Dear Editor: The news of Msgr. Michael Dempsey’s passing hit the Catholic Television Network (CTN) hard. After all, our work is built on the diocesan TV center he founded nearly 51 years ago.
At the time, it was the biggest and most complex educational station in the country – four channels with four transmit sites to 240 schools.
He was an innovator and leader in education and educational technology. He traveled around the country as an advisor to dioceses on the importance of gaining their own educational TV licenses. He foresaw the need for a national satellite distribution service so dioceses could program their own “Prayer Channel.”
He was influential in FCC rulemaking as it pertained to the wireless frequencies that are now coveted by the ‘Sprints’ of the WiFi industry. Education continues to be the stewards of these licenses because of his steadfast pounding of Congress to safeguard them for schools. His technical knowledge enabled him to face down engineers, lawyers and FCC Chairmen but his self introduction was always, “I am an educator.”
I wish I could add more details to help you understand that his priestly ministry touched nearly every parish and school in the diocese. May he rest in peace.
Editor’s Note: Gina Krainchich is the Director of Educational Media Services for the DeSales Media Group, the parent company of CTN.