By Leigh Geramanis Arnold
For The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — “If you build it, they will come…” That famous line from the iconic movie Field of Dreams could apply to a small, local Catholic radio station. “It is an amazing tool for evangelization and growing Catholics in their faith,” says Brian Porter, president and founder of KTJT-LP.
The station, whose call letters represent the two thieves crucified alongside Jesus, is a low-power station licensed in Davenport and broadcast on 95.3 FM and 103.1 FM. KTJT-LP carries programming from Relevant Radio, a Catholic radio network based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with more than 186 member stations nationwide, including low-power stations in DeWitt, Clinton, Muscatine and Burlington. Relevant Radio airs a variety of talk shows and interviews and offers listeners frequent opportunities to call in and ask questions regarding the Catholic faith. Most, but not all of its listeners are Catholic.
Deacon John Weber of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf is one of KTJT’s listeners. “I usually have it on in the car. It’s a very well done, professional program.” Deacon Weber says the station meets a crucial need. “Ongoing teaching like Relevant strengthens our faith and teaches us to defend it in a society that has become increasingly hostile to Catholics…. Weak understanding leads to weak faith, which leads to people falling away.”
KTJT-LP signed on in 2006, about three years after Porter began praying about bringing the station to the Quad Cities. The first germ of an idea for the station came during renovation of an old house he and his wife purchased early in their marriage. During one of many nights doing repairs, he listened to a Catholic network he discovered on a portable short-wave radio: Relevant Radio. Porter was young in his Catholic faith and hungry to learn more. He said the station provided thought-provoking teaching and insight, which he craved. He thought many other
Catholics could benefit from such on-air programming. Though he was unsure how to proceed, “The Holy Spirit would constantly put the right people in my path at the right time,” he said. “They would seemingly come from nowhere.”
At first, the station was picked up by a sliver of the Quad-Cities from a tower built in a west Davenport trailer park. Today, on a clear day, listeners can hear the signal throughout the Quad Cities. However, board members say the station has experienced worsening signal issues with its present tower location and equipment. Every day, sometimes several times a day, atmospheric interference allows other radio signals to bleed into KTJT’s frequency. In 2019, the KTJT board took a leap of faith and began the process of building a new tower to provide a stronger, more reliable signal. For Porter, the process has amounted to an unpaid part-time side job: coordinating with engineers, the City of Davenport, the Davenport Diocese and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
This fall, years of labor will bear fruit when supporters break ground next to Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. KTJT-LP is raising funds for the new tower through on-air messaging. The station is financially supported through program sponsors, quarterly fundraising and direct donations, Porter said.
In the meantime, KTJT-LP plans to incorporate more locally produced elements into broadcasts as the station works to become a more reliable messenger of faith, hope, inspiration and connection for the Quad-Cities Catholic community.
For more information about KTJT-LP, contact John Oliger at (563) 676-7956.