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Tiffin’s Catholic radio opening new offices Saturday

St. John Paul the Great Catholic radio in Tiffin is hosting an open house Saturday at its new offices, featuring national EWTN radio personality Debbie Georgianni as guest speaker.

A ribbon cutting is to take place at 11:30 a.m. with Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors at the new location, 11 Jackson St. Tiffin Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree members will be taking part in the ceremony.

Georgianni, co-host of EWTN radio’s “Take 2 with Jerry & Debbie,” then will share with participants “How God Brings Us Hope Through Catholic Radio.”

Georgianni is an inspirational speaker, certified health/wellness coach and co-host with Jerry Usher of the live weekday radio show at noon on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network heard locally on FM 103.3.

“This interactive, fast-paced show takes a fresh look at life from a whole new perspective,” said Patty Cress, board president of the local station. “It received the Gabriel Award for outstanding radio in 2018, which Debbie believes demonstrates that people learn from one another and that we all need each other.”

The local station — FM 103.3 — began broadcasting in Seneca County Jan. 1, 2015.

The station now is listener-supported Christian radio operated by volunteers as an affiliate of the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network, which Cress said is the largest global religious media network in the world.

EWTN provides programming from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. every day.

“It’s very interactive,” she said. Topics range from news and current events to family issues and women’s issues.

“It’s a worldwide network,” she said. “We’re very fortunate to have Debbie join us.”

Cress said lots of people besides Catholics listen to the station and some programming is directed toward people of other faiths.

She said it’s the only Christian station in Tiffin as far as she knows.

“We get a lot of people calling in who are not Catholic,” she said.

Cress said programming brings hope to people. She said she went through a difficult time several years ago and didn’t know where to turn, but she was able to rig up an antenna at her house and pull in Catholic radio broadcasts from out of town.

She said listening helped her a lot.

So when she was asked to work on the startup to bring Catholic radio to Tiffin, she said yes. And she’s been involved every since.

“I didn’t know anything about radio,” she said. “It had a positive influence on my life and I wanted to be able to share that with other people.”

St. Joseph and St. Mary parishes as well as the Knight of Columbus donated seed money to get a permit and buy basic equipment.

“Since then, we’ve been on our own,” she said. “This is a lay organization. It’s a nonprofit separate from the parishes but with the pastors’ blessings.”

She said the experience has been educational.

“I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “I’ve learned to find people who know the things I don’t know.”

Cress said the station’s antenna and transmitter are on top of St. Joseph Church, which makes some people think it’s affiliated with St. Joe.

“But we’re not,” she said. “We’re a ministry serving the Catholic Church.”

Cress said getting the radio station started in its first few years has taken “lots of time and energy and resources.”

The first office space after her garage was a room at BodyWorks before it was sold, and the station didn’t have office space for a little while until volunteers temporarily moved into the Jackson Street space owned by Elaine Hunt. Recently, Hunt decided to donate the space to the station and volunteers have been working to remodel the office since August.

Station manager Patrick Hanna said he got involved with the station about a year ago.

“We’re trying to be more present for more people in the community,” Hanna said. “So they know we exist.”

He said he felt compelled to volunteer because of the impact the EWTN programming has had on his life.

“We’ve done some events this year, participating in the St. Joe Fest, Seneca County Fair and Heritage Festival parade,” he said.

One of his main roles is to help secure financial support.

“It’s a process,” he said. “It takes some time to educate people about the impact the station has on the community, how reaching more people with important truths can help people live better.”

Money is the primary need right now, he said, but in the future he would like to produce local content and purchase equipment that would allow the station to broadcast live from events.

“I’d like to give it more local flavor,” he said.

In particular, Cress said the station needs volunteers willing create recordings.

“We don’t have advertisers, but we have sponsors,” she said. “We can’t advertise, but we can educate.”

Hanna said more volunteers are needed as well as sponsors.

Saturday’s open house is designed to raise awareness of the positive effects of Catholic radio in the community, Cress said.

“In addition to being inspired by the passion of Debbie Georgianni, there will be door prizes, refreshments and an opportunity to join our radio family in bringing hope to the community by spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ,” she said. “All are welcome.”

To donate time or money, visit JohnPaulRadio.org, call (419) 455-5004 or email st.johnpaulthegreatradio@gmail.com. Checks should be mailed to John Paul Radio, P.O. Box 103, Tiffin, OH 44883.

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