STAMFORD—With the FCC approval of his purchase of a radio station, a Ridgefield man expects to begin broadcasting EWTN Catholic programming on June 24 throughout Fairfield County, the north shore of Long Island and parts of Westchester.
Steve Lee, president & CEO of Veritas Catholic Network Inc., is purchasing WNLK-AM 1350 radio and an FM translator at 103.9 MHz from Sacred Heart University, which will allow him to simulcast EWTN programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week in addition to providing local coverage of Catholic and community events. He hopes to reach an audience of 5.6 million Catholics.
Lee said the EWTN programming will include “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 will also simulcast “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo and classic programs featuring Mother Angelica and Father Benedict Groeschel.
There are currently 380 EWTN affiliates in the United States. After operations begin in Fairfield County, Lee believes the network can expand further into Westchester County and New York City and eventually throughout Connecticut.
“Catholic radio will always be available as a consistent and faithful teacher of the Faith,” he said. “When you’re tired of listening to music and you want to be fed, now you’ll have a place to do that.”
Veritas will provide listeners an alternative to political talk radio “We will offer a break from all that anger and division, and it will be a joyful message of hope,” he says.
Lee notes that Veritas will begin broadcasting on the Feast of St. John the Baptist and says, “We will be a voice crying out in the desert, as we act as a megaphone of evangelization for Jesus Christ and his Church.”
Bishop Frank J. 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 voiced his support of the effort, which he called “a new frontier for our diocese.”
Veritas will 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, including Bishop Caggiano, parish and school news, and programs for young people and religious communities in the area.
Listeners will also be able to live stream through the veritascatholic.com website and an app that is being developed.
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 will providing him spiritual and moral support.
“This whole thing started when I was driving into work July 2017, listening to an EWTN program and the head of EWTN radio came on and said, ‘If you want to bring EWTN radio to your area, call me.’”
The next day Lee called him and said, “I don’t really know why I am calling you, but I heard you on the radio.”
That day he began a novena to the Holy Spirit and prayed, “Lord do you want me to be involved in something like this? If you do, bring people into my life that can help.” The second day of his novena, he realized he should tell his wife Roula what he was praying for.
“She looked at me and said, “Wow, Steve, when did you lose your mind?” She encouraged him to talk to Father Paul Check, rector of St. John Fisher Seminary, who introduced him to his brother, Christopher, president of Catholic Answers, the largest lay-run apologetics and evangelization organization in the English-speaking world and producer of the leading national radio show Catholic Answers Live.
In September 2017, Lee incorporated Veritas and shortly after met with Bishop Caggiano, and that November he went to an EWTN Catholic radio conference.
A few months later, he told Roula, “I’m thinking of leaving my job and career, but I never ran a radio station. Am I nuts?” She looked at him and said, “Oh, you, of little faith. Keep moving and see where it takes you.”
“This has been the most trying time of my life,” Lee says. “But it has also been so exhilarating and wonderful in so many ways. My faith has changed and I think it has grown a lot.”
He quotes Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN, who said, “Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air, and a queasy feeling in the stomach.”
In his Stamford office there is a statue of the Blessed Mother, carved from a piece of cedar from the Holy Land that was given to him by Bishop Caggiano. He calls her “Our Lady of the Lights.” Nearby, he has a relic of St. Therese of Lisieux, given to him by the wife of the manager of the EWTN affiliate in Omaha, wishing him success in his venture.
As the launch date approaches, Lee says his goal is a simple one: “To make Jesus really happy with what we are doing.”