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 | Staff Report

Spreading God's Word through Radio Ministry

April 18, 2023 | For nearly four decades, WBVM Spirit FM 90.5 has shared the Good News of Jesus Christ across West Central Florida.

It all began in the 1980s when the Tampa-St. Petersburg area saw an influx of older individuals moving in to retire. Former Bishop W. Thomas Larkin recognized the need to bring the Mass to the faithful who were homebound or unable to attend. That’s when he launched the new radio ministry.

Spirit FM has grown and is now reaching over 65 thousand listeners weekly in its local listening area and hundreds more online from around the world.

Since its launch, the public has been able to listen to the station thanks to generous donations. Over the last 37 years, costs have increased and the demand for high quality programming and production is essential to attract and keep listeners tuned-in, especially in light of competition from satellite radio, podcasts, web-based music, and more.

"The Diocese believes evangelization using all communication tools is vital to the growth of the Church and for the faithful in their walk," said John Morris, Spirit FM Station Manager

Each Spring, Spirit FM invites listeners to financially support Spirit FM with a contribution during their fundraiser called "Spread the Word".

“Spread the Word was started in 2003 to help fund billboard and promotional efforts for the station,” said Morris. “Over time the spring fundraiser has become a necessity to aid in our operating budget.”

Listeners are encouraged to make a one-time or monthly pledge, or as they call it, a “sustaining gift” to help keep the station going. Spread the Word is a five-day fundraiser which begins Monday, April 17, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. and ends Friday, April 21 at 7:00pm.  

The station's fundraising goal is $225,000. 

“This money makes up about twenty five percent of our budget,” said Morris. “The remaining part of the budget is made up of the fall fundraiser, 'Hopesgiving' and the December fundraiser, 'Thrill of Hope."  

Spirit FM is also supported by business sponsors, called underwriters, that receive on air recognition for their support. The station operates on a budget of just over $1 million per year. The Catholic Ministry Appeal also contributes to the operating budget of Spirit FM.

“I am so thankful to the Lord for waking me up, allowing me to breathe and putting a desire to give to His work in my heart! I can’t tell you what an impact your station has had on my life and those in my life. Thank you for doing what you do! Please keep my family lifted in prayer!” said listener Susan from Bradenton.  

Listeners can donate to the campaign by visiting and clicking the donate button. They can also call in their gift at 1-800-223-9286.