The first proponents of Vatican II understood that wise and timeless teachings, even those of a divine nature, might become marginalized if the manner in which they’d been presented wouldn’t change in an ever-changing world. They knew that centuries-old knowledge would be largely misunderstood – or perhaps even lost – if the Church didn’t evolve with the times as it shared its traditional, enduring messages. This forward-thinking mindset is now more important than ever, when change is taking place at a pace once thought impossible mere decades ago.
One example is the Diocese of Orange’s radio programs, produced in a state-of-the-art studio located in the Tower of Hope on the Christ Cathedral campus. While the term “radio” may bring to mind cracked, sepia-toned images of Guglielmo Marconi posing or tinkering with his latest 60-pound electrical behemoth, don’t tell that to Jim Governale, the Diocese’s radio program manager and an award-winning veteran broadcaster and on-air host.
“When the studio was built, it had all of the high-tech bells and whistles,” Governale says. “What’s nice is that it still remains up to date.”
Thanks to recent upgrades, the studio and its programming will remain on solid footing for the foreseeable future.
Since January 2015, the Diocese has produced original content that airs on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Immaculate Heart Radio. EWTN and IHR provide the technical infrastructure that sends the Diocese’s five shows to their listeners. They include two shows programmed for the local audience: “Orange County Catholic Radio” and “Catholic Sports View.” Two others, – “Empowered by the Spirit” and “The Don Johnson Show” – are geared toward a national audience. A third show, “Call Me Catholic,” reaches an international audience, airing in the Philippines, England and some markets in Europe.
“It’s my understanding that Ryan [Lilyengren, director of the Diocese’s Communications and Media Relations Office] is eager to get a few more programs going that will have that kind of national reach, including one that we’re going to start shortly, about sacred music in the Church,” Governale says.
“We give the air time, and [the Diocese provides] the content,” says Doug Sherman, president and founder of Immaculate Heart Radio, and co-founder and chairman of the Catholic Radio Association. “We try to promote all the good things that are going on in the Diocese of Orange, and the Diocese really works hard to promote our efforts.”
In addition to Bishop Kevin Vann and a number of other notable local clergy, some of Governale’s favorite guests on “OC Catholic Radio” have included assisted-suicide and abortion opponent Dr. Vincent Fortanasce, Catholic musician Matt Maher and actor Leonardo Defilippis, founder and president of Saint Luke Productions.
Governale is enthusiastic about one show in particular. “Of all the programs that we produce in the Tower of Hope, there’s only one that I produce live: ‘Call Me Catholic.’ That’s on the EWTN Radio Network (ewtn.com/radio) at 10 a.m. every Saturday.”
The other four radio shows air on Immaculate Heart Radio via KCEO 1000 AM and KHJ 930. “Call Me Catholic” also airs on Immaculate Heart, but it’s an EWTN-based program. Podcasts of all five Diocese radio shows are archived at occatholic.com/radio.
Expect more live programming in the future. “‘Call Me Catholic’ has been spearheading our efforts to really get the studio up to par for more live radio shows,” Governale says. “That will be the template for future live shows, when they happen.”
Governale notes that when it was first set up, the radio studio installed top-quality equipment: computer monitors, call-screener hardware and cameras that can be used for live streaming, among many other features. However, to remain current, they made a number of upgrades last year, including new microphones and mic processors. A new phone system installed about six months ago allows callers to hear the radio program while on hold and know when their name is called to go on the air.
“Our studio has the capability of going live on any of the shows that we program,” Governale says.
Staying current in the ever-evolving tech world, never an easy task, has led to some great opportunities of late.
“For the first time, just last [month], we teamed up with the Catholic Channel on SiriusXM satellite radio,” Governale says. “They have a well-known program called ‘The Busted Halo.’ We did two three-hour live broadcasts. … The relationship that we now have with SiriusXM has really gotten off the ground. They’ll be back again [some time in late March] to do three more live shows from our studio.
“It’s great for all of these outlets to know that we have the capability here to go live,” Governale continues. “If a radio host is available from Sirius, Immaculate Heart Radio or EWTN, it’s important they know that we have the available technology here.”
Despite working in such a fast-paced digital environment, Governale’s personal take on his role in the Diocese points to the kind of grounded mindset shared by Catholics everywhere.
“This position has been a wonderful blessing for me, especially as a lifelong Catholic Christian,” he says. “Having worked in radio for many years in Southern California, primarily Christian talk radio, I really feel like this has been a dream position, because I’ve been able to take what I do as a broadcaster and marry that with my faith walk. It’s great to be a part of an exciting new growth opportunity.”