STAMFORD—Veritas Catholic Network recently announced that Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will have a weekly radio show about the Catholic faith that will be broadcast throughout the Fairfield County listening area.
The hour-long program, titled, “Let Me Be Frank,” will air on Wednesday at noon on WNLK-AM 1350 radio and be available later that day as a podcast at www.veritascatholic.com and the Diocese of Bridgeport website, www.bridgeportdiocese.org.
“This show will be historic because for the first time in the diocese, Bishop Caggiano will be speaking to everyone all at once,” said Steve Lee, president and CEO of the Catholic radio network, which is an affiliate of EWTN. “We want people in our listening area to get to know the bishop better. Many have questions about what is going on in the diocese and the Vatican, and they don’t know where to go for answers. Now, they have a place.”
Bishop Caggiano’s show, which will be pre-recorded, is the first local programming for Veritas and will be produced by John Grosso, director of digital media for the diocese, who said topics will include faith, spirituality, morality, the liturgical year and diocesan activities and initiatives.
“This represents a true partnership between the Diocese of Bridgeport and Veritas,” Grosso said. “We plan to make the topics accessible to all Catholics so they can connect with their faith and enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus and foster Catholic culture in a secular society.”
Grosso, who works with the bishop on social media, offered an insight into his spiritual thought process.
He said, “Once I asked Bishop Frank, ‘What are you going to talk about?’ and he responded, ‘I don’t know…I haven’t talked to the Holy Spirit yet.” Prayer and discernment are always a fundamental part of the process for him.
Bishop Caggiano, who is on the board of Veritas, has said, “The Lord can touch people in profound ways while they are sitting on the Merritt Parkway.” He has called the Catholic radio station “a new frontier for our diocese.”
The show, which will eventually be live and take call-ins, will begin before Lent and include updates on the diocese and the Church, spiritual reflection and a question-and-answer component.
“The bishop is a wonderful speaker and storyteller, and it’s great just to see where the conversation goes when you’re with him,” said Lee.
Veritas began broadcasting EWTN Catholic programming 24 hours a day last July throughout Fairfield County, the north shore of Long Island and parts of Westchester. Lee, a Ridgefield resident, purchased WNLK-AM 1350 radio and an FM translator at 103.9 MHz from Sacred Heart University and plans to expand local coverage of Catholic and community events.
“We have started broadcasting local advertising and have 60-second spiritual reflections from people in the diocese,” he said. “Bishop Caggiano has three in the rotation. And we play one reflection an hour.”
There are currently 380 EWTN affiliates in the United States. Lee believes the network, which reaches an estimated audience of almost 900,000 people, including 400,000 Catholics in the Bridgeport Diocese, can expand further into Westchester County and New York City and eventually throughout Connecticut.
His strategic plans include expanding the AM signal and launching the FM translator, which would put Veritas on the FM dial. Each project will cost an estimated $25,000 to $30,000, he said. The station’s first pledge drive will begin in May.
Listeners can also live-stream through the veritascatholic.com website and an app that is being developed.
Bishop Caggiano’s show will be the first local show, and Lee said he will be filling in more local programming throughout the week.
Lee said that Veritas will eventually have a presence at parish festivals, school fairs, sporting events and conferences at Catholic colleges and universities. Some morning drive-time shows he plans to produce will feature a rotating cast of clergy, parish and school news, and programs for young people and religious communities in the area.
The EWTN programming includes “Catholic Answers Live,” “Called to Communion” with Dr. David Anders, “Kresta in the Afternoon,” “The Doctor Is In” with Dr. Ray Guarendi and “Christ Is the Answer” with Father John Riccardo. Veritas also simulcasts “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo and classic programs featuring Mother Angelica and Father Benedict Groeschel.
“We need to reach people where they are, in their cars, in their homes, on their phones,” Lee said. “We need to show them the beauty, truth and goodness of our faith, and that will have a downstream influence that will affect families, the culture and the Church.”
Lee, who left his job in finance on Wall Street, says the past two years have presented him with trials and challenges…and rewards. He credits his wife Roula with providing him the spiritual and moral support the undertaking required.
By Joe Pisani