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Campaign to enhance local programming

Bruce McGregor, program director for Spirit 88.9 FM - KVSS, is at the controls of a programming facelift for the Catholic radio station. In less than a year, McGregor has brought more music and local programming to the station, which is located in Omaha. He plans to use money from the station's capital campaign to bring even more changes.
Photo by Brian Fuchser

By Brian Fuchser
The Catholic Voice

Since the hiring in May 2004 of Program Director Bruce McGregor, Spirit 88.9 FM-KVSS has undergone a programming facelift.

But on March 16, the Catholic radio station launched a capital campaign that McGregor said will change the six-year-old station's programming even more.

In his almost 11 months since arriving at the Omaha station, McGregor has incorporated more music and local programming into the station's repertoire.

Playing more Catholic music on a regular basis was a major change for KVSS, one McGregor felt was important. He plans to use money from the capital campaign to further expand the station's use of music.

"The Catholic Church has a rich heritage, not only in sacred music, but also some of the great liturgical music that was written in the 1970s, liturgical music that people are exposed to at Mass every Sunday," McGregor said. "In addition to that, we found there was a whole wealth of contemporary Catholic artists out there.

"So, what we tried to construct was at least an hour a day that we could devote to these contemporary artists, and then another hour in the day where we could rotate through several different forms of Catholic music," he said. "We really try and paint a wide swath with music."

McGregor brought the increased emphasis on local programs to KVSS from his 30 years of experience in radio programming at stations in Milwaukee, Detroit, Omaha, Orlando, Fla. and Baltimore.

"We want to be able to break open the faith, not only on a national level with our great syndicated shows, but also on a local level," he said.

That has included local rosaries, a daily Mass broadcast from a different local parish every two weeks and short programs from professors at Creighton University in Omaha. The station also has featured presentations from different archdiocesan priests.

McGregor said he plans to use money from the capital campaign to give the station "more of a liturgical kind of feel."

"As we're programming, we're programming for people coming from Mass on Sunday," he said. "We want to be there with them as they take what they've gotten at Mass to the marketplace.

"We're really looking at bringing in more of the archdiocesan priests, having them share their interests and talking about topics of interest to them that they think would be spiritually uplifting and beneficial to all the people here in the archdiocese," McGregor said.

He also wants to get local priests involved in daily broadcasts of the Liturgy of the Hours. And in what he called a "really ambitious goal," he wants to highlight a parish of the week, each week.

"We want to be able to go out and work with each of the parishes, talk to the pastor, interview them, find out at a parish level what ministries they're especially proud of," he said. "There'll be a lot of lifting going into that with the handful of people that we have here now."

Many of the programming goals will take time and energy, as well as money, he said.
"Part of the reason we're doing the capital campaign is really to continue to be able to do more local things and to have the resources – additional hardware and software – available that will help us with that," he said. "Also, one of the big things is marketing. We want people here to know that there's a Catholic radio station."

McGregor said the hardware, software and marketing needs that will be met by the campaign will affect programming.

He stressed that money from the capital campaign will not be used for normal operating expenses, but for the "growth of the station."

"We want to certainly make that very clear to people, that there are two separate issues," McGregor said. "We normally do our Care-A-Thons for operational expenses, and the capital campaign is really about growth and stability.

"We want to keep Catholic radio here for generations to come."

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