Uh…Christian Radio=No Females…

Today my husband and I had a long drive in a state that has a far reaching christian radio station. For about an hour and 15 minutes we listened to song after song after song and I quickly started noticing a pattern. There are VERY few female voices on christian radio. I heard 15 songs straight and only heard 2 sung by women (one was Christy Nockels and the other a female led band called Addison Road). I started trying to figure out why that was.

Just a week and a half ago I had a sobering conversation with the leading radio promoter in Christian radio and discovered the nearly impossibly statistics for gaining Christian radio airplay. There are only 2 or 3 available spaces per MONTH for new music. There are 25 radio promoters pitching about 3 songs each per week. That means every week there are about 75 songs trying to squeeze into the 1 possible slot radio stations have available. This also means that while thousands of songs are being released each year, if you are listening to christian radio, you are only hearing 36 of them, many of them being multiple songs by the same artists. For instance, last year TobyMac had two different songs hit #1 at two different times in the year.

Since 2004 there have been 74 #1 singles (songs that stayed at the #1 slot for at least 1 week and some more than 1 week). Of those 74 singles only 6 were from females, Joy Williams (once), Nichole Nordeman (once), Francesca Battistelli (twice), Mandisa (once), and Laura Story (once). Meanwhile Mercy Me, Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, Third Day, Matthew West, Toby Mac and Chris Tomlin each had anywhere between 4-10 #1 singles each; comprising over 40 of those top 74 singles.

I know, I know, this is a lot of numbers. Here is what I am getting at…there are NOT enough female singers/musicians being represented on Christian radio. I don’t believe this is because there isn’t enough talent but for some reason their songs are just not making it on the radio. Two female led songs in an hour and a half of radio airplay is just not enough. So what can be done?

First, to the lady musician/singer/songwriters:

#1 Be great at your craft. Stop leaning so heavily on your beautiful vocals and start writing equally beautiful songs. Get out and sing your songs in front of people who will give you honest feedback (most of the time the most honest feedback comes from strangers, you know the ones who sit at a table right in front of you talking louder than you are singing, or the ones who sit in rapt attention because you have brought something to them that they need; great music).

#2 Record your music well. Whether you are signed to a record label or you are independent and find yourself funding your cd recording yourself in your friends basement, make a cd that draws the listener in and makes them want to listen over and over, hearing new creative things with each listen.

#3 Get your music out there. This happens through shows, social media(youtube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), marketing, a webpage or blog, radio, ITunes, and just old fashioned word of mouth. Perhaps you don’t have any idea how to make a webpage where people can stream your music or see where you are playing, then make a Facebook page (I know you are on Facebook anyway). You can also hit up WordPress.com or one of the many other blogsites and build one (they have pre-made sites that you can stick your info/songs/pictures into that is so easy you have no excuse…if it is still too hard then find just about any 13 year old kid with a computer and have them do it for you). Submit your music to ITunes. Use Noisetrade.com to give away your music in trade for email addresses to keep in contact with your fans.

Next, to the non-female musicians/listeners:

Your job is even easier, you are in charge of finding those great female musicians out there and spreading the word to your friends, rallying them to buy the females music and further promote to their friends. Call your Christian radio stations and request their music (I admit that this probably won’t do anything but I would love for the stations to be hearing that there are lots of people wanting what they are not providing).

So, I realize that I am a female musician and I am writing this blog. I am not using this blog to get you to go buy my cd and get it on Christian radio. I am also not using this blog to act like I know it all. These are just my observations and heck, who am I? I’m a girl who makes Christian music that doesn’t get played on Christian radio, so this blog conversation is pointed at myself as well as any other lady musician out there.

I want to leave you with some female singer, songwriter, musicians who you can rally behind. Women who are extremely talented and are working extremely hard despite not having a radio presence. Some of my current favorites are:

Kim Walker Smith- You can find her singing with the band/worship team Jesus Culture. Her version of the song “How He Loves” has gotten almost 6 million views on youtube. Did you catch that? 6 Million views! That is huge and shows what a powerful worship leader/singer/musician she is and yet I don’t believe there is any major Christian radio station playing her music. You can get a hold of her music by buying a Jesus Culture CD on ITunes. There are 3 that I know of and personally own, each with standout Kim Walker Smith tracks.

