By Jeff McCoy
BERKELEY SPRINGS—A small Catholic radio station, on a high perch in Berkeley Springs is serving the church and community with national coverage and locally produced programming. It can be heard in four states—Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania—at 107.9 and a translator in Hancock, Md., at 96.3 on the FM dial.
Jim Fritz, several years ago, started a small newsletter publication group entitled “Defenders Of The Faith,” which went on to become the owners of the WDTF radio station.
“One of the members noticed that if you were an operational non-profit for over two years you could qualify for a powered FM radio license. So we did, and we got it, and we got on the air in about a year,” said Fritz, founder and executive director.
Relevant Radio is a non-profit radio network heard in all 50 states and 146 countries around the world. Patrick Crosby, station manager and engineer, explained: “That is the organization that helped Defenders Of The Faith bring their radio station into being.” WDTF is an affiliate to them, using their national programs mixed with their own local programming.
Father Leonard Smith, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Berkeley Springs, is the host of the “Real Life” radio show. Members of the Executive Life Committee at St. Vincent de Paul started writing articles for the parish bulletin. They covered topics such as abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, immigration, poverty and the dignity of the poor.
“I was trying to help to make that an instrument for teaching people a little more broadly the church teachings of the dignity of life,” Father Smith said.
“We know we have non-Catholics listening to our station. I have worked with people that have listened to our station and are very much interested in learning more about the Catholic Church. I like to think that we are promoting the Catholic Church and bringing more of the Catholic Church to those in the area who are already Catholic,” Crosby said.
“Our guardian angel is St. Pope Paul II because he really was into evangelizing and using radio and TV,” Fritz said. The station is on the air 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
When asked how it all comes together, Crosby said: “All volunteers, by donations.” Everyone was quick to point a finger to someone else when asked about the success of the station.
Donations to support WDTF may be made at www.wdtf-lp.org/