Catholic Media Productions, which operates the low-power Catholic radio station in Nashville, WBOU-LP, 100.5-FM, and produced the long-running cable television show “We Believe,” has become a corporation of the Diocese of Nashville.
“It really was a blessing,” John Bosio, former chairman of Catholic Media Productions, said of the move to the diocese, which became official on July 1.
The operation of Catholic Media Productions will be overseen by Bill Staley, director of the diocese’s Office of Youth, Young Adult and New Evangelization.
About a year-and-a-half ago, Staley joined the board of Catholic Media Productions, which was founded by the late Deacon Jim Walsh.
“The opportunity became available for Catholic Media Productions to become a member corporation of the diocese,” Staley said.
“Fortunately, unbeknownst to us, the diocese had been thinking about acquiring the station,” Bosio said.
After discussing the proposal with Brian Cooper, the diocese’s chief administrative officer and vice chancellor, the Catholic Media Productions board of directors and the diocese agreed to the move.
“It was a mutually fortunate encounter,” Bosio said. “We wanted to work hand-in-hand with the diocese.”
The goal for the future, Staley said, is to continue the legacy of Catholic Media Productions “but also take it to new heights.”
That includes expanding the amount of locally-produced programming on WBOU radio.
Toward that end, the radio station broadcast its first live event on Saturday, Aug. 15, when it broadcast the ordination of Father Juan Carlos García-Mendoza and Father Javier Suarez Montanez. Nashville radio personality Jim Crowe, a parishioner at St. Stephen Catholic Community, provided commentary during the ordination to explain aspects of the ordination rite to the audience.
At the same time, the diocese livestreamed video of the ordination. “It went great,” Staley said. Both viewers of the video and listeners to the broadcast have indicated that despite not being able to attend in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic, “they felt they were still able to be part of the liturgy,” Staley said.
More broadcasts of live events are in the offing for WBOU, Staley said. “We want to be live, we want to be on the site … covering big things whether they’re big gala events or big church events,” he said.
The diocese also has hired Jovita Hernandez, a parishioner at Christ the King Church in Nashville, as the assistant director of Catholic Media Productions.
“She’s a great asset to our team,” Staley said. A graduate of the University of Houston with degrees in marketing and international business, Hernandez has experience in advertising and television.
“She will primarily be promoting the radio station, creating new branding and marketing for it,” Staley said.
Hernandez also will be working with other Catholic radio stations in the diocese at Immaculate Conception Church in Clarksville and St. Rose of Lima Church in Murfreesboro, and she’ll be building new relationships with supporters and sponsors.
“I want to meet with the people already involved and understand the challenges they are facing and see how we can meet their needs and help them grow,” Hernandez said.
“We want to make sure we’re supporting Bishop (J. Mark) Spalding’s initiative and that we come together as a Catholic community,” she said. “Catholic Media Productions allows us to gather and speak with one voice.”
The radio station is another platform the diocese can use to communicate with people, she said. “You have to expect that people are consuming new forms of media,” Hernandez said.
“We just want to present the diocese on as many mediums as possible,” said Staley. “Everybody is different. As social media diversifies, so does its audience.”
The same content can be disseminated through multiple platforms, he said. As an example, a new podcast for young adult Catholics, “Belonging,” featuring Zach Janson and Father Gervan Menezes, the chaplain at University Catholic, is available at Soundcloud.com/dio_nash and on WBOU radio.
“We think we can reach more people whatever their preferred medium is,” Staley said. “Whatever we create we want to be sure its stream-able, tweet-able and able to air on the radio.”
Currently, WBOU can be heard over the airwaves in Nashville and is also available online at www.wbou.org.
From 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, WBOU broadcasts programming from Relevant Radio in English, and from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. it broadcasts programming from EWTN in Spanish. The station also offers some locally produced content, including archived “We Believe” shows and one-minute homilies from Bishop Spalding about the upcoming Sunday readings, which air several times a day during the week.
WBOU was launched in 2016. The diocese is in the process of establishing a new board that will govern Catholic Media Productions, Staley said.