NORMAN — Six years ago when Deacon Larry Sousa met Jeff Finnell, they quickly discovered that both had the common idea of starting a Catholic radio station somewhere in the Oklahoma City area.
“We were told that the cost would be nearly $1 million to start. Someone once asked me, ‘Just how do you think that you are going to accomplish this?’ I replied, ‘Well, with the help of God and his people, I think we can do it. If God wants it, it will be done. After all, if a little old nun from Irondale, Ala., can put together a worldwide radio and television network (EWTN), surely we can do something,’” Sousa said.
And, almost four years ago, Oklahoma Catholic Broadcasting was given an opportunity to apply for a license to build an FM station in the Lawton area.
“We had three years to appeal for support, build and go on the air. At the 11th hour, with no time to spare, we pushed the button at midnight in a little building next to a radio tower located on the land of a generous farmer in Walters, Okla. KOEG, 88.3 FM in Lawton was born,” Sousa said.
But Sousa and Finnell’s dream didn’t stop there. A few weeks ago another Catholic radio station, KIOP, was born in Prague.
“It certainly reinforces my faith that nothing is impossible with God. I have learned that following his direction is like approaching each intersection on a highway. You have a green, yellow and red light. You act from what you see. We have experienced all of those signals and the green lights keep coming,” Sousa said.
It is the hope of those involved in Oklahoma Catholic Broadcasting to access two stations in Eastern Oklahoma, which will enable broadcasts to reach the Tulsa area.
Sousa adds that about 2 million people now have access to KOEG-Lawton and KIOP-Prague. Both stations will broadcast on a 24 hour schedule.
“Actually Prague was not our choice, it was the Federal Communications Commission that made the offer,” Sousa, a Norman resident, said. “However, if you wish to consider the Divine plan, the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague is located there, thus KIOP — King, Infant Jesus of Prague.
Sousa also has a weekly radio program with Norman resident Fred Pope. The program, “Good News, Sunday,” is a preview of the upcoming Sunday scriptures which is broadcast on Thursdays and Fridays at 3:30 p.m. on KTLR 890 AM and 94.1 FM.
“Over the past six years we have expanded Catholic broadcast hours from a meager start of a couple of hours per week to our current 18 hours per day plus the Sunday Mass which we broadcast from St. Marks in Norman,” Sousa said.