A podcast network that is “as challenging, strange and beautiful as the faith which inspired it” is finding a foothold among Catholic-media consumers.
Breadbox Media is a ground-level apostolate that communicates the faith in cultural, topical and conversational podcasts, satiating an audience hungry for unfiltered and refreshing Catholic content.
Casting a reverent reference to the tabernacle and the monstrance with its name, Breadbox Media transfers the Catholic faith via downloadable podcasts that listeners can stream to their desktops, laptops or mobile devices, and can do so free of charge.
The network was launched in October 2015 in Lexington, Ky., by Leo Brown, a 25-year media veteran who spent 12 years in Catholic radio. He developed Breadbox Media as an alternative to traditional catechesis and apologetics that would appeal to a broader audience.
“We want our programming to be accessible. We’re going for a relational, topical and cultural approach to programs and topics,” Mr. Brown told The Catholic Witness. “This is both broad and deep, but it’s not over anyone’s head.”
The efforts of the network are now being welcomed in the Diocese of Harrisburg.
Breadbox Media has amassed a growing team of more than a dozen podcasters from across the country who explore the full gamut of topics relevant to the Catholic Church from a variety of perspectives. Among them:
- The “cathovist” podcast by Mr. Brown examines ways to put faith to work through social responsibility, a commitment to human dignity and political action.
- “Connecting the Dots” by Mark Shea is an around-the-watercooler type of show that discusses everything from cinema to current events and holidays as it examines the world through the eyes of the Catholic faith.
- “The Whaley Show” by Andrew Whaley, founder of the Calix apostolate, features discussion on everything from philosophy and theology to art and business, with a complement of edgy humor and intellectual speculation.
- Rebecca Bratten Weiss and Matthew Tyson team up for “The Co-Op,” the official podcast of The New Pro-Life Movement, as they look at issues related to life, liberty and the pursuit of justice.
A member of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in New Oxford, Pete Socks, a.k.a. “The Catholic Book Blogger,” is also part of the podcast network, with his show, “Off the Shelf.” In it, he shares book reviews and author interviews as he continues to explore the riches of the Catholic faith.
He told The Catholic Witness that the purpose of his particular podcast is to “bring people’s attention to the fact that there is good Catholic material that will help them grow in the faith.”
As someone who entered the Church as an adult, Catholic books re-ignited in him a passion for the faith a few years after he converted.
“I want to share that experience with others,” Mr. Socks said. “There is so much to explore, that you can’t ever know everything about the Catholic faith. There are 2,000 years of history to work through.”
Mr. Socks was named Managing Partner at Breadbox Media last month. His responsibilities include bringing in new podcasts to increase overall offerings.
Late last month, he announced that the following shows will be joining Breadbox Media:
- “All Things Are Possible with God,” hosted by John Michael Talbot
- “Catholic Answers Live” daily podcast
- “The Bible Study Evangelista Show,” hosted by Sonja Corbitt
- “Lisa Hendey and Friends,” with host Lisa Hendey
- “Chuck N’ Ann on Finance,” with hosts Chuck and Annie Fulkerson
- “Salt & Light,” with hosts Chuck and Annie Fulkerson
- “The Frank Friar,” with host Father Nicholas Blackwell
- “Young Catholics Respond,” with host Bill Snyder
- “A Seeking Heart” with host Allison Gingras
- “The Popcorn Cathedral,” hosted by Rod Bennett
“As a collective, we cover the whole gamut of where someone might find themselves standing on the spectrum of Catholicism,” Mr. Socks remarked.
“That’s what makes us unique,” he said. “[Each podcaster] has their own program with their own platform and viewpoints, and yet we all live under the Catholic umbrella.”
With this approach, Breadbox Media throws open the doors to welcome all Catholic-media consumers: young, old, married, single, daily communicants and those who attend Mass every so often.
“All that we do is somewhat focused on human dignity, social responsibility and the common good,” Mr. Brown expressed. “These step outside of demographics, political leanings or social structures. We are in line with what a well-practiced faith – as exhibited in the greater culture – should look like.”
The network has received endorsements from Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Bishop Ronald Gainer of Harrisburg, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, and Bishop John Stowe of Lexington.
Breadbox Media launched in the Diocese of Lexington in 2015 as an entity of Real Life Radio, which had been given canonical standing as an official Catholic apostolate in the diocese by Bishop Gainer, who was Bishop of Lexington from 2003-2014 prior to his appointment to Harrisburg.
“Breadbox Media, like its name implies, is bigger than the sum of its parts. We don’t think any topic is taboo to discuss,” Mr. Brown said. “We’re not theologians, we’re not even all Catholic, but we are in an honest pursuit of truth, peace and virtue. If the Catholic lifestyle had a place to discuss what the Catholic lifestyle – fully lived – looked like, it would be Breadbox Media.”
“We are Eucharistic at our core, but that core is a seed, a beginning,” he said. “It’s a seed of thought, a seed of exploration, and a seed of discussion. We believe that in real and honest conversation, walls can come down, fears can be erased and the essence of living a life, fully alive, can find the ideal conditions to flourish. It’s a tall order, but we know that as long as the seed is the core, the product will always be what it’s supposed to be.”
The podcast network is complementary to Catholic media and parishes. It operates on a slim budget and is supported by sponsors and by listeners who sign up to become premium members. Still, the podcasts are available free of charge.
Breadbox Media’s podcasts are available on Podbean, iTunes, Google Play and other podcast hubs. But the best way to experience it is via its web-based platform at www.BreadboxMedia.com. On the website, consumers can listen to podcasts free of charge. The site also features bios of the hosts and overviews of the programming, and allows listeners to become premium members to receive deep discounts from various business partners.
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness