One was raised Catholic and spent time in the seminary while the other is a convert to the faith. Steve and Becky Greene, known to their radio fans as “The Cradle and the Convert” through their popular program The Catholic Conversation, have been delving into the joys and challenges of Catholic family life for the last seven years on the radio.
Now, change is in the air.
Relevant Radio, which broadcasts to 180 stations across the United States, including 1310 AM in Phoenix, has informed the Diocese of Phoenix that it will no longer carry The Catholic Conversation after Sept. 26.
“I’m confident that they’ll continue to have a great listening audience with the podcast,” Ellis said. “Their numbers have grown consistently, year over year.”
Listeners stand to benefit from the show moving to a podcast-only format, as the medium allows people to subscribe and download episodes of shows at their convenience. A podcast episode can be downloaded or streamed from directories, like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and listened to on an iPhone, computer or other smart device. The convenience factor is a large part of the growing popularity in podcasting.
Although she’s disappointed that listeners won’t be able to tune into the program on radio anymore, she sees a bright future for The Catholic Conversation.
“There’s a certain way that things need to be done for radio, and with podcasts, it’s kind of freeing. Steve and Becky, I think, will flourish with that freedom, not having the time constraints,” Ellis said.
The lighthearted, witty repartee between spouses, Ellis said, makes the lessons of Catholic marriage and family life presented on the show highly relatable to listeners.
“I think oftentimes when we look at super-edited Catholic programming, it can feel inaccessible to the average person. We’re all sinners and we’re all imperfect and we’re all just living this messy life the best way that we can.”
It’s a sentiment the Greenes wholeheartedly embrace.
“We want people to know we are just like them,” Becky said. “We are navigating this life of raising a Catholic family with all of our quirks and shortcomings and failings and all the different things that play into the dynamic of a family, and we’re doing it to the best of our ability through God’s grace.”
Most of their listeners, she said, are parents who are trying to do the same thing. They’re “trying to live out raising their children in a holy way, but it’s messy. We want to be honest and real about it.”
Steve said they’ve had “a lot of good feedback from listeners and guests on the format” of the show in which the couple sits down with one guest and has an in-depth conversation. Their role as hosts, he said, is “introducing our listeners to some of the great Catholics thinkers, writers, speakers and authors that exist out there that really teach and present the faith with a lot of wit and wisdom and clarity and profundity.” Those guests include high-profile personalities like Abby Johnson, George Weigel and Peter Kreeft
Ellis said The Catholic Conversation averages 5,000 to 7,000 downloads per month and her goal is to get it to 10,000. Will the Greenes be as successful as podcast sensation Jordan Peterson?
“From your lips to God’s ears,” Steve quipped.
Christine Dupont, development director for Relevant Radio, said that nationally, the Catholic radio network’s listenership has grown 20 percent since February. Relevant Radio has 1.3 million online listeners as well. The cutback in local programming, she said, is part of a streamlining process that will also include fewer commercials.