Radio and CCM
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Author:  paulrace [ Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Radio and CCM

A reader writes:

I have been disappointed in not being able to find any substantive information about the role of radio in creating the success of Contemporary Christian music. It is an interesting history I would think. I worked for KBRN in Denver, which I believe was one of the first stations to broadcast CCM. I was there in the early 80's . . . . We played music in morning drive and when they hired me it was to add afternoon drive to the mix. The music was surrounded by Talk programs and it struck me as ironic that most of them were condemning the music. My show was followed by Marilyn Hickey who was especially vehement. The station would often receive bomb threats. But the best story I remember happened not long after I started there. I had just read a book that I greatly enjoyed and I was telling Keith about it. It was written by someone named Bob Larson. Keith laughed and said that Bob was one of the worst critics of CCM. I just couldn't believe that
. I did a little research and discovered that his headquarters was in the Denver area and I decided I would try to enter the Lion's Den. Somehow I managed to get an appointment to see him. During our time together I felt especially inspired in speaking about the music and at the end of our time, he had agreed to meet with Keith Whipple. Shortly after that meeting he softened his stand against the music, although, as you pointed out in your article, that did little to keep others from using his words against it. I'm sure there must be many other interesting stories from early DJ's.

---------Our comments -------------------Feel free to add your own below -------------

Thanks for getting in touch. I will definitely be keeping your notes. Here in southwest Ohio, CCM didn't hit the radio stations until about 2005, so I definitely can't relate to your experiences.

I assume you're familiar with Paul Baker/Frank Edmonton who was a Christian broadcaster in the 1970s and wrote the book "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music"?

His book is long out of print, and very uneven in "journalistic" quality, but it's still the best resource for certain kinds of information.

The same fellow has also been active in religous broacasting, including CCM under various names

God bless - Paul

Author:  paulrace [ Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Radio and CCM

As a follow-up regarding radio, here are some quotes from Paul Baker's book about various Jesus Music radio shows.

(In the 1968-1969 timeframe)
In the small berg of Freeville, New York, an ex-rock disk jockey from New York City, Scott Ross, was celebrating his discovery of Christ by broadcasting a radio show on five New York stations from Buffalo to Albany. Ross also founded ''Love Inn,'' an old barn which had been converted in more ways than one. The renovated barn became one of the earlier Christian communities of the Jesus movement.

(With Pat Robertson's help ) By early 1970 the [Scott Ross] show was on sixteen radio stations. The list grew at a rapid pace. Young people were getting their first taste of Jesus-music radio, with a show featuring a combination of top secular hits and Jesus rock.

Regarding Paul Baker/Frank Edmonton (narrating this quote):
The year 1970 was the premiere year of another nationally syndicated Jesus music show, the year I began broadcasting ''A Joyful Noise.'' The dream of broadcasting a show of Christian pop music had been born while I worked with chapel youth groups in the service overseas. I had found a few songs which alluded to God, such as ''Hymn'' and ''Tramp on the Street'' on Peter, Paul & Mary's Late Again album, and was excited about the possibility that there might be more songs of that type.
As soon as I returned home from the service, I began visiting record sections of department stores, scavenging for any Christian folk or rock music I could find. In April I contacted a friend who worked for a rock-and-roll station in the Tampa area, where I lived. I asked him if he would assist me in producing a sample show in which I would feature the best pop songs about God I could find.
We both found it an exciting prospect. The first step was getting the records to play. At the radio station where my friend worked, there were two giant cardboard boxes full of ''trash'' records—the hundreds of 45 singles which WFSO chose not to broadcast. They were generally saved to give away as contest prizes. For me, they were much more important than any contest prize I could ever win. I hoped there would be a few God-oriented records among the box-loads, because they were just what I needed.
The search went on for hours. Each title of each song was scrutinized for any reference, direct or indirect, to God. Surprisingly, they began showing up. ''Good Morning, God,'' ''Streets of Gold''—they weren't ''biggies'' like the smash hits they were playing in the radio studio one door down, but who cared? They were building a repertoire for my first show! ''Down on My Knees,'' ''God Grows His Own''—likely and unlikely titles from a stack of rock records.
Then I picked up two Capitol singles which were in a stack together. The first was by Pat Boone, entitled ''Now I'm Saved,'' and the second was one by a singer named Larry Norman, entitled
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''Sweet Sweet Song of Salvation.'' Pretty bold Christian titles for pop records on a label such as Capitol!
I ran into the production room and reviewed each likely candidate I found. By the time I got to Larry Norman, I knew I had latched onto something. Never before had I heard such a raspy, rock-and-roll, and totally unchurchy voice singing such an obviously Christian song. As heretical as my reasoning would seem to some people, I knew I had found just the right ingredients of a shocking new form of Christian radio!
I was anxious to record my first show with these records no one had wanted. I put them with the hit Jesus songs I already had—''Jesus Is a Soul Man,'' ''Jesus Is Just Alright,'' ''Oh Happy Day,'' and a few others—and recorded the first show. . . .
Through the help of Herb Hunt at rock station WLCY in St. Petersburg, ''A Joyful Noise'' hit the air on a Sunday morning only a few weeks later. The first all-Jesus-rock radio show, featuring nothing but songs about the Lord and his teachings, was a reality.
Other rock stations got word of the show. Residents of Wichita, Oklahoma City, Denver, Nashville, Richmond, and Indianapolis were soon hearing Jesus-rock music on their favorite rock stations each Sunday morning. There were so few records at the start, each week I would play many of the same ones, rotating them into a different order to make the show sound fresh. For a while ''A Joyful Noise'' featured the top 10 Jesus-music records each week, only because there were only ten Jesus-music records.

