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On the air in Front Royal
New radio station brings Catholic programming to the Shenandoah Valley
Katie Bahr | Catholic Herald
Katie Bahr | Catholic Herald
Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde (left) listens as Fr. Donald J. Planty, Christendom chaplain, reads from Scripture during a blessing ceremony for the college’s new radio transmitter and tower Jan. 18.

Christendom College in Front Royal has a new method of sharing God’s word with the local community thanks to a new radio station, WXDM 90.3 FM. The station, which was made possible by the support of anonymous donors, will broadcast Catholic programming 24 hours a day in and around Front Royal.

Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde visited Christendom Jan. 18 to celebrate Mass and bless the station’s radio tower and transmitter. During his homily, the bishop spoke of the need for Catholics to grow in the faith and evangelize others. With the new radio station, he said, Christendom will enable the local faithful to do so by “(teaching) them where they are, at home, in the car, as they exercise, wherever.”

“How proud I am as your diocesan bishop and shepherd, how proud you all must be to witness today the inauguration for a grace-filled opportunity at Christendom by beginning your own local FM radio station,” he said. “Through this modality, the good news will be transmitted to many people whom you and I could otherwise never meet or contact.”

WXDM launched Nov. 30 and is the first Catholic radio station based in Virginia. Thanks to a 190-watt-powered signal, the station can be heard as far north as Winchester and as far south as Bentonville. According to Timothy O’Donnell, president of Christendom, a second transmitter in Winchester will be operational in three months, extending the station’s range even farther.

“We will have the entire northern Shenandoah Valley covered with Catholic radio,” O’Donnell said.

Currently, the station broadcasts an around-the-clock feed of programming from the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network. In the future, the college hopes to incorporate some of its own programming, including major speakers or lecturers.

“That in our 35th year (as a college), we’re launching a radio station, I’m really thrilled,” O’Donnell said. “God has been so good to us. I think it’s a real fruit of the Holy Spirit.”

Christendom’s assistant director of public relations, Niall O’Donnell, will serve as the general manager for WXDM. He believes the station will have a positive impact on the faith lives of local Catholics.

“Recent studies have found that 94 percent of Catholic radio listeners are more spiritually engaged and inspired, 47 percent attend Mass more frequently, and 31 percent have returned to the church because of the programming,” he said. “With statistics like this, there is no doubt that our station will have a positive impact on our local community.”

Before blessing the transmitter, Bishop Loverde prayed the station would prosper as a “source of blessing for all the people who will listen, thereby they may be drawn to the Lord Jesus and His holy church, for only with the Lord and in His church do we find that peace for which our hearts all yearn.”

Bahr can be reached on Twitter @KBahrACH.

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