Mandeville, LA – Stayin’ Alive On Wings And Prayers, by Mike Church
At 07:01 A.M., two years ago today, the raw strains of Ted Nugent’s “Don’t You Tread On Me” passed from a Mackie mixing console next to my broadcast counter, through another Mackie mixer that performed audio processing of the sound, then into a newly configured, Late Model 2010, Mac Pro computer. The audio was processed in the Mac through a program called MegaSeg which then passed the audio to an mp3 broadcasting program called NiceCast. Nicecast’s job was to encode the audio and relay it to another computer/server in Dallas TX that received the digital data in a program called Shoutcast, which then performed the task of relaying it to the computer of my friend Cezary Pawlec, “The Pol”, who was eagerly listening in New Jersey. The entire process process took 17 seconds meaning The Pol was on a 17 second delay.
So, at 07:01:17 a.m., November 11, 2015,in Middle Town, NJ, The CRUSADE Channel was born.
A format with an attitude in its every machination; from ditching the ubiquitous, nay mandatory, “top of the hour news-break”, to extending shows beyond their official “run-time” when good radio warranted it.
Today the process has changed and improved dramatically with the key improvement being the CRUSADE Channel is relayed to Dublin Ireland and a much more reliable and higher quality server relays it to 58 countries (at last count) around the world. The technology of the event though it is important is not what I wish to dwell on today, it is the miracles and tragedies that have occurred in between that are the real story here. The story of “The Little Channel that Could”, the pipe dream of a madman prone to fits of sinful pride, and the real-life proof that Grace exists and miracles happen. The preceding is a good start to a lengthy short story/book but in the interests of time, tonight is just the outline.
SOME THOUGHTS ON WHY THE CRUSADE CHANNEL IS DIFFERENT
When the CRUSADE Channel was launched on that fateful day, it had been in the planning stages for years. As early as 2011 I was convinced that SiriusXM was not going to renew my yearly contract and I’d be looking for work, so I began assembling the knowledge then the know-how then the equipment to do something about it: claim my intellectual property and future back from those who I willfully allowed to exploit it and go on my own.
The idea was simple: program a radio station following the format I had briefly enjoyed on SiriusXM and populate it with talented like-minded people. A format with an attitude in its every machination; from ditching the ubiquitous, nay mandatory, “top of the hour news-break”, to extending shows beyond their official “run-time” when good radio warranted it. Another innovation was to lose the constraint of thinking in absolute units of time for the station’s “imaging” and commercial elements. If a “deep voice announcer dude” bit was hysterical at 41 seconds but strained and kinda funny at the official 30 second mark, why not give the listener the additional 11 seconds of entertainment and not worry about what clock’s crave? There are many other innovations you hear on CRUSADE that are transparent and sound like they belong yet they win no Marconi Awards. That’s not an accident and the fact that they are so transparent is a testament to their being conceived through begged for Graces; Grace that was utilized in dangerously long work hours.
More on that in the book (if I ever write it).
I READ THE NEWS TODAY, OH BOY!
“If I leave them for later, they’ll get more pissed and cancel” is often my thought. This happens everyday, every show, every hour, without fail.
The point of the remainder of this missive is to give you, the rabid, loyal fan listener, the heckler and the detractor a brief insight into just how difficult yet rewarding this endeavor is. In fact, I flatter myself that I speak for many self-employed mad-men tirelessly plying their crafts: vocational independence while maintaining the ethical integrity of St Augustine is seemingly impossible yet we are willing to give God the benefit of the doubt and give it a go nonetheless. An average work day for me at the CRUSADE Channel goes like this:
03:04 a.m. – rise and shine, cup cake! Morning prayers, devotions, shower and dress.
03:45 a.m. – Fire up the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and retrieve Holy Rosary; back inside for Saint of the day reading, Ibuprofen popping, Holy Water douse, veneration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus.
03:55 a.m. – I’m off to the studio while reciting Rosary # 1.
