Fr. Ron Lengwin hosts Amplify, Sundays 9-11 pm on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.
Amplify has a long and interesting history. It began as a public service program under the sponsorship of Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania, a regional ecumenical agency. Religious leaders decided they should produce a program together, rather than compete for limited public service time.
Fr. Ron began hosting Amplify in 1975. At that time, it was a pre-recorded 30-minute program. KDKA’s management was pleased with the response to the program, and wanted to extend it to one hour.
Fr. Ron, however, convinced management to make the show live, 90 minutes in length, and with listener calls in accord with KDKA’s talk show format. He explained that it would be exciting to allow people to “talk back to the Church” about almost everything.
Amplify soon expanded to a two-hour, and for a while, a three-hour format. For many years, it was the No.1 rated program in its time slot.
During its 35 years, Fr. Ron has featured many unique and interesting guests. Some of the best guests, however, have been “ordinary” people who offered hope and insight to others because of the struggles they’d encountered themselves.
As with any successful venture, the program has also faced challenges. For example, Fr. Ron remembered a time when a guest had an emergency and sent his assistant to do the show instead. Unfortunately, the assistant wasn’t well-prepared, and Fr. Ron had to lead him throughout the show, answering the very questions he asked him.
The single program that pleases him the most is the overnight Christmas morning program that has aired almost every year since 1978. It helps many people who have lost loved ones and who struggle with sorrow or even grief.
Fr. Ron’s experience extends beyond Amplify. He has served in various roles in both the church and the community, including Director of Communications, Chief Spokesman, Secretary of Pastoral Life and Director of Public and Community Affairs for Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.
He closes each program with these words: “Don’t forget how precious life is and how powerful love is. Tell someone now that you love them. Pray for peace as if it depended on you alone, and come back next Sunday and Amplify with us.”