HENRIETTA — After receiving a special blessing from Bishop Matthew H. Clark Oct. 30, new radio towers built by WHIC 1460 AM’s “The Station of the Cross” were officially ready to broadcast a Catholic message to the Rochester area.
During the blessing, Bishop Clark asked that the 199-foot towers help spread the Gospel.
“That they always send forth a clear, strong signal and always spread Christ’s message of love and peace,” he said as he blessed the towers and a building to house a station transmitter.
Longtime Rochester radio personality Jack Palvino, who manages the Rochester station, said in addition to publicizing Rochester-area events, the station may begin broadcasting local programming in several weeks. That programming could include participation by diocesan personnel, he said.
The project and its new transmission equipment is expected to improve the quality of the station’s signal. The station serves Rochester, Geneseo, Canandaigua, Brockport, Newark, Batavia and Geneva.
Palvino said both the station — which started in 2003 — and its new facilities have been years in the making. Station officials first started searching for a permanent home after they learned that the station would have to relocate from its 1940s-era station on Winton Road in Rochester. As officials developed an empty 9-acre plot of land in Henrietta, the station broadcasted temporarily from a station run by Entercom Communications Corp.
Palvino thanked Henrietta Supervisor Jim Breese for his help.
“He said this was one of the easiest projects he has ever worked on, because there were no neighbors to complain but a few raccoons and a squirrel,” Palvino said.
The $750,000 project was paid for by private donations. One of the key funders was James Nealy, retired president and CEO of Armored Motor Service of America. Nealy was the reason the station was dedicated to St. Jude, said Bob Brown, who helped start up the station in Rochester and who is a parishioner of St. Pius Tenth Church in Chili. Nealy had explained that when his business was nearly bankrupt years ago, he turned to St. Jude Church.
“He stopped in the church to make his prayers to St. Jude,” said Brown, who noted the saint is the patron of hopeless cases.
Soon after, Nealy received a large contract that allowed his business to grow into a national company. Although Nealy’s donation helped it finish its fundraising campaign for the towers, the nonprofit station recently began a capital campaign to raise $173,000 to expand its budget.
“Our hope is to be a better radio station — the best radio station,” said Jim Wright, president of the Williamsville-based Holy Family Communications, which operates WHIC and stations in Buffalo, Ohio and Pennsylvania and broadcasts over the Internet at www.thestationofthecross.com. “In order to do that, we have to raise our budget a little bit.”