Relevant Radio 1240AM general manager Jim DeSchepper (standing) and operations manager Chris Reitz work in the new studio at the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center in Madison. (Catholic Herald photo/Kat Wagner)
MADISON -- The new studio for Relevant Radio 1240 AM is starting to look a little more like home.
Bright green foam triangles line the wall to reduce noise, the spindly arms of the microphones wait to catch the next interview, and a photo of the pope hangs on the wall. In the office next door, a brightly colored begonia catches the rays shining in through the courtyard where the fountain of Mary bubbles in the summer.
“We brought that in from the front porch,” said Jim DeSchepper, general manager for Relevant Radio 1240, gesturing towards the begonia. “It’ll last another few weeks in here.”
The new studio and office are located at the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center in Madison where the diocesan offices are located. The change will bring the Catholic radio station closer to where much of the news for the diocese is made.
“All the bishop has to do to come to the studios now is to come down the stairs and turn left,” Chris Reitz, operations manager for Relevant Radio 1240 said.
The station moved from its former location on Madison’s west side, less than a mile from the center, to its new location on September 16. It’s not that big of a jump — essentially, across “the Beltline,” Madison’s major highway — but there will be definite differences.
“Being in the same building will elevate the amount of material we can get,” DeSchepper said. “Just being able to say you’re in the Bishop O’Connor Center helps identify who you are.”
It will also be easier for diocesan office directors and other Catholic leaders to come into the studio to record interviews, rather than conduct them over the phone.
“It’s not that big of a difference, but it makes everything sound like we’re a little closer together,” Reitz said.
And bringing listeners closer to the Catholic news and newsmakers is what the station is all about. Relevant Radio 1240 is part of the largest Catholic talk radio network in the country, with 12 stations and 20 affiliates. The programming, which follows their mission of evangelization through the media, ranges from popular network shows such as Morning Air, The Drew Mariani Show, and On Call, to local programs such as the new Diocese of Madison This Week.
New local weekly show
For five years, radio host and former Diocesan Media Specialist Brian Kelly produced the local radio magazine show Relevant 2U, which gave listeners a look at the weekly happenings in the diocese. The show, however, concluded its run after Kelly’s position at the diocese was eliminated this past summer.
On October 7, Relevant Radio 1240 began the new Diocese of Madison This Week show to highlight local events and meet Catholic leaders from around the diocese. The show will air Wednesdays at 6 p.m., with encores at 9 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 12 noon on Sundays.
The one-hour show will be hosted by Tim Heiney, who goes by the radio name Tim Hein, a member of St. Aloysius Parish in Sauk City. Hein started in radio in 1993, working at stations on the AM and FM bands until 2000. After eight years he got back into the medium working with Relevant Radio as a board operator and now will be hosting the Diocese of Madison This Week show.
Hein said that the new show will feature many different speakers: from Theology on Tap, Bishop Morlino’s homilies, people making a difference in the Catholic community and pro-life work, Catholic Herald editor Mary Uhler, and others. He would also like to possibly feature choirs or bands from the parishes, and to maybe close with a segment from them.
Hein is looking forward to “getting out and meeting people and trying to bring the various parishes in the diocese into the show.”