Pendletons 1James (JP) Pendleton hosts the local Gallatin Valley Catholic radio show in Bozeman, Montana alongside his wife, Mary, who produces the show.  It is heard on King of Kings (KOFK) which provides the Relevant Radio broadcast to the local area.  He has been married to Mary for twelve years and they have been blessed with Christopher (10) and Katie (7).  JP has another son from a previous marriage, Rob (21), who also lives in the area.

How did your show, Gallatin Valley Catholic, come about?  How have you been able to reach people and share the message of Christ?

As I say this, we have just put on the air the one-year anniversary show and begun our second season of Gallatin Valley Catholic.  We air on KOFK 98.3FM low power in Bozeman and also heard online at gallatinvalleycatholic.org.  We have 24 shows under our belt and they are all available online as a podcast.  The shows themselves are a half an hour long and it runs four times a week.  I try to do a new one every two weeks or so, but fundraising drives and special programming from Relevant Radio might throw that off.

I love radio and the medium itself is something I missed.  If I could support my family working in radio, I would, but right now it just isn’t in the cards.  The genesis of Gallatin Valley Catholic came from my love of radio and in trying to be supportive of the local Catholic radio station, KOFK.  The idea was bounced around with a couple of my Knights friends and it finally came to me that this was something that I could do; radio is something I love and it is, thanks be to God, a talent that was given to me.  I don’t want to sound like I am some sort of amazing broadcaster, but none-the-less it is still something I am good at and that I enjoy.  I have been in radio at least half my career, so this is something that I can give back to our faith and use as my medium for evangelizing.

I think our Catholic faith is on a resurgence and people are embracing it more and more; they are realizing that there are many benefits to having a deep foundation of faith.  I personally want to encourage Catholics who are on their sabbatical to come back to the faith and realize that it is vibrant, it is positive, it is uplifting, and there are people within these communities that will welcome them and love them.  I say that because that is what we felt when we came to St. John Vianney.  Gallatin Valley Catholic has been a way for me to share that message.

To be honest with you, I did not absorb the catechism I received as a young man, so the show is honestly a bit self-interested because it is really a chance for me to learn and to grow in my own faith.  If I can take some other people with me for the ride, then fantastic!  My attempt to better understand the faith is where I’ve drawn a lot of the inspiration for the shows over the past year.  I try to focus on things that I find interesting, because if I’m interested, I’ll ask good questions which makes the show better for listeners.

I have worked on things like the importance of the sacraments and how they interact with one another.  I’ve been able to focus on sacraments that people might not normally be familiar with. For example, in order to do a show on Holy Orders, I went to the ordination Mass in Helena; it was inspirational!  It was something that I had never experienced before and I was able to share part of that with our listeners.  I have had a chance to speak to the parish priests here in the valley and in neighboring communities; I’ve been able to interview some seminarians and our local deacons as well.  I had an incredible opportunity and conversation with our bishop, Bishop Thomas, when I got 90 minutes of face-time for a two part interview.

I’ve had the opportunity to focus on good community organizations as well whether or not they are Catholic.  The work they are doing is something we as Catholics can involve ourselves with and know that through it, we are doing the work of Christ.  They do great work in our community and they truly are acting as the hands, the mouth, and the feet of Christ as they try to help people who are in genuine spiritual and physical need.

How did you get into radio broadcasting?

I was born and raised in Anchorage Alaska, and I started my broadcast career when I was in High School working weekends at a local AM/FM radio station.  That was my job in high school; some people work at grocery stores/ paperwork, mine was working weekends running a radio station as a board operator.  This was before automation had really caught on so I would monitor the program to make sure the transmitter was operating properly, make sure the commercials got played on time, and play the station ID.  It was the job of the board operator to basically keep things moving smoothly.

It set a bug for me and I ended up continuing down the path of producing.  I acted in a news capacity as a news reporter and I would actually be on the air as a correspondent or the host for the morning show.  This was all while I was either still in or fresh out of high school.  I enjoyed it, but I had reached as far as I was going to get at that particular radio station so when I was twenty, I moved down to Billings, Montana to hang out with my best friend who was going to college there.  I went for the summer and never left.  I got a job working at a radio station there and ended up managing the station until 1999.  I worked in sports marketing after that and then ended up doing political communications for U.S. Senator Conrad Burns.  I’ve worked a number of different facets over these thirty years, but I have a specialty in radio broadcasting as it was something that always intrigued me.