The Next Generation of Catholic Radio

Meet Matthew Handley, a 20-year-old university student at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In his free time, while studying Theology and Political Science with a minor in Catholic Studies, Handley also runs a radio station.

“I’ve always been interested in radio. To me, it was an opportunity to get my foot in the door with the local Catholic radio station. The spiritual stuff came later,” said Handley. What started out as a weekly podcast with some friends has turned into a growing ministry of young Catholics reaching other young adults through mediums they know and use.

Handley serves as the Executive Director of EPIC (Every Person in Christ) Radio and General Manager of 103.5 FM WFNE, a Relevant Radio® affiliate station in Wake Forest, North Carolina (near his hometown). What makes EPIC different from any other Catholic radio station you’ve heard of? The entirety of the board and all of the volunteers are under the age of 30. “We are all very excited and care a lot about our faith,” says Handley.

According to Handley, the team at EPIC Radio views their new station as a “good opportunity for us and for the Church to create content that is geared toward a younger audience.” They’ve worked hard at fundraising in order to purchase the FM station from Divine Mercy Radio, who owns an AM station in the area.

For Matthew, making radio a part of their ministry was a no-brainer. “Radio is the only medium that reaches every demographic. When people get in their cars, they turn on the radio,” he says.

He spoke about the importance of radio in a recent blog post, saying, “Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that radio isn’t important. How can it not be important when ninety-three percent of people listen to the radio? How can that not be a powerful tool? Those of us running radio have to keep that in mind; with great power comes great responsibility as the old saying goes, so we have to keep in touch with our mission. At EPIC Radio that is to seek the truth and have the passion to live it out.”

EPIC Radio chose to become a Relevant Radio affiliate for 103.5 FM and began broadcasting in July 2019. “I started listening to it and I began to realize that the programming on Relevant Radio was more conducive to non-Catholics tuning in than the programming [from other Catholic networks]. It’s a competitor to other non-Catholic talk radio in the area,” said Handley. Programs like The Patrick Madrid Show and The Drew Mariani ShowTM, he explained, could be a great way to reach non-Catholic students at the nearby Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The EPIC Radio board agreed that Relevant Radio programming was the most interesting and thought-provoking option.

In addition to serving as Executive Director, Handley is the host of Last Week with Matthew Handley, a weekly program heard on 103.5 FM in Wake Forest.

It’s great to see that the future of Catholic radio is in good hands with these ambitious and enthusiastic young Catholics!

See a full list of Relevant Radio affiliate stations here.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.