Defying the odds against success, the world's largest producer of original English-language Catholic radio programming, Ave Maria Radio, is celebrating its 15th anniversary.
“Our Lady is surely pleased to lend her name to such a great mission!” EWTN Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Doug Keck said in light of the anniversary.
Keck said he and everyone at EWTN want to congratulate the “faith-filled professionals” of Ave Maria Radio for their “'Fiat' to the work of Catholic media evangelization.
In 1997, Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers, took up an offer of free radio programming from EWTN founder Mother Angelica for any Catholic radio station.
“At that time, the landscape of Catholic radio was like a barren desert,” Ave Maria said in an Aug. 22 statement.
Since then, Ave Maria Radio has grown to the 20 different titles, including three live programs that air weekly on EWTN's global Catholic radio network's nearly 200 stations.
Additionally, the radio programmer now offers streaming internet audio as well as Android and iPhone apps.
Hard times struck the broadcasting company in the winter of 2002 when manager Al Kresta was attacked by a flesh-eating virus.
Though the virus was life-threatening and required the amputation of his left leg, Kresta offered up his illness for Ave Maria Radio and said the experience brought him closer to God.
After a six-month recovery period, he returned as President and CEO of Ave Maria Radio, where he now hosts the nationally syndicated “Kresta in the Afternoon” show.