The History of Holy Family Radio

While listening to religious broadcaster John Martignoni on the Eternal Word Television Network shortwave radio station WEWN, Betty Girven from Lancaster, Pennsylvania wanted more people to hear what she was listening to over her radio.

So, the retired elementary school teacher wrote to EWTN and asked about radio stations and they sent her information on how to start one. Betty caught the “radio bug!” She invited parishioners from the various Catholic churches in Lancaster to a meeting in September of 2000. About 35 people showed up. Soon, a Board of Directors was formed and the new group calling itself Holy Family Radio had their first official meeting on May 25, 2001.

Through a decade of prayer, the Holy Spirit sent others to them, including an attorney who helped them register as a corporation, apply for their tax exempt status, and set up their mission statement and by-laws - all pro bono. The Catholic Radio Association offered much help and advice and guided HFR through the many technical avenues. Yes, God is good!

The organization met with the Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg several times over the years and was given permission to talk to the Deaneries in Lancaster and York, about the idea of a local Catholic radio station. Over time, Holy Family Radio had several false starts but the group did not give up hope and continued with its fundraising and other activities.

Finally, in November of 2010, a Lancaster County, Pennsylvania priest introduced HFR to an experienced radio broadcaster who was going through his own life changing experiences. He agreed to help find a local station to bring Catholic radio to the airwaves of Lancaster, York, and Harrisburg!

After a few months of searching, hours of negotiation, hundreds of e-mails, and a lot of prayer, in early June of 2011, an application was made with the Federal Communications Commission to transfer a 2,000 watt station, operating on the clear channel frequency of 720 AM to Holy Family Radio, Inc.

In late July of 2011, the FCC granted the request to change ownership of the station to our organization. Settlement was held less than ten days later. About three weeks after that, following a revamping of the studio, office and transmitter facilities, and station returned to the air and Catholic radio was heard locally in Central Pennsylvania.