Vicky Beeching- I admit I am a little close to the latest CD by Vicky (It was recorded by my husband at our studio in San Diego and I co-wrote a few of the songs on the album with her) BUT I am close to this CD because I wanted to be close. Vicky has a unique calling and gifting by intertwining singing and songwriting with teaching. She challenges the music community to write through a theological lens and to speak of a Savior who is real and not full of fluff. Go buy her latest CD called Eternity Invades and support this great British female artist.

Kye Kye- now here is a band who is female led and has all the wrappings of art and cool and depth and spirituality and theology. The band is led by Olga, the ethereal voiced sister to two of the other band members and wife to the drummer. This band is not for the fainthearted. They do not make music for the complacent. Theirs is for someone who wants to be invested and drawn in to a real, pumping relationship with a Creative Creator. Grab their CD titled Young Love, find where they are playing nearby and grab all your friends and go see them. You can thank me later.

Brooke Fraser- Brooke is a no brainer. After having lent her astonishingly beautiful lyrics and vocals to Hillsong United for years she has finally just released her own solo CD in the US last year titled Flags. She has written songs you sing probably ever month in your church service, her most popular being, Hosanna. I have seen her perform live once and I have to say that out of all the male or female singers I have seen in my entire life, she is by far one of the top most flawless live singers I have ever seen. Support this Lady.

Audrey Assad- I am new to the Audrey bandwagon but friends, including Brenton Brown and his band, have continued whispering praise over her talent and honesty, and it finally rubbed off. I have listened and joined the fan club. Now I just have to make it a point to see her live, you should join me.

Lisa Gungor- One half of the duo led band Gungor (the other half is her husband). This band has been making waves for the past couple of years with only two CDs under their belt, the first being 2010’s Beautiful Things (the title track was nominated for a Grammy) and then this months Ghosts Upon The Earth with their super creative worship driven music. The tracks on the record that she leads tend to be my favorites of the bands and I look forward to hearing her more and more. She sings with passion and belief in what she is saying.

Please leave a comment here on the blog, below with any other female singers that people should know about so that we can group together and support them. Perhaps you are that female musician, leave us a link to your website or blog or a place where we can sample your music. Then after you’ve left a comment with your favorites, go and check out the other music that is being posted. (Side Note: It will do no good for anyone but me if you comment on my Facebook page or Twitter because the readers of this blog will be only reading the comments on this blog…so comment here…please :))

I look forward to hearing of some great female led music from you!

Alrighty…Go!

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About sarah macintosh

I am Sarah MacIntosh, formerly the lead singer for a band called Chasing Furies. I am a writer. Some writing has melody some doesn't. Some writing is for myself and some is for others. The songs tend to bubble up inside for quite some time and eventually burst out later with or without a guitar in my hand. Recently there have been towering highs and plummeting lows in my life all which have been carefully guarded by my Savior, Jesus. It is these things that have been written about on scraps of paper, tattered journals, and my faithful mac laptop. These words jotted down have swirled around in my head until they have finally come out of my mouth in melody. Melody and words have joined together and are now being carefully placed and suspended in time on tracks that will eventually be a cd. I will crack the door so that you can see what has been written... here and there...in a plane...in a hotel... View all posts by sarah macintosh

39 responses to “Uh…Christian Radio=No Females…

  • Brittany

    Jetty Rae is a really great female Christian artist. Her songs are lyrically so unique and clever! Many of her songs seem catchy and light-hearted at first and then after listening to them a few times you start to notice the deeper spiritual messages in them. Her newest album is titled Drowning In Grain. One song called “Alien” talks about how so many people in this world act just like everyone else but that we are not the same and that we were each set out for something different, not to be the same. I think that song applies to what many people said in above comments.
    But anyways her music is very worth listening to, and I hope more people will discover her beautiful music like I recently have!
    Her Website- http://jettyrae.com/

  • carolyn rennie

    Very informative!!! Thank you

  • Matt Boyle

    Sarah,

    As someone who runs an internet radio station (hey its just like FM but only on the internet) … I think maybe some of this is because most Christian radio targets the 25-45 year old female?.. I wonder if some of this is them thinking “these ladies are attracted to males so why not play the latest hottest song from Toby or Mercy Me or whatever” maybe it will connect with them better? Maybe also because I think most CCM radio is programmed by males? (not saying their biased… but just trying to figure why females are being over looked?)

