Holy Family Communications, which includes WHIC 1460-AM Radio in Rochester, is celebrating its 10th anniversary by bringing a top Catholic speaker to Buffalo and eyeing a new station in the Rochester Diocese.
A conference featuring Father John Corapi, "Lord and Giver of Life: The Person and the Power of the Holy Spirit," is set for Buffalo’s HSBC Arena Aug. 15. The event will take place on the exact 10th anniversary of when Catholic radio debuted on Buffalo’s WLOF 101.7-FM.
Buffalo Bishop Edward U. Kmiec will celebrate Mass during the daylong conference. EWTN News Anchor Raymond Arroyo will also speak, and Jerry Usher — former host of the popular Catholic Answers Live program broadcast out of San Diego — will serve as master of ceremonies.
Organizers said the one-day conference is expected to attract a crowd of at least 11,000 from many parts of the country. Tickets may be purchased by calling 716-839-6117 or 1-877-888-6279, by or visiting www.thestationofthecross.com. Sponsorships are also available.
Father Corapi is a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and a dynamic speaker. His four planned presentations on Aug. 15 are titled "Theology of the Person and Power of the Holy Spirit," "The Gift Who Contains All Gifts," "The Holy Spirit is Given to Those Who Obey" and "The Spirit We Have Been Given is No Cowardly Spirit."
This is a rare opportunity to see Father Corapi, who once preached weekend conferences in approximately 40 cities each year until health issues forced him to discontinue public presentations in 2008. He continues to do Webcasts from studios in western Montana, and his recorded lectures on the Catechism of the Catholic Church are shown weekly on EWTN Television.
Holy Family Communications, a nonprofit organization, operates two Catholic radio stations known as "Station of the Cross." WHIC began broadcasting out of Rochester in 2003, four years after Buffalo’s WLOF was inaugurated.
Partial proceeds generated by the Aug. 15 conference are earmarked toward expanding Station of the Cross’ reach into the Southern Tier. According to Jim Wright, cofounder and president of Holy Family Communications, his organization is in negotiations with the Federal Communications Commission to develop a new noncommercial, educational station that would provide coverage in Elmira, Corning and Bath. Holy Family is looking to begin construction on a tower by the end of 2009.
"My hope is that we’ll be on the air one year from now," Wright said.
Wright said the possibility of a new station, which would cost approximately $250,000 in startup costs, is based on considerable demand from Southern Tier residents.
"Many, many people have mentioned that it would be outstanding to come down there," he remarked.
According to Wright, WHIC’s signal from Rochester can currently be picked up during the daytime as far away as Batavia to the west, Dansville to the south and Williamson to the east, also reaching the communities of Canandaigua and Geneva.
An additional radio station would be the latest in a series of successes during Holy Family Communications’ 10-year history. Other highlights noted by Wright include an increasing percentage of male listenership; greater appeal among younger adult audiences, and higher-quality programming.
Wright noted that Catholic radio’s main thrust is to evangelize and catechize via call-in and talk shows, the Mass and some devotionals.
"There’s something for everybody," said Wright, adding that radio offers a venue to practice one’s Catholic faith "in an intimate way, where nobody else knows you’re listening to it if you choose not to let them know."