South Dakota Catholics will soon have their very own voice over the radio airwaves.
The Lamb Catholic Radio Network is scheduled to begin broadcasting from Aberdeen later this month and out of Sioux Falls later this year.
Giving voice to the 135,000 Catholic families in the Sioux Falls Diocese is a calling within the call letters of KSTJ-FM.
"We need to do something for the church, for what the church has given us," veteran South Dakota broadcaster Kevin Culhane said.
The Lamb Catholic Radio Network is still a work in progress. Stepping carefully around all the construction is a leap of faith in its own right to Culhane.
"We think that radio is the medium. It's intrusive, it goes everywhere, it's immediate and it's there for you," Culhane said.
The station will carry programming from the EWTN global radio network once it signs on. But eventually, more South Dakota voices will be speaking into the microphones.
"As we grow and as we work out more of the bugs, then we'll start infusing local programming with the bishop, with the diocese, laity," Culhane said.
Culhane hopes an audience of all religious backgrounds will tune in.
"Obviously, Catholics would be a target audience, but it can be Christians and non-Christians. We've had a lot of different stories over the last few years of people who have come back to the church who have gone away from it. "Culhane said.
This will be the 223rd Catholic radio station when it goes on the air. That compares to 1,600 Protestant stations that are in operation. And listeners to The Lamb Catholic Network will notice the difference in formats.
"Our program format isn't going to be music-driven. It's going to be more talk, more interactive," Culhane said.
Culhane says whatever topics that are brought up on the air, whether moral, theological or social issues, the discussion will stay true to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
"We'll present both sides, but it will certainly have a slant. I would think it will have a slant toward the mandate of the church," Culhane said.
And what makes this radio station so special is, it's got a chapel in it, right down the hallway.
"This will be the most important room that will be in the studios," Culhane said.
The office will include a small chapel where more than a dozen worshippers can take part in daily Mass.
"It allows us to know that the C.E.O. of this entire organization is Jesus Christ," Culhane said.
The chapel will even include stained glass windows. Reminders that this new radio ministry will serve as a spiritual sounding board for faithful listeners.
Once the network is broadcasting in eastern South Dakota, there are plans to expand the signal to the Rapid City Diocese of western South Dakota.
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