    Maybe I am wrong?

    But that something im just throwing out there.. I know when I go thru new music looking to add I am very un-biased I have limited slots as already said above and have indies, non indies and everything in between trying to get air play (the most funny is the country artists — when I am clearly a Christian HIT based station) …

    There are a lot of talented ladies out there though..

    One that has seem to acheive some success this year is the young talented Jamie Grace.

    I guess with my station I play what sounds good and I feel lead by the Spirit to add and I feel will make a difference. I have a lot of females in rotation right now …

    Addison Road, Camaryn Rogers, Cortni, Fireflight, Ilia, Jaci Velasquez, Jamie Grace, Kimber Rising, Katelynne Cox, Rachael Lampa, Rachel Chan, Sarah MacIntosh, Silversyde, Submission Red, Tricia Brock

    (some of those are bands with males too but vocalist are primary females)

    That’s just my “heavy rotation catagory” right now..

    I might be just a small Internet based broadcaster but I am trying to make a difference.

    Matt-
    Positive Rock Radio – xmusiconline.com

  • Rick

    Yes Sarah …

    Joy is a super talent, and a friend, and am pleased she decided to give her talent another go after taking some extended time off from singing/performing. The Civil Wars are HUGE and I couldn’t be happier for her and her hubby manager.

    I would agree that listeners looking for diversity in style and delivery have moved on to other options. There are only a few stations or online streams now that offer up something different than the norm.

    I want to stress that there’s nothing inherently wrong with the majority of stations out there that program to a chunk of the listening public. If that’s what they are called to do, then do it to the best of your ability. But the same thing goes for those people/stations that are called to be unique – diverse – hitting another segment of the music listening population.

    My belief is that the future of Christian/positive radio is on the web, especially for those formats [known and not yet known] that can widen the net a bit. Much easier to offer up unique stations and streams and cover most of the bases with tons of diversity that way. Working toward that myself … would love everyone and anyone’s input! [truly would]

    Rick

  • Jonny Macintosh

    I just thought of something, people in the industry say women are the main listeners of christian music and they are the ones choosing all the male singers. buuuuuutttttt…… out of the 25 or so radio promoters working right now, bringing the songs THEY connect with to the radio stations. how many are female??? 1 or 2? 3 or 4? So male A&R guys are signing artists/bands THEY connect with, and male marketing directors are pitching songs to male radio promoters who are picking songs THEY all connect with to take to the music/program directors (mostly male?) of radio stations telling them to play these songs with all these male singers!

    So by the time the female listeners vote for the songs they like to stay on the radio, their choices are mostly ALL male to choose from!

    So we not only need more female artists stepping it up, we need female radio promoters, female music directors, female marketing directors, etc…

    Cause really wouldn’t you agree that your female friends favorite artists are female and your male friends favorite artists/bands are male? I know thats the case with my wife and I. People generally connect with singers/musicians that they want to be when they are older.

    All that to say, the general market mainstream radio is dominated by female artists, so that means christian music will follow suit in about 4 years.

    • sarah macintosh

      Thanks Mark!

      Read the article and have already passed it along. It definitely gives more insight into the industry and the listener. Now you guys need to write an article on how we the female musicians and we the Christians and we the listeners can help change it. πŸ™‚

      Side note, who are your favorite Christian female artists? I would imagine you hear more than most people.

