|Arts & Entertainment|
|Breaking Open the Word|
|World & Nation|
|DCR Advertising Rates|
|DCR Submission Guidelines|
November 26, 2008
KPIO 1570-AM: Catholic radio returns to northern Colorado
By Roxanne King
After nearly a decade’s absence, Catholic radio has returned to the Denver Archdiocese.
“P-I-O stands for Padre Pio because we opened on his feast day,” explained Jim O’Laughlin, president and founder of the Catholic Radio Network, the apostolate that owns the station.
“It’s hard to get call letters that have anything to do with the Catholic Church,” he said, adding with a chuckle, “Anything west of the Mississippi has to start with a ‘K’ and there aren’t many saints with just three letters in their last name.”
Padre Pio was a Capuchin priest from Italy who became famous for his stigmata—the mystical phenomenon of bodily marks corresponding to the wounds of Christ—which the cleric bore for 50 years. Born May 25, 1887, he died at 81 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002. At his canonization, the pope praised the saint for his prayer and charity.
The nonprofit station KPIO, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is dependent on donations from its listeners.
“We don’t have any advertising,” said O’Laughlin.
The station is an affiliate of the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network and offers EWTN programming, which includes everything from Scripture study and lives of the saints to Catholic world news, apologetics and prayer.
“We don’t have much music, O’Laughlin said. “EWTN carries a lot of stuff live with the pope and there’s usually a report from the Vatican every day.”
Shows by EWTN personalities Father John Corapi and Scott Hahn are among those featured on KPIO.
The station is the answer to some six years of prayer and fundraising by a group of local faithful who had formed the nonprofit organization Annunciation Radio Inc., which worked to bring Catholic radio to northern Colorado.
“We’ve had one goal,” said Mike Hays, chair of Annunciation Radio’s board of directors. “And that’s to get Catholic radio back on the air after it left Denver nine or 10 years ago.”
When O’Laughlin launched a Catholic radio station in Colorado Springs two years ago, Annunciation Radio invited him to consider doing the same in the metro-Denver area. He agreed and the group threw their support—and $50,000—behind his effort.
“We rolled all the money we had raised to his organization, which was used for the down payment,” said Hays. “Now we’re helping him with the fundraising.”
The station, which is located in Loveland and formerly broadcast sports as KSXT 1570-AM, cost $765,000.
KPIO’s daytime coverage reaches an 80-mile radius, but that is reduced to just 15 miles at night when the signal is decreased.
“At full power I’ve been down to Castle Rock and up to Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyo., and can hear the station,” said O’Laughlin.
Although KPIO is not owned by the Denver Archdiocese, the station’s content is in keeping with the magisterium of the Catholic Church and is loyal to Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., who is aware of the station and gave his blessing to the effort last year, O’Laughlin said.
“Many people in the archdiocese have long hoped for a Catholic radio station—it’s great to finally have one,” said Jeanette DeMelo, communications director for the Denver Archdiocese. “Catholic radio can offer many people a chance to be enriched in their faith daily. We are grateful to the Catholic Radio Network for their work in making KPIO possible and we hope many people will tune in and support the station.”
O’Laughlin, a retired real estate developer, started his first Catholic radio station four years ago in Kansas City, Mo. Today, the Catholic Radio Network, which is headquartered in Kansas City, operates seven radio stations, counting the two in Colorado. The apostolate’s aim is to spread the Gospel over the airwaves to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
From his first day on the air in Kansas City, O’Laughlin has learned of fallen away Catholics returning to the Church, Protestants converting to Catholicism, and vocations to holy orders and religious life occurring as a result of Catholic radio’s influence.
“The mission of Catholic radio is to save souls,” O’Laughlin said. “And that’s the main thing I’ve noticed happens through it.”