The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network’s newly upgraded iCatholicRadio mobile app is poised to attract a new generation of technology-savvy listeners to Catholic programming.
The iCatholicRadio app enables listeners from anywhere in the world to listen to the radio network’s informational and inspirational programs anytime on an iPhone, Android, or other mobile device. The new version of the free app includes advanced features that provide maximum listening and communication options.
“We expect the new app to accelerate our growth in our radio markets, across the United States, and throughout the world,” said Jim Wright, the radio network’s co-founder and president. “It will help our apostolate respond to Jesus’s commission to his disciples to go out and spread the gospel message to all corners of the world.”
One of the exciting upgrades is an expanded podcast feature that enables users to access both shows that are produced by The Station of the Cross and also shows that have been produced by other Catholic radio apostolates. Users can also create playlists of favorite podcasts and share podcasts on Facebook and Twitter.
There are also robust communications capabilities, including the ability to call-in or e-mail a question to the live Calling all Catholics show (which airs Monday-Friday at 5pm) directly from the app, share videos and photos, record and submit testimonials, and make a financial contribution to support the network’s mission. In addition, it includes built-in survey technology with a Question of the Month feature that enables users to provide feedback about programs, decisions and initiatives at The Station of the Cross.
Listeners who have the previous version of the iCatholicRadio app on their mobile device will receive a notification of the upgrade and be able to quickly download the new version to their device. New users can download the upgraded app online at no charge from iCatholicRadio.com.
The app includes broadcast streams from all of the network’s radio markets: Boston (1060 AM); Buffalo (101.7 FM); Rochester (92.9 FM/1460 AM); Syracuse (88.7 FM); Elmira/Corning (88.3 FM); Erie/NE Ohio (89.5 FM/92.1 FM); and Oil City (88.3 FM).
In a few weeks, the Boston 1060 AM market will release a separate but similar app, iCatholicRadio Boston, that will include only the 1060 AM stream and will follow 1060 AM’s programming schedule. The Boston app was made possible through a directed donation by a generous benefactor in the New England region.
The iCatholicRadio mobile app already has a staggering global presence, with more than 200,000 downloads from more than 122 countries. This reach is expected to grow significantly as a result of the enhancements, as well as other technology initiatives that complement the new app.
“The new mobile app is just the latest in a string of technology enhancements that our radio apostolate has made in the past few months. We have expanded the use of social media tools, especially Facebook and Twitter, to better connect and communicate with our listeners by providing more opportunities for listener engagement,” said Wright.
The importance of digital media to the future of Catholic radio is reinforced by Scot Landry, an advisory board member for The Station of the Cross and author of Transforming Parish Communications: Growing the Church Through New Media.
“In our electronic age, digital communications is becoming increasingly important for any organization. We have seen the entire Church begin to embrace it, from Pope Francis and the Holy See, to bishops leading dioceses, to parishes and pastors. Everyone sees the power of new technology to connect with others and to help Christ followers to better know, love and live the Catholic faith,” said Landry.
Zach Krajacic, vice president of advancement, views digital technology as a key way to engage people in the mission of the radio apostolate. “The enhancements to our technology will advance our mission – the app will enable us to reach more people. We recognize that technology is changing and that this is the new world we live. To share our message effectively, it is critical to meet people where they are, whether it is a website, a Facebook page, or a mobile app,” he said. “By maximizing these technologies, we will be able to broaden interest in our Catholic faith and reach more souls in the name of Jesus Christ.”
To lead the social media and technology strategy, the station recently hired Alyson Borowczyk as social media coordinator. Borowczyk said, “Already we have seen a positive reaction to our technology efforts, with significantly more shares of our Facebook and Twitter posts and increased listener engagement. We are excited about the potential for bringing in more people to the faith through the expansion of the iCatholicRadio app and the growth in the use of social media tools.”
Founded in 1999, The Station of the Cross offers a combination of national shows from EWTN Radio, Ave Maria Radio, and local productions. In addition to the iCatholicRadio mobile app and radio, programming can also be heard on thestationofthecross.com.