Sunday, September 18, 2005

Radio Angst

I've been doing a local Orthodox radio show every Sunday afternoon for almost 7 years. A local priest started it and I was a guest on his show when a group of us converted. After the show he asked if I would do the show every other week to give him a break. I ended up doing it about 48 weeks a year. His parish dropped their support a year ago and I found some priests who said they'd take up the pastoral direction and a part of the financial support, I'd have to raise the rest. We signed a contract, and seamlessly began a new program which was more in line with the vision I originally had for it. We put up a new website and the show took off beyond our wildest hopes.

That began the worst year of my life in Orthodoxy. There is no way to blog all that has happened without scandalizing someone, so I won't.

My Bishop who is aware of all of the wierdness and has been in the middle of some of it says ignore it all...if you weren't doing something no one would talk about you, keep focussed, don't quit. Its hard. But, I was trained for this when I was the ministry in the church of Christ. I recall an elder's meeting where the Youth Minister and I asked for a cost of living raise once. Elder J.D. looked at us and said, "Everyone knows preachers are a necessary evil, we have to hire you because we couldn't have a church without ya'll. But everyone knows the only reason someone is a preacher is they can't do anything else and make a real living. So you are lucky to be getting what you are getting." That was just one meeting. I took almost 20 years of that kind of stuff from him. So, yeah, I came into Orthodoxy with a thick callous. I have a high tolerance for pain when it comes to doing what I believe in. The only thing I can honestly say is I did everything I have done with blessings from priests and bishops and with spiritual guidance and advice. I've been obedient. All else is in the hands of God.

The upshot of the past 13 months for the purpose of this post is merely this: we couldn't raise enough money to keep the radio show on the air locally. By the time our contract was coming due to be renewed we were over 4,000.00 in arrears and counting to the tune of 325.00 a week. I just couldn't keep up with keeping the show afloat on my own any more. (My court thing with my business ended up costing me over 7,000. so far.) So after 7 years, I decided to call it quits...locally. That was a hard decision. But the facts were we had little local support and a lot of controversy, the website has grown exponentially, and we just can't seem to pick winning numbers in the Lotto... :)

Through the extreme generosity of our internet listeners and a local person, we've been able to pay off our debt. That allowed me to buy a small studio set up to put in my basement office and begin recording programs for our program website, and for Ancient Faith Radio and Incarnation Broadcast Network

So, we're still "on the air". Now I have this studio and new software and I have to learn how to use it all in my spare time. I'm a tech-dunce. So we're going to record, and as I figure it out the quality of production might get better, but for now its just two guys in my basement talking about stuff into a microphone. Not elegant, not broadcast quality, but its a new beginning.


jessenicholas said...

Since you seem to have such a large reading audience, why not ask for help setting up the podcast?

s-p said...

Yep. On the list of things to do. We're looking at rebuilding the website completely, but Bill is setting up a website for St. Paisius Monastery right now so that is keeping him busy. We don't want to add a bunch of stuff then have to undo and re-do it. Bill knows more about that than I do.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I know how frustrated you must be to lose your show - however, I came to your show via the archives - I live in Cincinnati and never heard the show locally, always through the archives - which I downloaded and listened to at least 4 times each!!! I am new to Orthodoxy and partly because of your show I am pursuing conversion as we speak.

Also, because of your blog I started my own which helps me express what I'm finding in my pilgrimage through life.

I have a lot to thank you for. Please keep doing the show and distributing them via the web. They help me more than you may know.


Mimi said...

I very much enjoy your radio show (I download the audio archives) - I'm sorry to hear about your loss.

However, I think that broadcasting from the basement sounds like a good thing.

Prayers, S-P

TracysTribe3 said...


I love your radio show and am glad that you will still be on the Internet!

I wanted to let you know that I sent $500 for your show on Sept 8. The last time I sent some money I got an email about it. I'm definitely not looking for acknowledgement in any way - I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the donation and that it got to you one way or the other.

Anyway - you don't need to research it or get back to me - just wanted to let you know it was sent.

Keep up the great work!!!!

s-p said...

Hi Tracy,
Thank you for your kind words and your incredible generosity. The person who handles all of our internet website "business" and the fundraiser is in the National Guard and has been out of State at various emergency situations (he's in N'awlins right now doing hazmat cleanup), and has not had web access to check on the contributions lately. has been such a blessing to receive such a pouring out of support for the program. I got hit with a big frivilous lawsuit in my construction business recently and it decimated my ability to support the show out of my pocket.
(My lawyer said I would win in court but it would be cheaper to pay the guy off than fight it...sigh....)
Anyway, I was losing sleep over the arrears and contract, but thank God our internet listeners came through and we are paid up. That freed me to purchase some studio equipment and a new catechumen who is a singer donated some of his equipment and a microphone to us. So, with the blessing and advice of a lot of priests and media people we're going to pour our efforts into internet radio and website programming. We still have equipment to buy but with the bare bones set up we have we can at least keep going for now. I paid off my adversary 3 weeks ago and now I can focus on the future. I'll check with Derek and see if I can access the paypal account and get an update.

olympiada said...

Hi Sp. I was thinking about you this morning, about your struggles with court and debt and how we share that. I would appreciate a post on court and on debt if you have it in you...As you know I am marching towards divorce court and my decision to divorce caused me to go into debt since I decided to pay off my husband's debt with his money. He took half of the money out of our joint account after I paid off his debt and caused my account to go $900 in debt. So...I know debt, once again, because I wanted my financial freedom. How ironic...