      Sarah Mac

  • nosaosasuyi

    I love this. I actually feel very much challenged by it.
    Please Sarah Mac and everyone, can you listen to this song (its my first single ) and tell me what you feel about it. I would be most grateful
    http://www.reverbnation.com/nosaosasuyi

    Thanks.

  • Rachel Dillaman

    I work at a Christian radio station in northern Illinois. We play a lot of songs by female vocalists, including you, Sarah Macintosh. Of course, we are a smaller, independent station so we don’t have to adhere to the rules set up by the larger stations that are all owned by one or two companies. We choose music based on the message, the quality of the production and the overall sound of the songs. We get a lot of positive feedback on the more obscure artists that we play…like a lot of the artists from the international house of prayer in Kansas City and the ones from Bethel church in Redding California. Our music programmer is always on the lookout for great music wherever it may be found. We play the artists whether or not people have heard of them. We get loads of emails and calls requesting the info for certain artists. I love that as an independent station we have the freedom to play what we like and what is really good.

  • Sarah Pearson

    http://www.rachelscottmusic.com/
    Rachel Scott is one of those velvet voices with personal, heartfelt lyrics that back it up. Her most recent album entitled Sons & Daughters was produced with legendary Nashville great, Ben Shive. I cannot get enough of it and feel compelled to share her with the world.

    I love your thoughts on this blog. Here is Rachel’s blog that she recently began writing: http://rachel-nothingwasted.blogspot.com/2011/09/there-is-quiet-loud-good-not-so-good.html?spref=fb

    • sarah macintosh

      Sarah,

      Thank you for that link. I’m listening to her right now and agree that she is of the velvety voiced. I will check out her blog as well.

      Thank you again for the heads up on her!
      Sarah Mac

  • Rick

    Very good observations Sarah. The numbers you share are driven by Christian AC [adult contemporary] radio and not any other format.

    Christian CHR [hit radio – similar to mainstream in some markets] has supported acts that have been female much more than the “softer” formats have over the same time period you mention.

    Interestingly it has been the “chicken and egg” syndrome inside of the Christian music industry for many years now. Around ’04-’05 is when the mass exodus of female artists took place with most of the labels involved. Radio started testing listeners in droves and they seemed to show that female vocalists didn’t “test well.” So labels started releasing fewer and fewer songs by female lead singers/soloists, and radio started playing less and less of them, until almost all of the female artists were dropped or left their labels [think Joy WIlliams, Rachael Lampa, Jaci Velasquez, Nichole Nordeman, Ginny Owens, et all] during an 18 month period.

    That finally began to change in 2010 with cracks in the armor appearing through releases by a few new female artists, including new hit singles recently by Jamie Grace [Gotee], Charmaine [indie], Francesca [Word], Laura Story, Heather Williams [Fair Trade], and others.

    There *are* CHR stations out there that have supported female artists all along, but unfortunately they are under the radar right now. Online stations are even more diverse and open to all styles of music, and honestly that is where I believe we are headed as an “industry.” Especially since labels do not pay much attention to online-only stations, even those that have tens of thousands of listeners each and every week.

    Major labels continue to work on those few “slots” at AC radio with dozens of new songs. CHR radio [thankfully] has many more slots open to new music … but CHR stations continue to fall by the wayside, either [a] jumping to a softer format to keep listeners/donors, or [b] selling to mainstream companies or one of the larger Christian network companies.

    All that said, we NEED diversity in programming, especially with the growing diversity in make-up of music listeners around the country. Females are definitely a large piece in that puzzle and need to be included more into the overall equation of programming philosophy … especially if the programmer is truly paying attention to the listener.

    [That includes spinning your new single as well!]

    • sarah macintosh

      Rick,

      Great insight (you would know:). It has definitely been hard to watch what you said:

      “labels started releasing fewer and fewer songs by female lead singers/soloists, and radio started playing less and less of them, until almost all of the female artists were dropped or left their labels [think Joy WIlliams, Rachael Lampa, Jaci Velasquez, Nichole Nordeman, Ginny Owens, et all] during an 18 month period.”

      but I think in the case of Joy Williams I am happy that it pushed her out to embark on something new. Now we get to enjoy her new, Civil Wars, endeavor.

