Catholic Radio Association announces new organizational leadership and board appointments
The Catholic Radio Association announces the appointment of Elizabeth Brennan as Executive Director and the election of five new board members effective January 1. The addition of these new leaders marks a milestone for the Catholic Radio Association which has been serving the Catholic radio industry for more than 17 years.
New board members include Patrick Ryan, Executive Director of Mater Dei Radio in Portland, OR; Deacon Michael Learned, President of Annunciation Radio in Toledo, OH; Brian Sweeney, Director of Operations and Finance for Iowa Catholic Radio in Des Moines, IA; Bob Carubia, President of Light of Life Radio in Morgantown, WV; and Gary Towery, President of Mediatrix Radio in Greer, SC.
These newly elected board members join currently serving members Cynthia Nickless, Executive Director of The Presence Radio Network in Portland, ME; Dennis Macha, President of RED-C Radio in College Station, TX; and Matthew Gorsich, General Manager of St. Joseph Missions which oversees We Are One Body Radio and Audio Theater. All board members are nominated and elected by the CRA membership.
Cynthia Nickless- CRA Board Chair
Cindy has been involved with Christian radio since 2002 and Catholic radio since 2005. She founded The Presence Radio Network in January 2010, and the first station began broadcasting on July 7, 2010, WXTP – 106.7FM. Since then the network has grown to include seven stations broadcasting throughout the State of Maine.
Before her involvement with Catholic radio, her career was in the technology industry, primarily focused on marketing and development in entrepreneurial ventures. In 1997, she co-founded Millennia III, a technology consulting firm.
Having a desire to serve the Catholic Church, she served on the board of the newly formed Catholic Foundation of Maine from 2001 – 2008. She served on the Finance Council for the Diocese of Portland (2003 – 2013). Her involvement with radio began with serving on the board of the Positive Radio Network (89.3FM) a Christian contemporary music station in Freeport, ME from 2002 until 2010. She currently serves on the Public Policy Committee for the Diocese of Portland and is a board member of the Catholic Radio Association since 2013.
Cindy’s education includes a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Southern Maine. Her skills and experience include; communications, profit and non-profit management, marketing, finance, accounting, fundraising, development, special events, episcopal relations, start-up operations. She and her husband are members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. They have been married for 29 years, are blessed with two adult children.
Elizabeth Brennan- Executive Director
Elizabeth Brennan, the new Executive Director for the Catholic Radio Association, focuses her efforts assisting members in all aspects associated with creating, funding, and maintaining a successful broadcast apostolate. Before joining the Catholic Radio Association in 2015, Elizabeth worked extensively with a local Catholic Radio group for seven years. She was involved as a Voice over Artist, Public Service Announcement Scriptwriter, Special Events Coordinator (Retreats/Business Breakfasts), and helped with Community Outreach (Church Visits/Radiothon). She was also contracted to research and create a Strategic Business Plan for Catholic Radio ministry expansion in 2012. Elizabeth is certified in Word Press Web Design and has experience in non-profit management and administration.
Additionally, she is the proud mother of three formerly home-schooled children and blessed to be the wife of Michael Brennan. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Education from Bowling Green State University and studied vocal performance at Conservatoire de Bordeaux, France.
F. Gary Towery- Board Treasurer
Gary Towery is President of Mediatrix SC, Inc., Catholic Radio in South Carolina. A position he has held for the past ten years.
He is also a Commissioner on the Spartanburg County Commission for Technical Education (Board of Spartanuburg Community College) since his appointment in 1993 by the Govorner of South Carolina. During this tenure, he served four year as the Chairman of the Commission. The Commission is the operational Board of the Spartanburg Community College. He also sits on the Facilities and Finance Committee of the College.
Gary is a retired Director of U.S. Economic Assistance Programs with the Agency for International Development and Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service of the United States and a Consular Officer and Secretary in the Diplomatic Service. He has served as an officer on the Lower Spartanburg County Habitat for Humanity Board, Chairman of the Parish Council of Jesus Our Risen Savior Catholic Church in Spartanburg S. C. and member of the Machebeng International School Board in Maseru, Lesotho.
Gary is a graduate of St. Cloud State College, St. Cloud Minnesota with major in finance and accounting and minor in economics.
