Because their parish is large, dispersed, and overwhelmingly rural, FM radio is one of the few reliable means through which the Q’eqchi’-Maya Catholics of San Felipe in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, can communicate with each other en masse. Yet, because it is a one-way medium, it is also impossible to gauge how its intended audience is responding, or if is even there to receive broadcasted messages. Drawing on ethnographic material collected in 2005 (on the use of radio broadcasting to call together ritual participants) and 2016 (on an ultimately failed attempt to launch a radio station to serve rural parishioners), this paper examines how parish lay leaders attempt to negotiate this dilemma as they work to create a unique sense of Q’eqchi’-Maya Catholic community.



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