      I have begun to wonder if the problem is that the listeners who want diversity have just stopped listening and giving their feedback to their radio stations, thus making the Christian radio listener only those left who want to hear what the Christian radio stations want to give them.

      I wonder how the stations could build back up a more diverse following….hmmm. Has me thinking.

      Sarah Mac

  • staci

    Very interesting Sarah. Did not know that about female musicians/artists. I will definitely check out the names you mentioned. Thank you!

    I personally thing CCM just needs to start over from scratch. I worked at a Christian bookstore for 4 1/2 years (00-04) and became very familiar with CCM as I listened to it all day in the music department as well as on the radio in receiving (not to mention being forced to listen to the same radio station daily growing up). Used to get into heated discussions with the music reps that came in from Nashville and was often venting my frustration about CCM to co-workers, who were also venting as well. We have a God who has given His people talent and giftings. The world should be coming to US to get ideas and inspiration not the other way around (like when I read in the promo pack that a new Rebecca St. James cd, Transform, sounded like Madonna! *shudders*). CCM is constantly comparing itself to secular musicians and that should not be. When every year it’s the same few artists winning the awards (Dove etc) then that tells you something. Not to mention almost no one in the secular world knows who these CCM people are! Christine Nockels who? Britney Spears yes. CCM deserves to be scrapped if they worry about the almighty dollar over worshiping God. And if they’re playing mostly men then all the more so as God has two faces/sides, male and female. Also it’s secular labels that own many of the big Christian labels now. (I’m sure you know all this but you get my point.)

    Per only a few women being played on CCM radio this makes sense. It’s most likely, again, money. Labels pushing guys and not women because , as per usual, women don’t sell as well as men (and, again secular companies owning the Christian labels now). In the early to mid 90’s I remember reading interviews with Tori Amos and Sara McLachlan (sp) talking about how hard it was being one of the few women being played on the airwaves in a sea of men. Perhaps CCM radio stations are reverting back to old habits gender and money wise because secular companies own them? And being that we’re in a recession it’s the old tried and trues that companies of all shapes and sizes revert to when they need to make money. I guess in CCM, and these radio stations, ,men =’s money.

    • sarah macintosh

      Staci,

      Thank you for your thoughts. “men =’s money” i think the better equation would be men=listeners (mostly female). Mark Moring posted a link to a Christianity Today article he was a part of from last year and it has even more thoughts into this subject that I found helpful in understanding what in the world is going on. You should check it out as well:

      http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/music/news/2010/thescoop-0518.html

      Keep looking for and supporting those great female artists out there…and who knows, maybe others will find them through you and help get the word out.

      Sarah Mac

      • staci

        Ooh, very interesting. Thanks for the article link.

        As soon as I started reading the article I thought that it’s probably because

        a) scripture says women are to be quiet and not teach men

        and

        b) sex/desirability

        If more women are listening then, whether or not we want to admit it, men’s music will be most listened to. Women like men single or not and single Christian women like Christian men, especially if they’re single. The hormones vote. When I worked at the Christian bookstore the gender that was mostly buying Rebecca St James cd’s,sorry to keep hammering on RSJ, were single Christian men. It was funny. They’d come in looking for promo posters to hang on their walls or whatever. But also young girls would come in for promo posters for guy bands/musicians to hang on their walls. We as Christians don’t want to admit that our attraction drives us to do certain things, like the majority of Christian women listening to CCM men’s music, but it’s true. The article kind of proved it.

        Also the Church is still teaching that women are to be quiet and not to teach men. Music is also a teaching tool and if a woman is out there singing Christian songs that she wrote then there will be men listening and in some churches that’s still a no-no.

        Also the Church still stresses that women are to be the home makers and supposed to support their husbands from the sidelines. The article proves my point also.