Regarding Scott Campbell:
Any discussion of pioneer Jesus-music radio should include the early broadcasting ventures of people such as Scott Campbell. Scott
began a show of contemporary Christian music in 1968 on KARI in Blaine, Washington. KARI was a Christian station, and Scott recalls, ''I played everything I could get my hands on that was good, contemporary Christian music.''

Regarding John Styll:
John Styll's radio show ''Hour of Praise'' on KGER was the pioneer Jesus-music show in Southern California. . . . Since May 10, 1974, John Styll had broadcast ''Hour of Praise'' on KGER in Long Beach. . . . Just before ''Hour of Praise'' ended its year run on KGER, speculation began about what was happening at KYMS in Santa Ana. Finally the news was announced: KYMS was going to change from secular rock music to contemporary Christian music—one of the first stations in America to do so.
On March 15, 1975, KYMS, ''the Orange 106,'' became the ''Spirit of 106.'' Arnie McClatchey, station manager for KYMS in its first several years, recalled the public's reaction. ''The sound on the air excited the young, Christian populace of Orange Country,'' he remembered. ''KYMS quickly became their station, freely playing the Jesus music which had been impossible to hear on radio before, except for an hour or so each day.''

Regarding KBHL:
Only nine days before KYMS' debut as a contemporary Christian radio station, Larry King and several associates had introduced KBHL-FM, ''The Sound of the New Life,'' to Lincoln, Nebraska. . . . It wasn't long until the station began sponsoring contemporary Christian concerts by 2nd Chapter of Acts, Barry McGuire, and other well-known artists.

1975 on:
As record companies began producing more product, more radio stations were able to go on the air with full-time contemporary Christian music—stations such as WINQ in Tampa/St. Petersburg, KBRN in Brighton/Denver, KFKZ in Greeley/Ft. Collins, KQLH in San Bernardino, KBIQ in Seattle, WYCA in Hammond/Chicago, and numerous others who joined the Jesus-music radio pioneers. There were more and more newspapers and magazines giving attention to contemporary Christian music, too. Gospel Trade, Singing News, Harmony, Cashbox, Record World, Billboard, and Contemporary Christian Music all featured articles and charts on Jesus music.

It was a sort of ''two steps forward, one step back'' year for contemporary Christian radio, with five top contemporary stations dropping their Jesus-music airplay to assume other formats. That in itself left several cities without a contemporary Christian voice.

Regarding Gord Driver:
Sounds of Triumph was a newspaper published as an adjunct to a Jesus-rock radio program hosted and produced by Gord Driver in Toronto, Ontario, published in the late seventies.

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