Cape Cod Catholic radio benefit planned for May 17

By Kenneth J. Souza, Anchor Staff

POCASSET, Mass. — With a little luck, prayers and financial support, there will soon be a second Catholic radio station broadcasting within the Fall River Diocese, emanating from the shores along Cape Cod.

While the New Bedford-based WPMW FM 88.5 — better known as Radio CorMariae — has been on the air for more than three years now, plans have been accelerating to bring a similar EWTN affiliate to Falmouth, located near the center of the Cape.

“I think Catholic radio has an audience,” said William Bodio, a parishioner of Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich. “I know after I turn the ignition key, it’s the first thing I tend to do: to see what’s on the dial.”

While Bodio is aware of Radio CorMariae, he’s been unable to pick up its limited signal on Cape Cod and has had similar problems receiving the stronger transmission of the next-closest EWTN station based out of Natick.

“I’ve tried to pick them up, with fading signals … but with conventional radios, that’s about it,” he said. “It’s very erratic.”

That’s all about to change when WQMC FM 102.3 hits the airwaves.

Dubbed the “Life with Christ” radio channel, the planned 250-watt station will provide another outlet for syndicated EWTN programming and homegrown shows based at a studio in the Falmouth area.

Bodio said it’s particularly important to have a Catholic radio presence on Cape Cod, where the primary mode of transportation is the motor vehicle.

“Virtually everything here involves getting into your car and driving,” he said. “Whether you’re going shopping or to worship or to a friend’s house or community activities — those 10- to 40-minute trips provide an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives.”

An early supporter of the effort, Bodio will be speaking at a benefit for “Life with Christ” radio to be held May 17 at St. John’s Parish, 841 Shore Road in Pocasset, beginning with dinner at 6 p.m.

A licensed mental health counselor and director of the Center for Psychology and Faith in Sagamore, Bodio will be talking about his upcoming “Shelter from the Storm” radio show, which will make its debut on WQMC.

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He’ll be sharing the stage with well-known news and sports anchor and communications expert Scott Wahle, formerly of WBZ-TV in Boston.

“I’ve got this talented, gifted performer who’s been on stage and screen along with spaghetti and meatballs, so I’ll be competing with those two things,” Bodio joked.

“I do a lot of concert work — I’m a singer and an actor — so I contacted a good buddy of mine who does this for a living and he and I together are going to be the ‘entertainment’ for the evening,” Wahle told The Anchor. “I’m in support of Bill, who is the main event.”

Wahle, who currently serves on the board for iCatholic Media, the non-profit arm that operates a number of media outlets for the Boston Archdiocese including Catholic TV, The Pilot newspaper, and the locally-produced radio program “The Good Catholic Life” that originates from WQOM 1060 AM (“The Station of the Cross”) in Boston, also began his impressive career working for a radio station on Cape Cod.

“I graduated from Notre Dame and had initially wanted to be an actor, but broadcasting was my fallback position,” Wahle said. “By the time I graduated, I decided I didn’t want to wait on tables, so I sent out about 30 resumes to different New England radio stations and I got a nibble in Montpelier, Vt., and I got a solid offer from a station in Orleans on WVLC, which stood for ‘Voice of the Lower Cape.’ So my first job out of school was working for a radio station on Cape Cod. It was a great place to start.”

A seasoned anchor and longtime fixture on the Boston news circuit, Wahle finally got to realize his acting aspirations with roles in the 2010 Tom Cruise film “Knight and Day” and more recently in the Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie “The Makeover,” which will premiere in June, and a forthcoming pilot for NBC entitled “The Odyssey.”

And like Bodio, Wahle thinks the Church needs to use any and all tools at its disposal to spread the “Good News.”

“Any means that the Church can use to get the message out is important,” Wahle said. “If you’re not on Facebook, or Twitter, or blogging, you’re not really taking advantage of all the means that you have — and radio can and should be part of that whole outreach. To be able to get the message out to that huge percentage of the population who were maybe raised Catholic but no longer go to church, it’s ideal.”

