EWTN’s largest radio affiliate drops ‘Morning Glory’ as host Gloria Purvis continues to speak out about racism
The Guadalupe Radio Network abruptly canceled the EWTN Radio show “Morning Glory” from its lineup this week as one of its co-hosts, Gloria Purvis, has faced criticism on social media for her vocal denunciations of systemic racism and calls for police reform.
Purvis told Our Sunday Visitor that the Guadalupe Radio Network never contacted her directly or gave her an explanation for why it dropped her show starting on Friday morning. Purvis said the head of EWTN Radio notified her about the decision in an email on Thursday.
Having asked for an explanation, Purvis said the EWTN Radio executive told her that the Guadalupe Radio Network was “not happy with the direction of the show right now.”
“I don’t know what to make of that,” Purvis said. “We’re faithful about the most important issues of the day, and I’m speaking about them in light of the Gospel. So I don’t know what to think about that.”
The Guadalupe Radio Network is EWTN’s largest radio affiliate in the United States. The network is based in Midland, Texas, and operates 37 radio stations in Texas, New Mexico, Alabama, Florida, Kansas and Washington, D.C.
La Promesa Foundation, a lay-led nonprofit, owns the Guadalupe Radio Network, which broadcasts in English and Spanish and boasts on its website of being able to reach 20 million “potential listeners.”
Toya Hall, vice president of Guadalupe Radio Network, told Our Sunday Visitor in an email that the organization is “not bothered in the least that ‘Morning Glory’ took on the difficult, but needed, topic of the evil of racism. In fact, we feel our audience is looking for a clear Catholic response to all they are seeing in our society right now,” Hall wrote. “During these last couple of weeks we have heard a ‘spirit of contention’ growing among the hosts live on-air. Yes, it is a difficult subject and can become a spirited one for sure. However, it has become more and more awkward and uncomfortable to listen to. … We do not feel that this type of exchange is edifying, nor is it clarifying for anyone, especially a Catholic radio listener who wants clarity. … Never before have we received as many complaints about any EWTN show as we have about Morning Glory as of late. So, we felt we had no other option other than to temporarily suspend airing this program.”
Purvis responded to Guadalupe Radio’s statement, saying: “In the five years we’ve done ‘Morning Glory,’ we’ve had many spirited discussions. But what’s most important is that, like any family, we still love each other at the end of the day.”
Michelle Johnson, the director of communications for EWTN, on Friday told Our Sunday Visitor that the Alabama-based Catholic media company meanwhile “has made no changes” regarding Purvis or her role on the “Morning Glory” show.
“We’re not planning to make any changes,” Johnson said. “The program is still going strong. We can’t speak for our affiliates, because they have the right to carry or not carry [programs].”
Purvis said she spoke with Doug Keck, the president and chief operating officer of EWTN, who told her on Friday that “nothing’s changed.”
“They still plan to air my show and don’t plan to make any changes to it, so I take that as a message of support,” Purvis said.
Johnson said she was “not personally aware” if EWTN had received any direct complaints about Purvis or her recent statements on racism and police reform, adding, “That isn’t something we would talk about.”
The Guadalupe Radio Network’s move to drop Purvis’ show came amid a backlash on social media that Purvis has been on the receiving end of since she speaking out more strongly on racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died last month after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd’s death has sparked protests around the country and calls for police reform.
In an interview earlier this week with Our Sunday Visitor, Purvis spoke about the vitriol and racist insults she had been receiving from anonymous individuals who accused her online of race-baiting and aligning herself with Marxists.
“You have people who are openly hostile and angry, and don’t want me to talk about it anymore, so they’d like to eliminate any access I have to a platform to be able to speak,” Purvis said in the interview.
News about Guadalupe Radio’s move to drop “Morning Glory” spread quickly late Thursday on social media, with several people, including Catholic bloggers and authors, rallying around Purvis and demanding an explanation from the network.
Father Ryan Rojo, the parochial vicar of St. Ann Church in Midland, Texas, who has appeared on the Guadalupe Radio Network multiple times, shared a letter on Twitter that he wrote to the network where he said he was “appalled and disgusted” by the decision to remove “Morning Glory” from its lineup.
“I am asking the Guadalupe Radio Network to exercise true transparency with respect to this. If it was motivated by Gloria Purvis’ informed takes on racism, then the network must reconsider,” said Father Rojo, who wrote he would be “withdrawing all moral and personal support” from the network until then.
On Friday afternoon, Purvis tweeted a prepared statement in which she vowed to continue “to speak the truth about the human person and that includes discussing racism and other evils.”
Said Purvis: “I do not fear the hard work of bringing the light of the Gospel to bear on these issues. Not everyone will receive the message joyfully, and there will be opposition, but because I love Jesus and believe in the beauty and truth of his message, I will persevere.”
Brian Fraga is a contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor.