Purchase will expand the reach of Kirkland-based Catholic broadcaster
Father Kurt Nagel, left, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Kirkland, and Father Jim Northrop, pastor of St. Brendan Parish in Bothell, often co-host on Tom Curran’s Sound Insight program, broadcast on Sacred Heart Radio. The Kirkland-based station has purchased KGY-AM in Olympia to extend its Catholic programming signal in that area. Photo: Courtesy Sacred Heart Radio
By John Wolcott
It soon will be easier for Olympia-area residents to tune into Sacred Heart Radio, day or night.
The Kirkland-based Catholic broadcaster has agreed to buy Olympia’s KGY-AM 1240 to extend its reach in that area. “We are excited about bringing more people into our listening area by strengthening our signal in Olympia for our 24-hour programming,” said Ron Belter, Sacred Heart Radio’s founder and president.
Sacred Heart Radio can be heard in the Puget Sound area on KBLE-AM 1050, roughly from Bellingham to Centralia, as well as on stations in Spokane, Yakima and Kodiak, Alaska. If the KGY sale is approved by the Federal Communications Commission, Sacred Heart Radio will own five of approximately 300 Catholic radio stations in America — just 13 years after it began broadcasting in the Puget Sound region.
“This is a venture inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit and supported entirely by listeners’ contributions,” Belter said.
The Olympia signal will come on line in about three months, once ownership of KGY is transferred. “Having Sacred Heart Radio available in the Olympia area will provide a perfect way for Catholics to learn more about their faith, to strengthen their faith,” said Father Jim Lee, pastor of St. Michael’s Parish in Olympia. “It will also be a help in evangelization, offering people Catholic views.”
Belter noted the KGY sale will bring its programming full circle. The station was started in the 1920s, the pioneering days of radio, as a Catholic broadcaster operated by Benedictine monks at Saint Martin’s College in Lacey. Sacred Heart Radio was launched in 2001 by a group of Catholics wanting to provide programs for Puget Sound-area Catholics.
Today, round-the-clock broadcasts include Vocation Radio with Father Brian Dolejsi, and Sound Insight with Dr. Tom Curran, often co-hosted with Father Kurt Nagel of Kirkland’s Holy Family Parish and Father Jim Northrop of St. Brendan Parish in Bothell. The station also carries a variety of radio programming from the Eternal Word Television Network and news from the Vatican. Masses and rosaries can be heard at various times throughout each day. The station also streams its broadcasts at www.sacredheartradio.org.
The most rewarding part of Sacred Heart Radio, Belter said, is the response from listeners, including testimonials about how the station’s programs have made a major difference in their lives. Belter said he believes the Second Vatican Council called all laity to be evangelists, and that guides him in promoting and growing Sacred Heart Radio’s outreach.
“Catholics have this great faith and they need to share it with others,” Belter said. “We’re always on the lookout for more stations in areas that will enable us to reach more people with the truth about Catholics, the church and God’s love.”
Updated July 11, 2014. Posted July 8, 2014