Bob Carubia-Board Secretary
After school and employment in New York City, Bob Carubia and Irene, his wife of over 48 years, moved from urban homesteaders in NYC to four-wheel-drive-access rural West Virginia. As University Architect and Vice President of Facilities Planning, Design & Construction for West Virginia University, Bob developed much of the physical aspects of the University campus including the Health Sciences Campus in Morgantown WV. Traveling from their homestead to the University city, Bob was called back to the Catholic faith. He and Irene became very active in church activities, establishing a food pantry, a community center, facilitating bible studies and spiritual retreats, assisting with campus ministry and ministering to the hospitalized and homebound. The Lord blessed them, answering their prayers for a large family, with the adoption of seven children (and now blessed with 14 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren). Involvement in the Light of Life prayer community activities continued to increase. Upon retirement from WVU 10 years ago, Bob and Irene have been blessed to direct Light of Life activities. To spread the Word of the Lord further, the LoL Radio outreach was established and currently includes three broadcast stations. Bob & Irene continue to develop volunteerism and participation, leading many to encounter the Lord. In addition to continuing family, church and LoL activities, they also volunteer with the Living Room, a Christian outreach to the homeless and lead an ecumenical Christian fellowship. Their numerous volunteer accomplishments have been recognized by many including the Service Award from the Governor of WV, the Pace e Bene! Award from the Franciscan Sisters of OLPH and the Salt & Light award from Catholic Charities WV.
Matthew J. Gorsich- Director
Matthew J. Gorsich was born and raised in New Cumberland, West Virginia, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from West Virginia University in 1990. His first job was with Monongahela Power Company, in Weirton, West Virginia, where he married his wife Sandra in 1992. Matthew and Sandra have four children: Hannah Marie (22), Jenna Marie (21), Jacob Matthew (20) and Ryan Joseph (17). Matthew and his family moved to Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1996, where Matthew is now the General Manager of Saint Joseph Missions, which oversees the operations of We Are One Body® Radio (WAOB) and We Are One Body® Audio Theatre.
Deacon Michael Learned-Director
Deacon Mike has experience in running and operating various small businesses. He is proficient in all of the tasks required with running Annunciation Radio including virtually all the technical duties associated with the station. His professional education includes a 2-year Technical certificate from Untied Electronics Institute, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
Deacon Mike has a deep love for the Catholic Faith and has committed himself to keeping the programming of Annunciation Radio always in tune with Her teachings, and always dedicated in obedience to the Church.
Dennis R. Macha, Jr.- Director
Dennis Macha is the President of RED-C Catholic Radio, which has been on the air with KEDC 88.5 FM in Bryan/College Station, Texas for over 7 years. RED-C also has been on the air in Central Texas for over 1 year with KYAR 98.3 FM and close to 1 year with KINF-LP 107.9 FM in Palestine, Texas. New areas for growth are currently being pursued as God calls. In addition to his duties as President of RED-C Catholic Radio, Dennis also is the volunteer director for Aggie Catholic Broadcasting, a Low-Power FM station which shares a studio with RED-C.
Before God called Dennis to Catholic Radio, his previous 10 years’ experience was in the field of school safety. Specifically, he most recently served as the Texas State Coordinator for Safe and Drug Free Schools. Dennis has also been a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas. Like others who start Catholic Radio, Dennis had no prior experience in radio operations or development, so the last 11 years since his original calling have provided many opportunities for learning and growth.
Dennis has been happily married to his wife Darby for 24 years, and with God, they are raising their 6 beautiful children, ages 12 to 22. The whole family considers it a true honor and blessing to operate RED-C Catholic Radio, and prays that God will allow them to do this forever!
Patrick Ryan- Director
In his role as Executive Director for Mater Dei Radio, Patrick Ryan oversees the strategic, fundraising, programming, financial and management operations of the organization. He works collaboratively with Mater Dei Radio’s Board, staff and volunteers to achieve the apostolate’s mission of leading souls into the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Ryan joined Mater Dei Radio after spending several years in broadcasting and international business, as well as leadership positions within three Catholic lay apostolates. Most recently, he held the position of Communications Director at the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops in Austin. Ryan has also recently served on the Boards of Mary’s Touch/Frontline Faith Project, the Central Texas Fellowship of Catholic Men, and the Mission Council for the Diocese of Austin. He is also active in the Knights of Columbus and the Serra Club of Portland. Ryan is a parishioner at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Portland. A graduate of Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Ryan earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and his MBA in Global Business Development from The University of Texas at Dallas.
Brian Sweeney- Director
Brian has served as the Director of Finance and Operations of Iowa Catholic Radio since April 2013.
Prior to joining Iowa Catholic Radio, Brian spent the majority of his career in business consulting specializing in the implementation and management of financial accounting and distribution systems. He has worked as a consulting manager for many professional services organizations including Microsoft Corporation, Great Plains Software, the Des Moines office of Deloitte & Touche, and Brooks Lodden, PC in West Des Moines.
In addition to his duties at Iowa Catholic Radio, Brian is an adjunct faculty member in the College of Business and Public Administration/School of Accounting at Drake University specializing in financial and managerial accounting as well as accounting information systems.
Brian is a member of Sacred Heart Parish in West Des Moines. He serves as a lector, sacristan, extraordinary minister of the Eucharist and is a 3rd degree Knight.
A lifelong Des Moines area resident, Brian earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the University of Iowa, his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Drake University and his Master of Science degree in Accounting from Kaplan University.
He is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant. Brian is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants, Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity. Brian lives in West Des Moines, Iowa with his wife Angie and 15 year old daughter Jennifer.