Catholic radio to hit airwaves this spring
A Mitchell native is launching a Catholic radio station to cover the Sioux Falls diocese.
The station is scheduled to go on the air in May, concluding a five-year process that Kevin Culhane and his wife, Margie, did together.
Kevin Culhane said the inspiration for the venture came when he and Margie went on a three-week pilgrimage to France in 2007 with several parishes, including Holy Spirit Parish in Mitchell.
"We spent a week in Lourdes and went to the grotto where the Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette, saw the water from the rock, but more importantly it was the faith demonstrated by the tens of thousands of people going there daily hoping for a miracle that was awe-inspiring," he said.
The Culhanes came back to South Dakota with renewed faith and a conversion of heart.
Kevin Culhane said he was a "cafeteria Catholic" prior to his trip to France. He didn't practice the faith religiously; he believed some of it and wasn't sure about other parts.
"That's how I lived my life until 2007, when I experienced the deep, profound love for the Blessed Mother and for the Catholic faith," he said.
The Culhanes continued to own and operate two radio stations in Yankton -- KVHT FM and KVTK AM -- until making a final decision in 2010 to sell the stations and commit full-time to creating a Catholic radio station. Kevin Culhane was part-owner of KMIT in Mitchell from 1984 to 1992.
"It was almost like getting smacked in the head and 'You should've had a V8,' " he said. "I was smacked in the heart and God said, 'Come home and listen to what I'm telling you.' "
Culhane said there are 18,000 AM and FM radio stations throughout the U.S. Ten percent of those are Protestant stations and 185 are Catholic stations.
His goal is to reach all faiths, but he hopes the most immediate result is that all Catholics -- practicing and non-practicing -- will find hope, comfort and inspiration from the programming.
South Dakota, east of the Missouri River, hosts 135,000 Catholics in 150 parishes.
The radio station, which will be dubbed "The Lamb," will air on 91.3 FM -- call letters for Mitchell and Sioux Falls is KSTJ and for Aberdeen and Ipswich is KAJF. Locators to amplify the signal will be located in Yankton and Brookings.
The format will include talk shows with some music, but the emphasis will be on teaching the Catholic faith. Local programming, including people from the Mitchell area, will be featured on the station as well.
Specifically, the rosary will be offered multiple times per day, mass will be aired daily, along with other devotional programming, Kevin Culhane said.
The station will also be affiliated with the EWTN Global Catholic Television Network and the Ave Maria Network.
"It's just a teaching tool more than anything, to bring Christ to the Christian community," Culhane said.
The station will be supported through sponsorships, gifts from donors and on-air fund drives. Culhane said this is a $1.3 million campaign, some of which came from the sale of the couple's two stations in Yankton.
Long-range plans to bring Catholic radio to the entire state are in the works, he said. He hopes to reach out toward Rapid City diocese in the future. "But you have to learn to crawl before you walk," he said.
Anyone interested in supporting the Culhanes' effort can contact them at 605-275-4659.
Illustration by Chris Huber/Republic
Photo courtesy The Bishop's Bulletin Margie and Kevin Culhane want to bring their faith to the airwaves.