The two largest Catholic radio operators in the country are merging.
Loomis CA based Immaculate Heart Radio and Green Bay WI based Relevant Radio will combine to become Immaculate Heart Media d/b/a Relevant Radio. Immaculate Heart brings 19 stations across six western states including 930 KHJ Los Angeles and 1260 KSFB San Francisco. Relevant also has 19 stations scattered across ten states including 1430 WNSW New York, 950 WNTB Chicago, 640 WWJZ Philadelphia, and 1330 WLOL Minneapolis. Both groups create programming that is heard on additional Catholic stations nationwide to bring their reach to over 108 stations in 36 states.
The two groups have raised $22 million out of an intended $30 million over three years to be put towards increasing their programming, outreach, and new media efforts.
Relevant Radio® and Immaculate Heart Radio have announced their intention to merge. The united corporation will be Immaculate Heart Media d/b/a Relevant Radio® and will broadcast inspirational radio programs over 108 AM and FM radio stations and translators in 36 states reaching 133 Million souls. The new network will operate 24/7 in 15 of the top 50 markets*, including the four largest markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. Additionally, all programs will be live-streamed and available on podcast through multiple internet platforms including websites, mobile apps, and social media portals.
“The merger of Immaculate Heart Radio and Relevant Radio will bring blessings to Catholics here in Los Angeles and across the country. I have known the leaders in both companies for many years and I know them to be people of faith with a strong commitment to the new evangelization. In a way, this merger feels like a historic moment in Catholic communications in this country. For the first time, there will be a single Catholic voice in our nation’s largest media markets. So I welcome this news and I look forward to our continued partnership in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to every person, so that every heart will know God’s love and mercy and find the path to true happiness,” said Most Reverend José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles.
There is no more important or urgent task than to reach souls for Christ. This proposal is for the two largest owned and operated Catholic radio networks to unite under the patronage of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to bring more hearts home to the merciful embrace of the Father.
Uniting Relevant Radio and Immaculate Heart Radio, with a combined 36 years of broadcast experience, achieves long term financial stability and solidifies the presence of Catholic radio in all of their respective markets, in the quest to provide a compelling voice for the Catholic Church over mass media platforms. The Episcopal Advisors of Immaculate Heart Radio, Bishop Jaime Soto, of the Diocese of Sacramento, CA, and Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, AZ, enthusiastically support the unification of Immaculate Heart Radio and Relevant Radio.
Most Reverend David L. Ricken, Bishop of Green Bay said, “As a member of the Board of Relevant Radio and as the Bishop Of Green Bay, I am deeply grateful for the merger between the wonderful Immaculate Heart Radio and Relevant Radio, that will increase the capacity to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel from a very dynamic Catholic platform that intersects with so many more people’s lives. The treasury of the Catholic way of living our relationship with Jesus Christ and serving the mission of the Gospel will be enriched by this joining and reach so many more people.”
The officers of the merged organization will include Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, Executive Director of Relevant Radio, as Executive Director and Doug Sherman, President of Immaculate Heart Radio, as President. The Boards of Immaculate Heart Radio and Relevant Radio will be united and will include The Most Rev. Bernard J. Hebda, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and The Most Rev. David L. Ricken, Bishop of Green Bay. Tom Vorpahl, Relevant Radio Board Chairman, will serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Relevant Radio “Guiding Principles” are very similar to Immaculate Heart Radio’s Mission Statement – faithful to the magisterium; united to the bishops; under the protection of Our Lady – and it will inspire all activities of the network.
“We give thanks to God, Our Lady and St. Joseph for blessing our conversations and helping us to work together for the good of many souls. We are answering Saint John Paul II’s call to the new evangelization. We are also confident that Our Lady’s intercession, under the title of her Immaculate Heart and Our Lady of Guadalupe, will keep us true to the mission,” said Rev. Hoffman. “As in any marriage, we will gain so much, and in the end it is our fervent hope that many more souls are helped to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ. We are very enthused with this union and so much of the credit goes to our associates, volunteers and benefactors. They are unbelievably hard-working, talented, and committed to the mission.”
Mr. Sherman stated, “The leaders of our organizations have discussed the value and possibility of collaboration over the years and have come to the realization that this union makes great business sense for both organizations and our respective missions. It provides financial sustainability for our organizations and provides the resources necessary to continue to invest in people and technologies that will keep us on the leading edge in providing premium Catholic content to our audiences. We will be bringing you the very best in Catholic programming including Patrick Madrid, The Drew Mariani Show™, and Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire®. This tremendous opportunity comes on the eve of Immaculate Heart Radio’s 20th anniversary of broadcasting on its first station in 1997. The uniting solidifies our hopes and dreams for ensuring our continued presence and success into the future, and it will cause many more stories of lives being changed, marriages strengthened or saved, and people coming closer to Christ and His Church. The union will also enable us to better assist independent Catholic radio stations as needed.” In addition to being president of Immaculate Heart Radio, Sherman is also the chairman of the Catholic Radio Association.
As a result of the union, over $30 Million will be raised over the next three years, to substantially strengthen the financial condition of the network and free up resources to be invested in programming, Mission advancement and emerging media opportunities. Already, generous benefactors have pledged $22 Million towards these efforts, including a lead gift from Kay and Mike Birck of Hinsdale, IL. “We are more than two-thirds of the way there and efforts are on-going to complete the campaign. We will close as soon as possible in 2017 after FCC approval,” said Rev. Hoffman.