04:20 a.m. Arrive at the studio while finishing rosary. I head inside to fire up the lights, A/C, TV’s computer monitors and make coffee.
04:30 a.m. – Show prep could begin but I have to answer member/listener mail first. 3 out of 5 days, there is a site or membership or app or stream issue I have to deal with so prep will have to wait.
04:50 a.m. – Show prep can now begin in earnest which means creating a new Pile of Prep and Veritas et Sapientia page in wordpress. Now to find some content to throw in them!
05:40 a.m. – Knowing that I have 1/5 of what I need to gab for 4 hours, I head to the powder room to put on the KingDude costume of bow-tie and vest.
05:50 a.m. – Now I am in panic after picking up what I’ve printed out thus far, it feels like 8 pages and I need 22-30! Christopher arrives.
06:00 a.m. – I’ve managed, if computers cooperate to print out 10 more pages but now I’ve another dilemma: scheduling my audio clips for the day and getting that Mackie mixer fired up and tested for airplay (I “run my own board”-always have because I enjoy audio mixing-LIVE!).
06:06 – Christopher begins counting me down to show start, real panic is now set in, “what am I going to say to start this show!?”. “Two minutes!” comes the cue, then “One minute”, then “30…15…10….5….and hit it”.
05:07 – There’s no turning back now, Ted is playing… “come up with an opening line” I exhort. You have probably heard the result.
The next 3-4 hours are a blur but the further away from Ted I am the more either fun, passionate or struggling with discouragement it is. No one can ever appreciate the challenge of looking at life-sized cardboard cutouts, glass panes and TV’s that cannot smile, wink, laugh or talk back. It is truly a Grace that I haven’t gone to the nut house (if they still have them) by now.
During the show I will receive on average 15-20 complaints, concerns, tech support queries, all of which I want to address while talking to JunkBond about today’s Reverse Deception. “If I leave them for later, they’ll get more pissed and cancel” is often my thought. This happens everyday, every show, every hour, without fail. That’s not a complaint its reality and I want people to know just how driven to satisfy you have made me because the emails are always answered, mostly (not always) with charity. Its part of being that Independent madman I wrote of above, and I am learning to be thankful for it.
By the time that show ends and Peter Gunn is playing, I’ve already game-planned what fires I must put out first and now the “real-job” part of my day can begin. It’s now a quarter ’til 10:00 a.m. and I have another 9-10 hours to look forward to so let’s get started because the countdown to lunch has also began…”yes, Popeyes in 70 minutes!” (I’ll save the rest of the day for another post if folks want me to write it).
STAYIN’ ALIVE IN TOO MUCH HEAVEN*
There are a few things I want you to know on this second birthday of the CRUSADE Channel, that might put the challenge in perspective and help explain some of my public frustrations which I am constantly praying for the Grace to overcome and suffer as reparations for other media’s, and my, on-air sins.
Twice in the last 24 months the CRUSADE Channel bank account was at or near $0.0 with no prospect of “getting a bailout”.
Three times in those 24 months I have advanced the Channel a total of $45k to keep the broadcasts going. (But hey, if I won’t invest in the project, why should anyone else!?)
Ten times in those 24 months in addition to the advances, Mittus Church and I lived off savings wings and prayers.
I’ve made two awful errors in judgement when it came to sub contracting & labor, costing a total of what I consider $35k poured into the LaBreia Tar Pits.
We’ve had to replace almost $10k in broadcasting equipment to remain sounding professional and 24/7.
Yet, here I am am, Stayin’ Alive surrounded by a marvelous cast of über talented people, phenomenal core audience of dear friends and more drive to get this thing stabilized and open to help grow the vocations of anyone with the zeal,guts and talent to make broadcasting as we do it their vocation. “But Mitter Chur,” you ask “isn’t there some reward for all the work!?” Well yes, there is, occasionally I get paid but paid or not I’m always paid with love. Since we began in Nov 2015, I have received the personal conversion stories of more than 20 listener/members. By conversion I mean either conversion to the Roman Catholic Church and reversion to the Church from lukewarm or outright renouncement.
