For those operating a Catholic radio station in Marshall (Searcy County), it is seen as a ministry that is blessing its volunteers as well as its listeners.
"We have settled into a very joyful and rich ministry," said Carol Ann Beeman, a board member.
KPJN, 101.1, which is affiliated with Starboard Broadcasting in Green Bay, Wis., and EWTN Global Radio Network near Birmingham, Ala., was established as a low-power radio station in 2005. Low-power stations are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission for education purposes only and reach about a 3.5-mile radius.
Now principal at St. Peter School in Pine Bluff, Beeman continues her duties at the station on nights and weekends, which includes preparing financial paperwork, answering correspondence, sending thank-you notes for donations and helping with programming.
On its Web site, http://www.st-therese.morizot.net, the mission statement spells out its purpose to educate and inform residents in northern Arkansas. Programming includes teachings on the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church and information on local Catholic Masses, activities and events.
The volunteer station manager, Erik Lingelser, said the day-to-day operation of KPJN is "a mission." Because he is the only person available to run the station, he said, "It's me or bust."
The station is on the air from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Sundays is a day of rest. Programming includes EWTN shows a quarter of the time.
"We use our EWTN satellite feed to get Catholic Answers that is produced in San Diego and airs live two hours every weekday afternoon," Lingelser said. "Catholic Answers is so interesting and non-threatening to callers that Catholics and non-Catholics alike call in." "There is always a line of callers with questions. A large group in the Catholic Answers listening audience include new emerging Catholics, older Catholics interested in growing in their faith and those Protestants listening seriously to the clear, thorough and substantiated answers this program provides."
Although there are no Catholic churches in Searcy County, the Web site lists locations, Mass schedules and pastors of area churches from Harrison to North Little Rock, including Masses said in Latin.
Music by musicians such as John Michael Talbot, the chants of the Anonymous 4 and Fontgombault Abbey provide inspiration along with "a fair bit of Irish music, including Celtic harp CDs, one of which was recorded by Pamela Gibson in Bryant, Arkansas. Radio audiences are generally unknowable. We've gotten comments that people wear their headsets at work to listen to the music, and other comments expressing appreciation for the highly localized weather reports," Lingelser said.
For Lingelser, Beeman and the other board members, faith is the cohesive factor in running the station and the St. Therese Missionary Society.
"Our St Therese Missionary Society has over 30 members who send donations regularly," Beeman said. "After the initial start-up costs, we have a minimum of overhead monthly and a few annual expenses. We never ask for money anymore. We just pray and it comes from our members when we need it."
Lingelser agreed. "The future is God's business, and the hardship is only not knowing. Right now, everything is, how do you say, copasetic," he said.
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