Catherine Mason isn’t the type of person to let the grass grow under her feet. The 81-year-old manager of KPLE-TV, Trinity Broadcasting Network’s affiliate in Killeen, Texas, always seems to be up to something in her efforts to get the word out about the awesome inspirational resource the nearly 500,000 folks living in and around Killeen have in the Christian television station she founded back in 1993.
At this year’s National Religious Broadcaster’s convention in Nashville, Mason accepted NRB’s award naming KPLE its national low-power station for 2010. It’s the second time the “little station that could” has won the award, and it is a testimony to Mason’s commitment to her God, her community, and inspirational television that religious broadcasting’s largest group is recognizing her achievements. “Catherine Mason has led the way for quality Christian television in her community,” said Paul Crouch Jr., TBN’s Chief of Staff. “She’s a great example of what faith and determination can accomplish.”
KPLE, which is carried on Time-Warner Cable in Killeen on Channel 45, also broadcasts a low-power “over the air” signal on channel 31, carrying TBN’s programming as well as multicasting two of TBN’s other networks, JCTV and Smile of a Child. “Our commitment to 24-hour Christian broadcasting has given a real boost to the community of Killeen, as well as to the individuals and families who are serving in the military at Fort Hood,” Mason said. “All together, that’s a potential of almost a half-million people impacted by our station.”
Most recently, Mason has been working nearly non-stop to add TBN’s 24-hour Hispanic network, TBN Enlace USA, to KPLE’s multi-casting lineup. Launched in 2002, TBN Enlace USA features a combination of inspirational programs from Latin America, along with popular inspirational programming from the U.S., all in Spanish. The addition of TBN Enlace will extend KPLE’s reach to one of the area’s most important ethnic populations.
How Catherine Mason first got involved in Christian television is a story in itself. As a long-time instructor in Early Childhood and Family Living at a local college, Mason had no background of any kind in broadcasting, and simply launched her effort to get an inspirational station because of the need she saw for a Christian voice in the community. “With the number of communities in the area, and with Fort Hood, one of the nation’s largest military bases, we really needed somewhere people could tune in to for hope and encouragement,” she explained. “I didn’t know anything about getting a broadcast permit, putting up a tower, or running a station. God showed me everything I needed, and it has been a step-by-step walk of faith all the way.”
Not only is KPLE a reliable beacon of hope around the clock for the diverse community it serves, but Mason has made sure that the station is there in times of crisis and emergency. When one of Fort Hood’s military personnel opened fire on his colleagues late last year, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others, Mason interrupted KPLE’s regular programming to provide prayer, counseling, and other help to the many individuals and families who were impacted. “That’s the reason we are here,” she explained. “To make sure people know God cares, and He will help and heal.”
Mason has never been shy about promoting KPLE using whatever innovative resources are at hand. Late last May, as television stations nationwide prepared to make the final switch to digital broadcast, Mason attracted a lot of media attention as she made her very first skydive—at the age of 81—to help raise the funding the station needed to make the switch to digital. “You’re never to old to step out in faith for God,” said Mason at the time. “Our viewers have done so much over the years to keep Christian broadcasting going 24/7 in central Texas, and I am taking this ‘leap of faith’ to thank them and to challenge others to get involved.”
TBN’s Bob Higley noted that Mason typifies the many individuals who have helped make TBN the world’s largest religious broadcaster and America’s most watched and requested faith network. “They are individuals who have literally given their all to make sure that faith and family-friendly programming is an integral part of the choice viewers have on a daily basis,” he said.
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