The Our Sunday Visitor story on us (thanks guys!)
By Mark Sullivan
One faith, many channels
Catholics use arts, media and literature to transmit the Good News
When Bruce McGregor, the former program director of a secular radio station, quit his secure job to work for a Catholic radio station and return to Omaha, Neb., everyone thought he was crazy. Just like everyone thought Sts. Peter and Andrew were crazy to leave their fishing business and follow Jesus.
But the KVSS Catholic radio program director summed up his decision by saying: “I got tired of chasing ratings. I wanted to chase souls.”
It’s one of the mysteries of Catholic life. God calls most people to follow him from right where they are in life. Call it the little way of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
In “The Story of a Soul” St. Thérèse writes: “The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. I realized that if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness and there would be no wild flowers to make the meadows gay.”
In other words, we all have qualities uniquely designed to bring glory to God. No one has to compete with anyone else. And each person displays those gifts in his or her own way — even if sometimes they come across as being offbeat.
Call them radical, weird, funky or whatever else, but these people are looking to stand out and share their faith with others, and they are using multiple outlets — the arts, literature, media — to do it.
Two general observations about the people profiled on the following pages.
First, all had a prayer life. They didn’t need to be asked about it. References to daily Mass, confession, spiritual direction, praying of the Rosary and devotion to the pope were the punctuation marks of their sentences.
Second, all mentioned the word “professional” at some point during the interview. Trying to do something for God was not enough. The details had to be taken care of like in any other professional endeavor.
These are only a few of the many Catholics who are putting their faith into action. Our Sunday Visitor looks forward to hearing about more.
Over the airwaves KVSS Catholic Radio
Their transition back from a commercial break says it all.
“Spirit Catholic Radio, KVSS, Catholic Radio for the Christian community. Good morning and welcome to Spirit Mornings. I’m your host Bruce McGregor.”
“And I’m Kris McGregor.”
“And we’re delighted…”
The husband and wife team has been doing the morning show on KVSS in Omaha, Neb., for the past four years.
“We give our listeners what every other radio station would give them. News, weather, sports, and ‘what am I waking up to,’” Kris told OSV.
“It’s also extreme adult faith formation. In most parishes, if you get 50-100 people to come to a program to hear about the Church Fathers or some other topic, you consider that successful. We could potentially have 100,000 people listening at any given time. You’ve got them right there in their cars with a nice strong signal learning how to articulate the Catholic faith to the people they are working with and their family. That is what builds the Catholic culture — people talking in a school parking lot,” Kris said.
Until taking the job at KVSS, Bruce had been the program director for a number of rock radio stations around the country. Chasing ratings on secular radio for 30 years proved to be good training, and explains why KVSS has been so successful.
“We put time and effort into crafting what goes on the air. It gives it that good produced feel. It doesn’t sound like a radio station that is run by people who don’t know anything about radio,” he told OSV.
The McGregors regularly interview national and local Catholic figures who talk about their books and other topics of interest for their listeners. One of their most popular features is an interview with Mike Aquilina about the Fathers of the Church on their feast days.
“Kris is a ravenous reader. Any book that she reads, she really gets into. That is why the show works. Our guests know that they are really going to have a chance to talk about the book. I sit on the side and push the buttons and quip,” Bruce said.
Kris also has worked in parish ministry for the last 20 years.
“I think the beauty of it is that we’re pew people. We’re the everyday people who are curious. I try to ask the questions that our listeners would ask,” Kris said.
KVSS started in 1999 as a 1,500-watt station at 88.9 FM, but last January it moved to 102.7 FM, a 50,000-watt station. Instead of being able to reach 660,000 people around Omaha, it can reach 1.1 million people in a 110-mile radius that includes Nebraska, western Iowa, and parts of South Dakota, Kansas and Missouri.
The cost of the new signal was $4.5 million — an amazing accomplishment considering the station is completely supported by listeners and underwriters.
KVSS is also on the Internet at www.kvss.com. Podcasts of interviews with guests such as fertility specialist Dr. Thomas Hilgers, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., and “The Bible Geek” Mark Hart are available to download for free.
Spirit Mornings runs 7-9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. “We have slots for regular guests. In the 7 a.m. hour we focus on family catechesis, because that is when people are in their cars on the way to school. In the 8 a.m. hour we go into some deeper subjects. A “best of show” runs in the evening and on Saturday morning,” Bruce said.
The McGregor’s optimism and rapid comic exchanges, both on and off the air, provide the encouragement that everyone needs as they go out to face the day.
“People like to see a married couple. They know we’ve had our bumps,” Kris said.
“Hey, we’re sinners,” Bruce interjects.
“We have challenges,” Kris said. “You can make it through all of this because Jesus is with us. He provides for us. It’s gonna be OK; God brings good out of all these things.”
“Even if it looks like he’s in the stern of the boat asleep, he’s not!” Bruce said.