The vision to bring Catholic radio to the Raleigh area was conceived in 2007 and the first meeting was held in November at the home of Keith and Cecelia Flanary. By 2008, and under the spiritual direction of Msgr. John Williams, another group from St. Joseph’s began striving towards the same goal. Before long, these two groups of visionaries merged under the name of Divine Mercy Radio (DMR), an incorporation established by the St. Joseph effort. DMR soon joined the Catholic Radio Association and has maintained its membership ever since.
With guidance from Jim Wright, president of Holy Family Communications (Buffalo, NY) and chair of Catholic Radio Association, DMR negotiated an hour-per-day of air time with Curtis Media Group and began broadcasting on December 8, 2008, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Each week, from Monday through Thursday, DMR carried the best of Catholic Answers Live. Fridays became known as Local Fridays and provided DMR with an opportunity to broadcast content recorded at Ignited By Truth Conferences, the Bishops Series on Bioethics, and Natural Family Planning programs from One More Soul. After nearly nine months on the air, DMR left the airwaves on August 29, 2009 upon depletion of its meager operating budget.
Soon thereafter, DMR’s board turned its attention towards purchasing a full-power station and began raising money in earnest for this venture. By August of 2011, an AM station in Durham became available. However, in support of the new Cathedral, and in obedience to the Bishop’s general request to abstain from soliciting funds, DMR declined the option to purchase.
From 2011 until present, DMR has maintained an online station via its website www.wdmr.org.
In 2013, the FCC announced a window was opened for local non-profits to apply for Low-Power FM stations. Naturally, DMR applied for a station of its own. DMR simultaneously approached other non-profit Catholic organizations in the Raleigh area encouraging them to follow suit. Once the FCC window had closed, eight Catholic apostolates had submitted their own applications.
From these eight applications, over the next 23 months, the FCC awarded the following five frequencies for Catholic programming:
- 90.1 FM in North Raleigh, owned by Birthchoice
- 103.3 FM in Cary, owned by St. Michael’s Parish
- 103.5 FM in Wake Forest, owned by All Saints Academy,
- 106.5 FM in Greater Raleigh, jointly owned by Columbus Club of Raleigh and Thomas International Center
- 106.7 FM in Holly Springs, owned by Cary/Apex Knights of Columbus
On October 13, 2015 DMR brought up the first full time Catholic radio station – WFNE on 103.5 FM in Wake Forest.
The present goal is to have the Cary station WSHP on 103.3 FM on the air by the spring of 2017, and two more stations broadcasting by the end of 2017, and the fifth station on the air in the first months of 2018 — sooner if the necessary funding is made available.
The majority of programming will be from EWTN. Local spots and local programs such as “Local Fridays”, produced by Divine Mercy Radio, are aired as they become available. Other sources of local programming are Faith Works by Ellen White, Two Wings to God by Rob Agnelli, Raleigh to Rome by Billy Atwell Communications Director at the Diocese of Raleigh, Parish Mission Series, local priests, local conferences, and local Catholic events.
We are presently working with the Carolina Catholic Radio Network in the Charlotte area. The vision is a combined effort to cover all of North Carolina with Catholic radio!