I’ve often wondered why so much of the music on Christian Radio has pretty bad theology, why in some cases, its seriously lacking in artistic content, and far too often its boring and repetitive. I came across this fascinating discussion on Shaun Groves blog, and I think it provides some potential answers. I’ve copied parts of the blog, and some pretty insightful comments below.
I believe putting a gaggle of white conservative Christian women around age forty in a room to register their immediate approval or disapproval of a minute long (or less) musical clip only leads radio program directors to choose music of tomorrow that sounds just like the music of yesterday: all that’s being tested is familiarity. Different loses. Same wins.
I’m saddened by the state of Christian radio today–so much so that I’m seriously considering leaving Christian radio period. At least the general market/secular stations are honest about what they do–trying to earn money and make a profit…. It’s deception. Are we in it for the money or are we in it for the opportunity to show Jesus to a dying world? I’m almost to the point of thinking that I can show Jesus better while working at a secular station than at a Christian station. My point in this is that Christian radio, unfortunately, is no different than secular radio in its procedures, methods, and ways of doing things. It’s all about the money.
I think those in Christian radio have a responsibility to their listeners to give them not only what they want, but also what they need. I’m sorry if this sounds like a cliche, but I doubt that Jesus or His teachings would have tested well in our control groups (“eat my flesh… drink my blood” anyone?). At what point are we just tickling the ears of our listeners and fattening them up on Christian junkfood that clogs their spiritual arteries.
The gospels end with a commission. Yet we are notoriously reluctant to answer that commission ourselves or support those who would. We only support what we benefit from, what we enjoy, what gratifies us.
Whats interesting, is this was written in 2006…. and now in 2009, the whole Christian Radio domain is undergoing massive shrinkage. The soccer mom audience support is decreasing, the whole industry is changing. The fellow the blog article initially was about is no longer with powerhouse Salem Communications. The GMA is even shrinking…. Its no longer business as usual.
Does this mean programming changes? Thats a toughie… as if the market shrinks enough, it will reach the point where its no longer sustainable. Of course, which demographic would come in to pick it up… And if no one does, perhaps the big conglomerates may start selling things off just to survive.
That might well open the door to a new type of radio ministry, or should I say, a return to the old style locally owned, labor of love of Jesus type ministry. Ie, the 2 guys with a love for Christ in an old RV or trailer, who barely can cover their electricity… but make darn sure the Gospel is preached, not just to 3%, but to as many as possible.