From one radio station in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 2000 to 206 stations across the country, Relevant Radio continues to grow as it spreads the word of Christ. Next goal: be in all top 100 markets in the United States by the end of 2025.
“The radio is still a really solid mechanism” for reaching people, even as information technology explodes, said Father Francis Hoffman, “Father Rocky,” chairman and CEO of the Illinois-based Catholic organization.
Eighty-eight percent of Americans tune in to the radio every week “because it’s in their car and its’s free,” Father Hoffman told Patrick Conley for a “Practicing Catholic” show debuting at 9 p.m. May 19 on Relevant Radio 1330 AM. A similar percentage of people have access to a mobile phone, at 92%, and mobile Internet, at 88%, Father Hoffman said.
“Guess what, we’re there on the app,” Father Hoffman said of the Relevant Radio Internet app. And Relevant Radio’s stations have the potential of reaching 250 million people on the air, he said.
With programming that catechizes, evangelizes and informs, Relevant Radio expanded into a number of major cities with the 2019 acquisition of Salem Media Corp., reaching people in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, Father Hoffman said. The station has expanded into Miami, Orlando and Tampa in Florida, Boston, Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and Youngstown in Ohio, among other large cities, he said.
The station’s guiding principles include unity with the Church and the bishops, Father Hoffman said.
“So, in our programs, we don’t criticize the bishops or their people or their programs, or preempt their prerogatives,” he said. “And sometimes people say, ‘well, if you guys don’t, who will?’ and I say, ‘Everybody else will. Everybody else does. That’s not what we do.’ That doesn’t build up unity in the Church, and that doesn’t provide solutions, and it doesn’t put the focus on Christ.”
Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis is among bishops on Relevant Radio’s board of directors, Father Hoffman said.
“We’re very blessed to have him on the air,” Father Hoffman said. “He’s prudent, he’s wise, he’s very intelligent, he’s got very strong zeal for evangelization. So, we’re very blessed to have his advice and his counsel and support.”
To hear more about Relevant Radio, and the moment Father Hoffman was inspired to dive into radio as a ministry, tune into “Practicing Catholic,” which repeats at 1 p.m. May 20 and 2 p.m. May 21.
Produced by Relevant Radio and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the latest show also includes an interview with Ann Marie Cosgrove and Christopher Santer, two Catholic artists who describe the upcoming “Art-A-Whirl” event May 19-21 in Minneapolis and how their faith plays into their work, and Lake City couple Paul and Sara Freid who talk about living their beliefs, including those that are core to the Catholic Worker Movement.
Listen to interviews after they have aired at PracticingCatholicShow.com or choose a streaming platform at anchor.fm/practicing-catholic-show.