It’s an era whereby the majority of Americans identified with Christianity. Hence, religious songs got more airplay on mainstream radios.
From traditional singing by the congregation, voices by quartets and solo-singers rose to the airwaves. Group singers like the Statesmen Quartet and the Blackwood Brothers were in demand. Those songs we deem as classics now were by notable names like Mahalia Jackson and Rosetta Tharpe.
Following that success of becoming the ‘new mainstream,’ Christian-owned radio stations mushroomed in several states. One that couldn’t be overlooked was that of Stuart Hamblen. He was a famous radio personality who got fired for not sticking with secular songs in his program. It was the result of his conversion to Christianity after participating in a Billy Graham’s crusade. He put up his own radio station called, The Cowboy Church of the Air.
Though not strictly religious in all programs, there was always an inclusion of faith themes. They served as ‘flavorings’ to everything broadcasted. That was part of reaching the mainstream market while maintaining the Christian audience. By and large, music was the means to attract listeners then followed by bible teachings.
Gospel Radios Today
Corporations dominate today’s Christian radios.
From a mixture of songs plus message format, modern radio stations have become a full-time music format.
They present contemporary songs as devotionals. Thus, requiring less to no talks about them except for the songwriter or singer’s bio.
To combat assumptions that contemporary Christian music sell-out to mere profit-making, new songs for release have to meet certain requirements. They must have ‘worship’ and ‘prayer’ value which the listeners can experience upon hearing them.
Music came from God, and it pleases him to find us creating good music for the soul. There may have been lots of changes in today’s radio stations. Still, it’s not much of an issue. What matters is that the songs they’re playing are helping us connect with God,
All that said, here’s a light-hearted tune about the simple joy of tuning to the radio employing Christian music.
J.D Sumner in “Turn Your Radio On”
gospel, J.D Sumner, Southern Gospel