Auto makers are sounding the clarion call to Radio broadcasters that new vehicles will increasingly not have radios built into them.
I was listening to the radio the other day - tuning back and forth between my local Catholic FM station and a local FM protestant "talk" station when something I was not hearing finally caught my attention - sound quality on my local catholic station.
As a long time radio guy, I pay attention to things like this and I will defend strenuously that listeners notice such things as well. They may not have it on the top of their minds, but they notice.
In this case, the local protestant station won hands down in sound quality. Both stations are in the FM band, both are about the same age in fact both are comparable. One is owned by a local catholic non-profit, the other by Salem Media. The only difference is that the Protestant station has experience and knows the importance of crafting a good sound. What do I mean by that?
Crafting your sound means that you listen critically to your station’s broadcast – away from the station. What you guage is how you sound “out there” where your listeners are located. Listen on a variety of radio receivers e.g. car stereos, home stereos, handheld radios. Then ask yourself how does it sound? Can you hear background noise? Do the voices sound high pitched? Or, low? The goal is to sound as if the station was right there. We used to refer to this as high fidelity. You want to sound as clear as if you were sitting right in front of your listener in a quiet room.
In my case, the local catholic station sounds too high pitched, has some annoying background sounds such as room echo, static hum, and more. [Some of this is their fault and some is from the program itself.]
Why is this a concern? Ears are amazing organs. They hear every sound within their range – unfiltered. But, if there are a variety of sounds being heard all at once the mind has to filter out all the unwanted sounds in order to focus on the content we are interested in hearing. This is, as most people know, mentally taxing. Imagine standing in the middle of a party and trying to listen to a conversation right next to you. Depending on the level of noise in the room it can be quite difficult. Just as in this scenario hearing and comprehending is difficult and mentally taxing, [Who doesn’t step outside for relief in such cases, if for only a moment?] so can listening to noisy or unprofessional content be taxing. It stands to reason then, that poor quality sound hinders audience enjoyment. If our audiences can’t stand to listen to our stations, then how will we grow our audiences?
Talk to your engineer; there is much an engineer can suggest to improve your station’s sound. Create a focus group to test your audience’s reaction to your sound. Use equalization to improve your sound. Normalize your audio to avoid over modulating sounds. There is much you can do. If you need a better understanding of all of this I recommend you listen to your local NPR affiliate or some other highly experienced station in your market. Then, do you best to rise to their level of sound quality.
Make your station sound great! Your audience will appreciate it and will find it easier to stay tuned.
May your ministry grow with the Lord’s grace and blessing!
I had the chance to talk with Steve Gajdosik of the Catholic Radio Association about the upcoming Programming Symposium. You can hear the interview in two parts here. The symposium is a response on the part of the CRA to the growing need for education among Catholic Radio apostolates.
I've long advocated the need for more education - we need to learn our craft and learn it well. Media audiences today are, for lack of a better term, "media savvy." What I mean by that is audiences are used to professionally produced programs and therefore recognize professionalism when they encounter it. They find it difficult to listen to programs that fail to meet the standards they are expecting and are used to hearing. I'm glad to see the CRA moving in the direction of more education.
While a weekend symposium is a good first step, I highly recommend that we as Catholic Radio broadcasters step outside of our comfort zones and move into the public arena. Check out your local colleges to see if they offer courses in broadcasting. If they do, take a class on production, speech, web authoring, social media - whatever they offer. Take a class and bring your strong Catholic Faith with you. You may be shocked to hear the language spoken in such an environment today - I speak from experience. But, I assure you that you will find people there who are hungry for God. And, you'll learn valuable skills that you can apply in your ministry.
MARONITE MONASTERY PROJECT
We are the Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, a new monastic order established in 2011. Our small group of Maronite Catholic monks purchased 65 acres of land in Castle Rock Washington, in late December of 2014.
Plans are underway to begin building the Sacred Heart Monastery. The structures of the Monastery will consist of a Chapel and living quarters for 10-20 men living the monastic life in community.
Why a Monastery ?
This merciful God lives in his Church, and we in him.
A monastery is a uniquely evident sign of God’s loving presence with us and an effective instrument of his merciful intention toward us, which Jesus Christ perfectly communicates to his people.
Won't you Join us in making this most spiritually important project a reality?
I’ve been thinking about fundraising for Catholic Radio and wanted to share some thoughts about this subject. In particular, the three big lessons I learned (among many smaller lessons) which guide me to this day and that inform the advice I give to anyone looking to fundraise for any worthy Catholic cause.
May 5, 2009
The following is a letter written in response to a friend who answered a question I posted on the Catholic Radio Group site on Linkedin.com
Thank you for your reply. I deeply appreciate the situation in your country and have been very puzzled by the lack of outrage among your countrymen regarding their loss of freedoms. The Church has a huge job to do, but not an impossible one.
I posed the question because I have recently been asking myself what is the fruit of Catholic Radio? There is fruit, doubtless, but specifically what I’m asking for is evidence of action on the part of those effected by Catholic Radio. Where are the rosary groups? The home bible studies? The street preaching? The active part of our calling is in my opinion seriously lacking. Granted I live in the Pacific NW – Portland, OR – where things are very bad for christianity, but I’ve worked in the Midwest, California, Nevada and haven’t seen enough corresponding action among Catholic Radio listeners. My response to this is to wonder if Catholic Radio as such, is enough?
I don’t think so. Catholic Radio is a great tool, but just a tool. More is needed. Stations need to be centers of evangelization. They need to encourage evangelization, teach it, demonstrate it, and live it. I think this will require a new initiative in programming. Catechesis is good and necessary – knowing your faith is good but if all you do with that knowledge is contemplate it for your own benefit then you are a poor servant indeed. We MUST act!
For myself I have made a committment with two other friends to make a new kind of catholic radio program. One that creates and promotes a kind of campaign like what Fr. Peyton did with his radio rosary. We will broadcast a program that demistifies the process of evangelization. That interviews those who’ve “gone ahead” and ARE evangelizing and how they got started and what they’ve learned, so others can take courage from their example. Then we plan to produce films that show the fruit of this action and online video tutorials that teach the steps of evangelization. And, then we plan to raise crowds of people to hear Catholic Evangelists – stadiums of people. It is time to “put out into the deep” and to not be afraid!
As for your circumstances my friend, Hallelujah! You are in a perfect (albeit painful) place. Allow the Lord to work through your circumstances to humble you and to prepare you for the work that He is calling you to. I believe that the message of the current times is “Have Faith, God will Provide without fail!”