It was a sign from heaven. Actually, it was two signs from heaven, which convinced a New York stranger to locate a new Catholic radio station in Alexandria 14 years ago. At the intersection of Radio Road and Bayou Maria in rural Pineville, where an old radio tower was up for sale, that New Yorker made the decision to start the first English-speaking Radio Maria station in the United States. The stranger was a representative of the World Family of Radio Maria, and was traveling from New York to Houston in search of a radio station that could be purchased as a Radio Maria station. During his long drive, he felt compelled to stop in Alexandria, where he attended the noon Mass at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.
After Mass, a local parishioner, Art Visconte, stopped to talk to the stranger in the Cathedral. After learning of his quest for a radio station to purchase, Visconte led him to a radio tower located in rural Pineville that was up for sale. Upon seeing that the tower was located on the corner of Radio Road and Bayou Maria, the signs seemed providential, so Alexandria became the site of the new Radio Maria station. On May 25, 2000, the first broadcast of Radio Maria on KJMJ 580 AM was made from the small studio on Washington Street in Alexandria. Since that first broadcast, Radio Maria has added nine other frequencies in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania.
Radio Maria is part of the World Family of Radio Maria, the largest radio network in the world. It includes stations in 64 countries and is broadcast in 15 different languages. It can be heard on the Internet at www.radiomaria.us, and a mobile app is available for Blackberry, Android and iPhone users. Broadcasting 24/7, the programming consists of prayer, catechism, and human development. The Mass is celebrated daily at 8:00am, with the Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy prayed three times a day.
Radio Maria is listener-supported and operated by volunteers.