Wahle said he met Bodio a few years ago through a mutual friend and that’s when he first learned about “Life with Christ” radio.

“He’s a faith-filled guy who’s very involved in his parish in Sandwich,” Wahle said. “Just from the times that I’ve been in touch with him, I’ve found him to be a deeply spiritual guy with a real message and a real story to tell.”

“Scott has been very encouraging,” Bodio said, jokingly adding: “He’s told me from the start that he thought I had the perfect face for radio.”

Having produced a series of educational tapes, DVDs and CDs on counseling issues related to the Catholic faith that were widely circulated on Cape Cod, Bodio said he was approached by some of the people behind WQMC about doing a show.

“I did a series about the so-called ‘healing art’ involved in counseling and psychotherapy,” Bodio said. “And they let me know about their plans to start a Catholic radio station on Cape Cod and wanted to explore whether I might have some interest.”

As a longtime admirer of EWTN, Bodio jumped at the chance to do his own radio show.

“My wife and I went to the 25th anniversary of EWTN a number of years ago, and I think they’re about to celebrate their 35th anniversary, if I’m not mistaken,” he said. “So I certainly understand what their vision is for spreading the Good News.”

Admitting that he’s a neophyte in terms of radio production, Bodio hopes he can “do whatever I can to help develop radio programming concepts, dialogues and issues and sort of look at things from a practical, pragmatic level but also make sure we’re theologically and philosophically sound.”

“I would suspect my show will be an evolving thing,” he added. “I think if we get enough interest and a production staff infrastructure, it could be a live show where we have call-in opportunities. But I think initially we’ll identify thematically the storms that apply to people’s lives and the challenges that are facing our community and nation.”

Since he spent the bulk of his career working for secular media outlets, Wahle is keenly aware of the importance of making sure the Catholic perspective is represented in newspapers, on TV, and via radio.

“I think Catholic media plays an important role — especially now, with Pope Francis being front and center all the time — so they can report on not only what he’s said, but also what he meant,” Wahle said. “I don’t think you can count on the secular media to handle the second part of that. They can certainly tell you what he said, but they won’t always know what he meant, or they’ll come up with some other conclusion about what he meant.”

An avid admirer of Pope Francis, Wahle said he’s noticed that some secular media outlets have misinterpreted the Holy Father’s “off-the-cuff remarks” of late.

“Some people have taken what he’s said about certain aspects of the Church — whether it’s divorce or homosexuality — out of context,” Wahle said. “People will read into it what they want to read into it, and I think it’s important that a newspaper or any media outlet doesn’t take it and run with it as if the pope was saying divorce is OK, for example. You can’t jump to a conclusion about what he’s saying for your own purposes; you have to step back and understand what he’s saying. I think that’s where the Catholic media can play an important role in being the interpreter for Pope Francis.”

Bodio said WQMC has already secured the necessary permits along with a license from the Federal Communications Commission and the station’s transmission tower will be located in East Falmouth that will boost its original 150-watt output to 250 watts.

“That’s not bad for an FM station on the Cape,” he said. “(The range) may surprise us, depending on the atmospheric conditions.”

The final piece of the puzzle will be to secure a studio location from among several options within the Falmouth area.

“I know the gang is very optimistic that, if our fund-raising efforts are successful, we will be on the air by the end of the year if not the beginning of 2015,” Bodio said. “As I guess has been customary for EWTN stations, it takes a lot of faith to get started, but it seems to work.”

An evening fund-raiser to benefit WQMC FM 102.3 with Scott Wahle and William Bodio will be held on May 17 at 6 p.m. at St. John’s Church, 841 Shore Road in Pocasset. Dinner will be provided and a goodwill donation will be greatly appreciated. For more information contact Kevin Ward at 508-291-0949 or visit www.lifewithchristradio.org.

© 2017 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing  †  Fall River, Massachusetts