Grand Island), and that signal was recently
upgraded to more than 11,000 watts to reach Hastings, Kearney, Grand Island, and
all points in between. Spirit 88.3 FM, a 100,000-watt signal in Hartington, went
on the air this past July in northeast Nebraska.
Nearly 75 percent of Nebraska’s population, and 280,000 potential listeners
in Iowa, now have access to Spirit Catholic Radio and its mission of bringing
Christ to people and people to Christ.