An ex-prostitute sat stuck in Bay Area rush-hour traffic. She was overwhelmed by debt. It was impossible to repay now that she’d given up the life.
The pressure led to her attempted suicide.
Her car idled.
Looking up, she read “Immaculate Heart Radio” on a car’s bumper sticker. She thought of the few times her father had taken her to Mass as a little girl. Her curiosity piqued, she tuned in.
She heard the voice of renowned Catholic apologist and thinker Patrick Madrid guiding a lively discussion on his show, “Right Here, Right Now.”
This San Francisco woman shared her story with Madrid a few months ago — how she disentangled herself from the morass of her self-destructive lifestyle and flung herself into the arms of the Catholic Church, receiving both baptism and confirmation.
She credited “Right Here, Right Now” for clearing the path to her conversion.
Immaculate Heart Radio (AM 930 in Los Angeles), which produces and airs “Right Here, Right Now — With Patrick Madrid,” will be broadcast for the first time in Los Angeles on Nov. 17. The hour-long show will air live on weekdays at 1 p.m.
According to Madrid, the aim of the show is to “engage people in meaningful discussion about things that really matter: life, family, faith, why we’re here, and where we’re going.”
Madrid begins each show with relevant current events. He uses these items as a launching pad, posing a question or topic for consideration, typically drawn from these tidbits. Madrid then opens up the phone lines, giving callers a chance to express their opinions.
Madrid rejects the common practice of radio hosts who use caller comments as bait or objects of sport. Instead, he uses the Socratic method with listeners, clarifying and reinforcing their statements.
“The goal is not so much to teach, but to engage in a discussion in such a way that the truth rises to the surface,” Madrid said.
“I don’t seek to control the flow of ideas on the program. It’s very lively and I have to keep my wits about me,” he said. “I really like that free-form and extemporaneous quality.”
Madrid encourages call-in participation from non-Catholic listeners. He welcomes calls from “atheists, and people of other religions, skeptics, scoffers, doubters.”
This invitation has stood since the very outset of the show. Doug Sherman, president of Immaculate Heart Radio, said “the design of the show was to include a broader audience.”
Madrid estimates that roughly 25 percent of callers are non-Catholic or even non-Christian.
Dick Jenkins, general manager of Immaculate Heart Radio, said that a principle of the show is that “there are no scary questions.”
A recent show, prompted by the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., dealt with the problem of racism in the United States. Madrid doesn’t shy from taking calls on such potentially volatile topics.
“Right Here, Right Now” has just celebrated its second anniversary, but Madrid’s work in Catholic thought and media extends much further back. He has authored or edited over 20 books on or pertaining to the Catholic faith, including “Pope Fiction” (1998), “Search and Rescue” (2001) and the “Surprised by Truth” series (2002).
Jesse Romero, a local Catholic radio host whose show, “The Terry Barber and Jesse Romero Show,” also airs on Immaculate Heart Radio, lauds Madrid as “a gift to the Catholic Church.”
Romero, who considers Madrid to be both a friend and an inspiration, feels that Southern California could especially benefit from Madrid’s program.
“California Catholics have been getting popcorn and potato chips for too long,” Romero said. “[With Madrid] We’re going to start getting some T-bone steaks.”
Madrid was born, baptized, and spent most of his life in Los Angeles County and considers himself an Angeleno.
“I’m thrilled to be able to get back to my roots. Religion is a big deal in Southern California,” Madrid said. “I can just imagine how amped up the radio program is going to be with the contribution from our L.A. listeners.”