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Apex Serves Defenders of the Faith

Managers of Catholic LPFM in West Virginia get a helping hand from Arrakis automation

Radio World Buyer’s Guide articles are intended to help readers understand why their colleagues chose particular products to solve various technical situations. This month’s articles focus on automation, traffic and billing.

Theresa Messersmith

In 1987, some parishioners in West Virginia got together as an informal group intended to provide feedback to their local Catholic parish. By 1998 they incorporated as a nonprofit, Defenders of the Faith, serving their community in many ways.

In 2002, when the FCC began allowing non-profits to establish low-power FM stations, they were inspired to expand their mission of service to include Defenders of the Faith WDTF(LP) on 107.9 in Berkeley Springs and Splendor of Truth, a translator in Hancock. Subsequently the founders stepped aside and transitioned the management of these stations to Arlin and Theresa Messersmith. 

“I have no background in radio or computers. I had no idea what I was doing,” said Theresa Messersmith. She did know that they wanted to do more to grow their mission and that they needed to upgrade their equipment and step up their programming to reach more people. 

Messersmith said she consulted with fellow Christians who are “radio people” and they pointed her to Arrakis Systems and its Apex Plus Automation System.

The stations broadcast Catholic satellite programming such as EWTN (Eternal Word TV Network). Messersmith said adding the Apex source switcher into the broadcast chain “was straightforward, the installation and setup of the Apex Automation PC and switch over to Apex Automation software was seamless.”

The stations later added Relevant Radio programming, and Messersmith has more ambitions. 

“Apex does what we need it to do now, but I know it can do so much more and we want to do all of it. We want to get more local content, more local artists, more new artists from around the Christian world as well as to bring in new programming. We want to go out to music festivals and events, do interviews with leaders in the Church and in our community, bring the good word of God to as many as we can as we spread His spirit far and wide.”

She finds it useful to be able to network the two stations together in order to schedule, record tracks and manage audio from a centralized location, including from home. 

“I’ve created fully automated music segments using audio I’ve imported into an audio library I created.” She said she now understands how satellite programming works and is actively working with artists to bring in new content, as well as uplifting and educational programs from the church community. 

“What does God have in store for us? Well, sometimes we never know. I never thought I would have two Christian radio stations.”

[Read More Buyers Guide Reviews Here]