I read with interest a letter from Catholic Broadcasting Ltd expressing disappointment that it was not granted a community radio licence among the recent allocations granted to Kooris, students and gays.
This should not surprise anyone as Christianity lacks the usual trendy appeal, and the aforementioned groups constantly hassle every avenue to get into the media.
Catholics do not seem to be so keen. Apart from the one hour we broadcast from Peninsula Radio on Sunday at 8am (and have been doing so for the past 12 years), I don't know of any other consistent program available.
I must admit I viewed the application with some unease as all sorts of groups consider they are under the Catholic banner: women who want to be priests, gays who want "rights" contrary to Church teaching, self-styled seers claiming all sorts of phenomena without Church approval, anti-Pope factions, disaffected nuns allegedly dabbling in witchcraft, etc.
Owning a commercial licence is a vastly different situation from community radio, which by its very nature and purpose is for all shades of the spectrum. It involves a paid manager, often extra staff, a vast number of dedicated presenters manning the station 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.
The "quality" factor is only up to the timbre of the individual voice, personality and individual integrity of the presenter, material being used, and also that litigation would not ensue from what is being said.
Talk-back radio (which I would not even contemplate) is a potentially hazardous factor, as only a competent, quick-thinking theologian or professional in the field of discussion could handle this one; also, another person must handle the phone first and discern the questions being raised.
However, there is always a second thought to be had. Why not have individual bona fide Catholics come forward, and, after seeking their bishop's approval of the intended format, present themselves to their local community station, get involved, and then wait in turn for a time-slot, any time-slot?
This is a very worthwhile mission and can be done with sincerity and a sensible approach. I can be contacted at the Christian Presenters Group, 3RPP 98.7FM, Mooroduc Road, Mooroduc 3933, tel 9787-6540.