Local couple brings Catholic radio to Cove area
By LYNETTE SOWELL
KOOV, a longtime radio station in Copperas Cove, retains its Copperas Cove ties with the new sounds of Armor of God Catholic Radio.
The nonprofit station was started earlier this year, but had it seeds sown at least five years ago, according to station co-founders Tom and Anne Marie McNew. Tom, executive director of the station, is currently active duty military, having served 26 years in the Army and is set to retire next spring. Anne Marie, secretary/treasurer of the board, runs her own graphic design business.
The McNews said Catholic radio in Central Texas was something that had been on their hearts for at least five years. While Tom was stationed at the Pentagon, Anne Marie said they began listening to Guadalupe Radio in that area.
“We just got hooked listening to it. Previously, before we started listening to Catholic radio when we moved out to D.C., we were cafeteria Catholics,” Anne Marie said. “We went whenever it fit into our schedule, and we weren’t really living our faith.
“Through the radio and listening and being re-catechized, we were searching for a way to learn more about our faith.”
Things began to fall into place gradually after returning to Fort Hood in 2014. They attended the EWTN family celebration in Birmingham, Ala., followed by attending a Catholic radio conference in November 2014. All they knew at that time was, there wasn’t Catholic radio in the immediate area and they wanted it here, because it had really changed their lives for the better.
Then the McNews learned about the possibility of purchasing KOOV and 106.9, then everything “snowballed,” said Anne Marie.
In January 2018, they were under contract to purchase KOOV, applied for Armor of God 501c status, and started fundraising with parish presentations at both Holy Family in Copperas Cove and at Christ the King in Belton, as well as at St. Mary’s in Lampasas and Elizabeth Anne Seton on Fort Hood.
Initially, Anne Marie said they contemplated changing the station’s call letters, but they recognized the significance and history of the call letters with Copperas Cove and decided to keep KOOV.
“It ties the station to the community,” Tom said.
Anne Marie said they also received letters of support from both the military archdiocese and the bishop of Austin. The station is 100 percent donor supported, said the McNews, who also funded the station, as did one of their board members.
On June 30, the McNews along with the rest of the Armor of God radio board held a blessing at their transmitter site, with Father Patrick Ebner of Holy Family Catholic Church giving the blessing. Ebner also serves on the Armor of God board as spiritual director.
As far as programming goes, Armor of God Catholic Radio has a mixture of EWTN programming, the global Catholic network, with shows for men, women, mothers, and young adults. There’s also a weeknight show that focuses on political issues and how they relate to Catholics.
Anne Marie said there is also programming in Spanish during the day, weekend shows tailored for teens, as well as a nightly replay of the Diocesan Mass, recorded at a chapel in Austin.
As for the Spanish programming, Anne Marie said the Spanish-speaking listeners love it, and appreciate hearing it in their native tongue .
“A lady stopped us in church, and said the richness that they get from their own language doesn’t always communicate when it gets translated. They’re enlightened by it,” Tom said.
Another multicultural element they’d like to bring is having local parishioners record prayers in Korean, and also have announcements in Spanish during those programming slots.
So far, they’ve had positive feedback from listeners.
“You get the gambit, but by and large, everyone is loving the calm voice of reason. So often on talk radio, it’s people screaming at you,” Tom said. “What we’re giving people is that soul-searching message of hope. The response has been very overwhelming.
“Our immediate goal is to make this more of a community, central Texas, local endeavor, along the 190 – I-14 corridor, from Belton to Lampasas to Lometa.
Armor of God radio reaches all the way to Temple – mile marker 307, said Tom – and as far north as McGregor, as far west as Lometa, and as far south as Liberty Hill at the intersection of Highways 183 and 29, and to the Sun City and Florence areas.
The area encompasses about 350,000 potential listeners, with about one-fourth of them identifying as Catholic, according to Tom.
“We call ourselves a Catholic radio station, but our target audience is the 350,000 who live within our coverage area. We would love it if everyone listened to us because of the beauty of our programming.
“Our fundraising efforts are slow but steady. We are still looking for businesses to do underwriting, and also looking for matching donors for parish pledge talks.”
The two said they’d like to expand to offer local church news on what’s going on local parishes, and eventually have the ability to get the equipment to do remote live broadcasting at church community events, fall festivals, and events like the annual Walk For Life.
The programming schedule for Armor of God, as well as more information about the station, can be found at https://armorofgodradio.com.