        AND the bit about the clothing? Again more of the same. I always hear about how women in the church should dress appropriately so that their brothers in Christ won’t be tempted. It’s funny though that the Church still thinks that women do not have hormones (and aren’t turned on by men in things like tight muscle enhancing t-shirts or tight jeans etc.) and should not expect the same modesty from the men in the body of Christ.

        But again thanks for the article. It’s very frustrating to read that it’s my gender that’s causing the problem. Yes, more foot work and getting the message out there when it comes to women in Christian music! (And I’m glad to say that I’m not part of this problem. I’ve always listened to mostly women be it Christian or secular. I’m a woman and I want to hear what my gender has to say. I can relate better to them than men.)

      • sarah macintosh

        Thank you for your insights!

  • Bob

    Some great female leads from my collection that you did not mention: Jenn Johnson, Rita Springer, Kathryn Scott, Amber Brooks, Rebecca St James, Tehilah, Misty Edwards, Kelley Warren, Jamie Smith, and so on. Jessie Rogers has a lot of potential and is getting back into it again. Jesus Culture has I think 5 albums now, but all are long format so radio stations probably have no interest. Kim Walker-Smith also has a solo album under the Bethel Music label (Redding, California), as does Kristene Mueller and Leah Mari. Lisa Gungor has a solo album (Canvas) that’s good as well.

    If you’re in the mood to soak, try Alberto and Kimberly Rivera. I’ve seen them live in Toronto and she has a particular gift of singing prophetically over people. Very powerful stuff.

    While all of these artists are top shelf, I’d bet very few find radio time. I think people want to hear congregational style music like they hear in church. Many of these are famous writers of such music, so it’s hard to figure why they don’t get more airplay.

    I gave up on radio in general when iPod’s and satellite radio came on scene, although the Christian radio offerings on XM/Sirrius are no better than what Clear Channel will throw at us.

    My single best source of new (or new to me) artists has been following a few favorites on Twitter. They are good to mention new work by others, so I keep track and follow where those leads take me.

    Off topic, but I really like your work as well and would LOVE to hear a professionally recorded live set.

    Bob

    • sarah macintosh

      Bob,
      Thank you for that lovely list of great female leads. I will go check out any I haven’t already heard. IPods and Satellite radio have definitely had an impact in changing the way people listen to music and following your favorite artists and listening for their favorite artists is a great way to find out about good new music.

      I have contemplated a professionally recorded live set and in fact am thinking of going a step further by recording a professionally recorded live video. We are still in the planning stages but I am sure I will be posting info at another date so in the meantime…Shhhh…don’t tell. πŸ™‚

      Sarah Mac

  • kenneth

    I’m a 33 years old white Christian male musician. And first I want to recognize that you have done something i’m not sure that I could ever do…listen to “christian” radio for an hour and fifteen minutes! However, i’m not so sure that the problem is diversity. I think it’s several things.

    Duplication vs. Creation
    The problem here is that “christian” music (i put Christian in quotations because the only thing in the Bible that is Christian is people…Therefore there is no such thing as Christian radio) has fallen into the muck of mere duplication. There is barely any creativity in popular “christian” music. Because the industry is money motivated (my next point) it finds what “works” and runs it into the ground…a completely pragmatic approach. So for the last 7 years or so, Chris Tomlin “works”, therefore the industry pumps out band after band that simply does what Tomlin does. Nockels probably gets radio play because she is doing what Tomlin does…and she’s connected with the right people (Passion/sixstepsrecords). So my point is that Creativity has taken a back seat (pretty much in the trunk at this point) to Duplication and thus rendered “Christian” radio an art-stifling, sappy, Hallmark channel-esque machine.

    Money Motivated
    So yeah, everything is done for money. Not that getting money is bad, but when it is the driving motivator for something that claims to be “Christian” we have a problem. As stated above, this is the root cause of our tragic era of anti-creativity. Which of course impairs our God-given ability to image Him forth to the world by our own creativity (which is the point of art), thus is actually robbing God of glory. I would love to see a radio station that was actually a ministry seeking to glorify God, and had a good foundational understanding that God made us to be creative like He is, and that when we do that well, He gets glory. I’m not saying that if you work in radio then you are only money motivated…i’m more critiquing the blue print of American “Christian” radio.

