By EmmaLee Italia | Correspondent
Come September, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will make the leap to live Internet broadcast on Facebook and YouTube through his monthly radio program “The Shepherd’s Voice.”
Produced and aired from the studios of Domestic Church Media – the Ewing-based Catholic multimedia apostolate and home of WFJS 1260 AM – “The Shepherd’s Voice” has been a staple among DCM’s local programming since its premiere in March 2011. This season, the Bishop’s show will be live online for seven monthly broadcasts: Sept. 8, Nov. 3, Dec. 1, Jan. 12, Feb. 2, March 2 and June 1.
“He is a natural behind the mic and understands the importance of being able to speak with his people, and the people of the other dioceses we cover,” said Jim Manfredonia, president and co-founder of Domestic Church Media with his wife, Cheryl.
With varied and timely topics relevant to the Diocese of Trenton, as well as the Catholic Church at large, “The Shepherd’s Voice” lends a fresh perspective from a respected source.
“The Bishop comes with a list of items he’d like to cover each program,” Manfredonia explained. “Usually updates on what’s going on in the Diocese, special events, Masses … Sometimes it’s seasonal – Lent, Easter, Advent and Christmas. It seems we always get on the topic of vocations and the priesthood at some point each program, especially as we approach Ordinations.”
While “The Shepherd’s Voice” has been a live radio program for six years, with encore presentations throughout the month, using the Internet for live broadcast will bring Catholic radio to a much wider audience.
“With the rapid advancement of technology, we feel that DCM must always stay on the cutting edge of all available means of communication,” Manfredonia said. “We live in a video age. Technology and the Internet have made it very easy to deliver our programming with these two very popular video platforms.”
On Facebook Live and YouTube Live, “The Shepherd’s Voice” and other local programs will draw their audience from some surprising new corners of the globe.
“It’s interesting to see just how far we can reach with these technologies,” Manfredonia said of the Internet media reception on its other live shows. “I’ve seen that we have regular viewers from Texas, California and many Midwestern states. On our Podcasts, we are listened to all over the world – from countries on every continent except for Antarctica!”
Since 2008, DCM has expanded its airwaves with the addition of three other stations: WFJS 89.3 FM (Freehold), WGYM 1580 AM (Hammonton) and WSMJ 91.9 FM (North Wildwood). Outside the listening area, programming can be enjoyed live on the DCM website via streaming audio and on its free app for mobile devices. Podcasts of archived local programs are available on the website, and prerecorded shows will be viewable on the station’s YouTube channel.
In addition to “The Shepherd’s Voice,” DCM currently produces five other local programs – three of which will be live beginning in September and seen on Facebook and YouTube:
• “Catholic Matters”: 2 p.m. LIVE Wednesdays
• “Brothers in Arms”: 6 p.m. on first Fridays (prerecorded, but available to watch on YouTube)
• “Cheryl’s Music Hour”: 2 p.m. Thursdays (prerecorded, but new programs available on YouTube)
• “TGI Friday Live”: 4 to 6 p.m. LIVE Fridays, adding Mondays in September
• “Come to Me”: 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday (prerecorded); Wednesdays LIVE
“I thought I’d try something new [on ‘Come to Me’] on Wednesdays, when I’m going to open the phones and talk with my listeners and viewers about various topics of interest,” Manfredonia noted. The apostolate’s live Friday show, featuring Manfredonia and DCM community relations manager Gabriella Furmato, will also become more interactive.
“We have gotten a lot of great feedback about this talk format, which also includes interviews, music, weather and even a game show where listeners can call in and win prizes,” Manfredonia continued. “We’d also like to open up a listener call-in segment. Our DCM spiritual director once told us that it is good for our listeners to hear the interaction between the generations – we get a lot of younger listeners.”
“This is exactly why DCM exists,” Manfredonia added, “to heed our Lord’s great commission: to go out into the whole world and bring the Good News!”
Domestic Church Media is an EWTN radio affiliate, broadcasting EWTN programing in addition to locally produced shows. Programming may be accessed at: www.DomesticChurchMedia.org; Facebook: www.Facebook.com/domesticchurchmedia; YouTube Channel: www.YouTube.com/domesticchurchmedia.