Local Catholic radio station coming

PARKERSBURG – A new local Catholic radio station will start spreading the gospel by radio in August.

A 160-foot radio tower is under construction on the Ritchie side of the Pleasants and Ritchie County line to allow WOUX 105.3 FM to take to the airwaves next month. It’s sponsored and supported by the Parkersburg Catholic Schools Foundation and area churches and will be managed by Charleston-based St. Paul Radio, a nonprofit corporation that operates multiple Catholic radio stations in the state.

“It will give us the opportunity to use another means to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Msgr. Joseph L. Peterson with St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Parkersburg.

The format will be primarily talk, with St. Paul providing content from the EWTN Catholic Radio Network and remotely operating the station.

“It’s really designed to help people understand the Catholic religion and evangelize them to help them understand the word of Christ,” said Ron Teufel, a Charleston resident and member of the St. Paul board of directors.

On Friday, Teufel was in Charleston, helping put together the 8-by-8 foot building that will be placed on the transmitter site. Meanwhile, workers from local companies TelConn, Steve Wallace Construction and Pope Properties started preparing the site recently and expect to finish before the end of the month.

“It’s all strictly volunteer,” Peterson said. Numerous individuals “are contributing their time and talent, as well as their treasure, to this effort.”

Among those is Joe Conny, who owns TelConn, a telecommunications tower-building and services company, with his wife, Lisha.

“We think it’s for a good cause reaching out and touching people and letting them know about Christianity,” said Conny, a member of St. Marys Catholic Church in Marietta.

St. Margaret Mary member Carl Long is coordinating the effort to get buried utility lines connected to the transmitter site.

“We have to install a line about four-tenths of a mile long up a hillside,” he said.

The venture actually began more than three years ago, when Mark Sadd, with St. Paul Radio, notified the Parkersburg Catholic foundation that the Federal Communications Commission was auctioning an available radio station in the area, Peterson said. The Catholic proposal was selected, but the venture is only now coming together, in part because of its volunteer nature, he said.

Despite all the volunteer work, there will be expenses to pay. Peterson said there are plans for a campaign to raise the remainder of the $65,000 to $75,000 in initial expenses and they will be looking for sponsorships.