Catholic Radio Looks to Tune In to an Opportunity

Non-commercial Bandwidth Offering New Stations

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CHARLESTON, South Carolina, NOV. 1, 2005 (Zenit.org).- A window of opportunity for Catholic radio may open this winter.



That\'s when the Federal Communications Commission is expected to make available the non-commercial educational (NCE) band of FM sometime in late 2005 or 2006.

This would eliminate the need for Catholic startups to buy existing stations on the commercial bandwidth, which can be prohibitively expensive.

Steve Gajdosik, president of the South Carolina-based Catholic Radio Association, described the development as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

\"If you look at the phenomenal lead that [Protestant] Christian radio has on Catholic radio -- 1,700 stations vs. 107 -- in large part, those licenses were obtained from the FCC when they were free,\" he told the National Catholic Register.

\"Catholics slept through all those application windows,\" Gajdosik added. \"If Catholics want a full-service AM or FM station, they have to buy it -- with the exception of the NCE window.\"

The Catholic Radio Association is helping about 50 people or groups -- including parishes, organizations and dioceses -- in the application process in order to increase the number of Catholic stations.

Criteria

Interested parties must plan ahead, as the FCC usually gives a month\'s notice prior to the five-day application window and requires an engineering study and sometimes a historical study to see if a station is feasible.

When evaluating applications, the FCC considers the number of listeners served, local ownership where the listening range does not overlap the contours of existing stations, geographic area covered, and those who, at the time of filing, have the fewest existing station authorizations.

Gajdosik quoted Pope John Paul II\'s encyclical \"Redemptoris Missio\" to stress the importance of radio: \"The means of social communication have become so important as to be for many the chief means of information and education, of guidance and inspiration in their behavior as individuals, families and within society at large.\"