    As to the lack of female artists on the radio I would say that its probably true that there are simply more artists that are male than female…so naturally there would be less female artists on the radio. It could very well also be that female artists are more oriented towards creativity and thus defy the system…effectively ending their chances of getting on the radio. I think that your new album Sarah is very creative, and causes me to rejoice!!! I pray this kind of “rule-breaking” ground work will pave the way for a full-on Renissance in the art world of the Church.

    There is hope though with things like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Churches, Conferences, iTunes, and Spotify to get wide exposure…and all of these things could be seen as a work of God to wake up the Church to His creative wonder seen in His people’s creativity!

    These are just my thoughts. Not intended to tear down individuals but rather observe a problem and create a discontentment with the status quo…for the Glory of God and the Joy of His people!

    • sarah macintosh

      Great and very well articulated thoughts Kenneth. Thank you for them. I do hope “this kind of β€œrule-breaking” ground work will pave the way for a full-on Renissance in the art world of the Church.” Wouldn’t that be exciting?

      Sarah Mac

  • Hilda

    Scott Cunningham daughters.

  • Dan

    Sounds like the lack of diversity could be caused by… a lack of diversity! I stopped listening to Christian radio around 2005 because the same few songs were overplayed for months on end (along with the pro-war news reporting).
    The first time I heard Chasing Furies was from a sampler CD I bought at a Christian music festival in 1997. Back then, it seemed like the labels took the lead in promoting groups, including new groups.
    I went back to that same festival in 2009, and the labels were all gone. What was left were the radio stations, concert promoters, and many more self-represented bands.
    Radio seems behind the times. If a new artist wants to be heard today I would suggest YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, and live shows.

    • sarah macintosh

      Dan,

      Thanks for your thoughts. Things have surely changed in music in the last 10 years and it only makes me hopeful that things can be changed in the next 10. I am in agreement with the use of YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, and live shows. Feel free to post any live shows that we should check out so we can be part of the change πŸ™‚

      Sarah Mac

  • Dan

    The statistics you pointed out in the beginning of the blog are some of the reasons that I don’t listen to Christian radio stations. It’s all about status quo. I would rather listen to good art than what’s marketed based on who knows who or payola.
    It’s sad, but so much of what’s played on radio (secular and christian) is just mediocre music for the mediocre masses. My iPod is full of great music though, so radio is unnecessary for me anyway.

  • Brian Palmer

    Hi Sarah,

    I enjoyed your latest CD, by the way, and was happy to review it for you. Hopefully it drove a bit of traffic to you and your craft. πŸ™‚

    Couldn’t agree more about most of your comments/sentiments here. In addition to most of today’s Christian music being bland or pure copycats of whatever musical trend is hot at the moment, another reason I dislike most of it is because it’s the same handful of artists over and over again. When I lived in Seattle/Tacoma years ago, I took to calling one of our Christian stations “Third Day Radio” because all that ever came on were their songs, or ones that Mac Powell was featured on (another tiring trend by the way…getting your song on the airwaves just because Mac performs on it). There are great artists everywhere who get no attention and it is a shame.

    Brooke Fraser and Audrey Assad are great. The gal I have been championing all year long is Brooke Annibale (www.BrookeAnnibale.com). Her latest album, Silence Worth Breaking, is the best album I have heard this year, and I’ve reviewed scores of albums for different publications this year so that’s saying something. Her wisdom and insights are uncommon for someone who is only 24 years old, and her vocals and musical arrangements are stunning in a variety of ways. She, like you, is the kind of gal who needs to be getting more exposure and I’ve been plugging her all over the place and have been getting some of my friends to join in the charge as well. In fact, we’re even getting close to arranging her being able to come out to the West Coast for some shows for the first time, so if you and others have artists you are passionate about then you need to get out there and make something happen. Email your friends, post interview and review links on your Facebook and Twitter pages, give those links to the artists so they can plug them to the people they know, email the different publications you read and see if they have any plans to review an artist’s latest album or interview them…anything to get them on their radar! It can be done folks, it just takes work! πŸ˜€

    • sarah macintosh

      Brian,

      thanks for the heads up on Brooke Annibale. I went and checked out her songs on her latest cd and instantly loved her voice. Looks like she used Paul Moak to produce her cd and you really can’t go wrong there either. I look forward to giving her cd more plays so I can let the music sink in.

