Today at 2:00pm ET, my dad (Steve Wood) will go on the air and host his very last live episode of Faith & Family on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network. Dad’s show is the longest running live talk show on the EWTN Radio Network. You can read about his announcement about leaving live radio here.
When Dad first went on the air, fourteen years ago this week, I was 17 years old, and I was his first control room engineer and producer.
Ha. I knew nothing about radio at the time. All of my training happened hands-on, both at the EWTN Radio headquarters in Alabama and in my dad’s first studio in Port Charlotte, FL.
I’ll never forget that first live show. Not sure who was more scared: me with my shaky-nervous hands operating the mixing board in the control room, or my dad and his shaky voice behind the microphone on the other side of the glass.
Dad and I learned how to do live radio together. He quickly became a confident, relaxed, exceptional radio host. I learned my side of the room well too. It wasn’t long before I was helping to train other producers in other satellite studios for EWTN, and Dad was mentoring men and women who would become familiar EWTN radio hosts we all know and love today.
In 2003, I became Dad’s co-host on Faith & Family. We had a lot of fun together. Dad was not afraid to let me speak my mind, ask questions, challenge something he said, or delve deeper into a topic he was covering. Even though I was young, Dad believed that Catholic radio was a place for the young as well as older mature adults. Thus it was no surprise when he became the number one champion of my desire to launch a live show for young adults on the EWTN Network.
Six months after I became his co-host, Dad sat in the control room and watched while I hosted my very first episode of Next Wave Live, which I hosted for six years (before the Hubs swept me off my feet and stole me away to Virginia).
Today is a day full of many and mixed emotions. We’re celebrating with great joy the 14 years my dad hosted Faith and Family, and all the changed lives, strengthened families, rebuilt marriages, ended addictions, and conversions to Christ, that have come about a a result of my dad’s programming. We’re remembering the happy times, the sweet moments, and especially the life-changing ones.
It’s a sad day too. The end of something good always carries a note of sweet sadness with it. But while the Anne of Green Gables side of me (definition: “I don’t want anything to change – I want things to stay the same!”) wishes Faith & Family could go on forever, I am confident that this final episode today is part of God’s plan for my dad’s life, and I’m proud of him for following where the Master is leading him.
Dad is not a perfect parent, but if there is one thing in his parenting style that no one can fault him for it’s this: he leads by example. He’s always done this. Instead of yelling at his teenagers “don’t cuss!”, he simply never utters a swear word. Ever. Like in my entire life. Instead of just commanding us not to abuse alcohol, he drinks moderately and never overindulges. Instead of demanding we spend time each day in scripture reading and personal prayer, he just does it himself, without fail, every single day. Instead of berating us to eat well and exercise often for a healthy lifestyle, he himself exercises almost every day, only eats one dessert (well, except on Christmas… and except where there’s freshly popped corn involved).
And instead of just telling his children “When you pray and ask God to reveal His will to you, also ask Him to teach you what NOT to do – even what GOOD things to say no to,” he follows this advice faithfully in his own life. At the start of every day, Dad asks God to reveal to Him what good things to do and what good things not to do. And I know it’s through this prayer time that he discerned it was time to end the chapter of his life hosting Faith & Family.
My father loves adventure. I know he has lots of exciting things planned for the future of his ministry, Family Life Center International. Closing the door on his live radio career is going to give him the time and freedom to pursue many good new things.
So, Dad, on this very special day: thanks for your example of following God’s will, even when it’s saying goodbye to a very good thing. Thanks for all the memories, the adventures, the life-changing experiences we had on Faith & Family.
And most of all, thanks for letting me be a part of this wild adventure called Catholic radio.
Congratulations from your biggest fan in Virginia!
Note to my readers: You can listen to Steve Wood’s last broadcast of Faith & Family today (Thursday August 30th) from 2:00-3:00pm ET. (I’ll be on the air with him at 2:30pm). Listen on Sirius, your local Catholic radio station, or online at http://www.familylifecenter.net (click on the radio box in the middle of the homepage).