Many of you have heard these stories broadcast on the CRUSADE Channel in fact, there was one on Monday’s show! Then there is this reward. Meet little Lillie Ann, a child born on Friday last at 1 pound 1 ounce. Why is that significant? Well, Lillie’s grandpa, Paul, wrote me on Friday last apprising me of the 26 week c-section his daughter was to undergo and asking me for prayers. I immediately prayed to St Anthony of Padua and St Catherine of Sienna for the child and mother’s health and wrote Paul back to assure him of the effort. On Tuesday Paul called the show to tell the good news: the baby survived and was named Lillie Anne! Here are photos Paul sent of Lillie just today.
There are many other stories I could tell of CRUSADE Channel intercessions but if I did, busy body SET loving brown-shirts would rat me out to my bishop, demand an inquest and force me to stop using the “C word” publicly. It is joyful enough for me to relay this event and abstract tales of conversions though I take no credit other than what I tell callers to the CRUSADE Channel radio show with the stories: “the Holy Ghost did that brother [sistah], the only thing I did was not say ‘no’ to being a go-between”.
The Secret To Success
None of what I’ve written here is intended as sour grapes or a “pity party for one…pity party for one!” Instead I hope it inspires some of you to choose your own vocations over the rotten paradigm that is the heresy of ‘Muricanism. You can do it and I am living proof that you can and here’s how I’ve done it.
Daily, ritual prayer and most of that is spent, praying for others.
Mortifications wherever you can find them; offering them for specific sin avoidance, vices etc.
Choosing patron saints and sticking with them regardless of the vicissitude of the moment. The CRUSADE Channel’s patron Saints are:
Saint Pius X (read our novena to Pius & St Joseph here)
Saint Luke The Apostle (we have a 1st class relic of his in the studio!)
NEVER turning away anyone who seeks the CRUSADE Channel as an outlet and that is my official policy (within our ethical vows). How can I expect strangers to give me a shot if I won’t give strangers a shot?
None of what I’ve written here is sour grapes or a “pity party for one…pity party for one!” Instead I hope it inspires some of you to choose your own vocations over the rotten paradigm that is the heresy of ‘Muricanism.
Learning to treat co-working brothers [sistahs] in arms, listeners and members as brothers and sisters instead of as “customers”, The fatal flaw of capitalism is in not seeing the eternal nature of every soul and treating it with appropriate dignity, humility and charity. Put another way, what will we think of each other when there are no dollar bills to be spent, no deadlines and no material distractions?
Lastly, frequently reminding myself through little ejaculatory prayers that “God’s in charge and he knows what he’s doing”. There are just some things that we cannot fix despite our will and heroic efforts. Things that have to be left to providence and His will and I’m not afraid to say that…often. If that means facing the prospect of stocking shelves at the local grocery or building websites to pay the mortgage, so be it. “For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?” Little prayers like these.
“Deus, in adjutorium meum intende; Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.” O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me. (Psalm 69)
With sighs and tears, continually say:
Miserere mei! qui plasmasti me!
‘Have mercy on me, Thou who formedst me!’ – Abbott Paphnucius
It would be impossible for me to name how many thousands of times these little ejaculatory prayers are said around the studio or to and from it but I do know this: they sustain a man (or woman!) with calm which then allows my zeal to return.
I do not wish to try your patience any longer and would like to say thank you for the best two years of my vocational life, now that I actually have one.
With much love and gratitude,
*Yes, I lifted this line from the title of an interview with the Bee Gees that appeared in Rolling Stone in 1979. Now, Rand Paul’s “plagiarist” charging enemies must find actual work to do for now. – MC
Mike Church is the founder of the Veritas Radio Network & The CRUSADE Channel. He is also the channel’s morning show host and has worked in the talk radio business since 1992. Listen to the Mike Church Show every weekday morning from 06:00 11:00 a.m. at CRUSADEChannel.com