      Thank you!
      Sarah Mac

      • Brian Palmer

        Hi Sarah,

        Great! I’m glad you liked her so much (not that I can blame you of course!). Yeah, she has mentioned Paul several times during interviews I have conducted with her and the impression she has given me is that he is a top-notch producer. Hope the music continues to stick with you!

        Cheers,
        Brian

  • Char

    I asked a program director this question at my local Christian radio station a couple of years ago. He said that more females listen to Christian radio than males and females preferred to listen to male singers. When they asked female listeners why they preferred to listen to male voices most said they had no preference, yet the songs with male voices always tested better than songs with female voices.

  • Josh Mac

    great thoughts here Sarah. Thanks for sharing and I’m checking out the artists you mentioned right now! -joshmac

  • Terrence

    I grew up listening to Christian radio(WCRF IN Cleveland,OH). My sister and I went to a private Christian school a little more than 20 minutes away from where we lived. We were always going to some sort of piano lesson,rehearsal or performance.We spent a lot of time in our car.Those rides were filled with the sounds of my mother’s choir rehearsal tapes and the songs that were played on the Christian radio station.I remember noticing that none of the music that was played on that channel resembled the gospel music that was being sung in the church I attended. I recognized the style of music played on the radio because it was very similar to the music sung in the chapel services of the charismatic Christian school we attended. At some point I noticed another difference:there were very few non-White artists played on Christian radio.I eventually asked my mom why this was the case. She didn’t really have an answer.

    Your post about the absence of female singers on Christian radio instantly reminded me of my feelings as a child.Christian radio,like a lot of other things with the word “Christian” in front of it,achieves some great things but it fails in some major areas.One area of failure is the ability to be diverse and really reflect what the Body of Christ and the world looks like. I love CCM music because I grew up surrounded by it in school and on the radio.I’ve spent a lot of time performing,singing,writing and listening to music that falls into the “Gospel” music category also. At this stage in my life,I’m more drawn to the CCM style of music(as well as country,bluegrass,and those artists who are hard to pin in one category) because of the way the songs are written.I often write songs in that style. But it is a little sad that,as an African-American male, I would probably not be played on the major Christian radio stations.I share that same problem with the many talented female artists you named(most of which I am familiar with and I listen to frequently).I share this problem with artists like Israel Houghton who has written some of the most sung church anthems over the past several years.I have never heard him played on Christian radio.I also share a problem with artist like Hillsong United,Gungor,and Leeland. I’ve never heard any of them on any Christian station.These are great,creative artists who put out music that inspires me and moves me to action,but it doesn’t seem to meet the other qualifications that rule Christian radio. I think that qualification is “sameness”.I even fault “Gospel radio” with this same type of thinking. Many churches that sing mostly Gospel music sing “How Great is Our God”,but you probably won’t hear Chris Tomlin’s version on Gospel radio.Why the division?

    I think it is a bad reflection on a Creator who clearly loves diversity. There are so many different types of flowers,animals,trees…and humans. We all create different songs and sounds and I think Christian radio should be different than other types of radio stations by not just focusing on the music representing one ethnicity,color,or gender.

    I’m 31 years old now and I still observe the same absence of diversity that I noticed as a child. Hopefully the radio my 14 month old son will listen to in the future will be different. Hopefully the Church,the Body of Christ and the world will be different.

    • sarah macintosh

      Terrence, what accurate thoughts on the diversity of Christian music vs. our Creator. I think of the diversity of music that I show my daughter and am sad that she wouldn’t be able to find that herself on a Christian radio station. Let’s put our small feet to work helping to change this!

      Sarah Mac

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