Claire Kenney
Freelance Writer
December 20, 2016 // Local

Redeemer Radio celebrates 10 years

Claire Kenney
Freelance Writer

By Claire Kenney

Father Terry Coonan celebrates a Mass for staff members and supporters of Redeemer Radio in South Bend at St. Therese, Little Flower Parish on Friday, Dec. 18. Father Coonan noted that the Mass readings for the day mentioned the word “Redeemer.”

Redeemer Radio has been in operation within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend for a decade now, touching lives every day.

“It is truly amazing how many people’s lives have been changed in the past few months from the wisdom of our guests, not to mention the past 10 years of Redeemer Radio’s consistent message of love, hope and spreading truth,” said Kyle Heimann, host of the station’s Kyle Heimann Show, which airs weekday mornings from 6-8 a.m.

Andrea Serrani, Heimann’s producer, echoed his statement of implementing a grace-filled message. “We try to leave our listeners with a little inspiration and encouragement to live the faith the rest of the day,” she said.

Since its launch in December 2005, Redeemer Radio has achieved significant milestones. The station transitioned from AM to FM in February 2014. That same year it began airing a two-hour morning show and broadcasting from a second FM station located at South Bend’s Little Flower Parish.

Mike Ripley, incoming board of directors chairman, detailed how such milestones created growth for the station.

“These all mark significant expansions in not only the number of people receiving the message, but also the depth at which the station is able connect with them,” he said. “Our goal is to serve as an essential resource for individuals on their journey to the heart of the church. In order to serve as such, we will continue to foster unity and engagement amongst faithful Catholics within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. However, as God has called us to do, we will increase our efforts to re-engage wavering Catholics, and we will help amplify the voice of the Catholic Church calling out to those who are seeking to learn more about our faith.” He noted that this includes reaching out through various media platforms and new and exciting endeavors.

Bishop Rhoades and the Redeemer Radio Fort Wayne staff celebrated the station’s 10th anniversary with a Mass and a reception at St. Mary Mother of God Church Dec. 18. In the front row, from left, are Jennifer Zurbuch, director of development; Jill O’Sullivan, business manager; Andrea Serrani, producer and programmer; Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades; Cindy Black, executive director; Jennifer Kedik, community relations director; and Erin Heckber, marketing manager. In the back row are Kyle Heimann, host of The Kyle Heimann Show; Bob Hartenstein, development; Rick Gonsiorek, 95.7 FM general manager; and Deacon Jim Tighe, senior advisor (retired).

“Our goal first and foremost is to reach more souls for Christ,” said Redeemer Radio Executive Director Cindy Black. “We’re working on initiatives to increase listenership and ways to listen. An immediate goal for that is to launch an app very soon … We also hope to tap into more of the local resources for content. We are blessed to have many various, strong Catholic organizations in our listening area to highlight.”

Al Kresta, whose syndicated radio show “Kresta in the Afternoon” is carried by Redeemer Radio, applauded the station’s mission and its success. “There are roughly 350 Catholic stations (in the United States) and 500 around the world and Redeemer Radio is in the top five in terms of their professionalism, their ability to serve the diocese and the high standards they have for their productions,” he said. “There is nobody in the Catholic world who does a better job of involving the local Catholic institutions in the Catholic radio enterprise.”

Two Masses were celebrated to mark the anniversary: one at St. Mary Mother of God Church in Fort Wayne and another at St. Therese, Little Flower Parish, South Bend.

In his homily at the Fort Wayne Mass, celebrated on the third Friday of Advent, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades noted that in the day’s Gospel reading, “Jesus said to the Jews that John the Baptist testified to the truth. He called John ‘a burning and shining lamp.’ John indeed testified to the truth which is Jesus Himself, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He bore witness that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

Even though the Lord did not need testimony from a human being, the bishop noted, Jesus cited it “as a help for people to believe in Him, that they might be saved.

“Redeemer Radio has a prophetic mission, not unlike the mission of the Old Testament prophets and St. John the Baptist,” Bishop Rhoades said. “For 10 years, Redeemer has broadcast the truth of the Gospel, the truth of the Catholic faith, and, in a sense, has prepared the way of the Lord in the minds and hearts of its listeners. Through the various programs and shows, the faith has been taught and shared. Prayers have been offered. People have been invited to learn the truths of the faith and to share in the life of the Church. I cannot thank Redeemer Radio enough for this important and holy apostolate.

“Our priests and I greatly appreciate Redeemer Radio as a very effective means of evangelization and catechesis,” Bishop Rhoades continued. “You reach out to people whom we might never encounter in our ministry: people who are searching, people who are confused, people who are hungry for the truth of the Gospel, and people who are hurting. You touch people who are unchurched as well as Catholics who are inactive in the practice of the faith. Like John the Baptist, you prepare the way of the Lord, as people hearts and consciences can be stirred by listening to Redeemer Radio, as the Holy Spirit acts in their souls. … Many active Catholics also listen to Redeemer Radio and receive ongoing education in the faith. So many are strengthened in their faith and Christian lives by listening to Redeemer Radio. They are challenged to grow in their faith and are encouraged and assisted to respond to the call to holiness.

“People throughout the 14 counties of our diocese are fed by the truth of the Gospel through Redeemer Radio,” he concluded. “Like St. John the Baptist, may you be “a burning and shining lamp! May you continue to prepare the way of the Lord in the minds and hearts of your listeners! May the Holy Spirit guide and direct your work! May our Blessed Mother intercede for you as you continue to serve her Son and His mission of salvation! “

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