Tidbits on the music and ministry of the Gospel Industry
Thursday, February 4, 2010
My Gospel Flava Column: Who Do You Represent? Are you believing your own HYPE? by Dr. Deb
A friend who is the music director (MD) of a secular station said to me recently, "Your gospel artists act worse than my secular artists."
After my stunned silence, she explained that of course, performers and label reps from both "sides" of the music world always ask to be placed in rotation. But lately, she had seen what I call "gospel artists gone wild."
She spoke of gospel music folks sending multiple, snarky emails. "Obviously you don't know who I am" is what one person wrote when their artist's song was not placed in the line up. If this MD really knew what she was doing, the writer continued, she would have this award winning gospel singer in rotation. (Never mind that the MD had never heard of the performer or the award in question...)
There were threats of retaliation of various kinds from other artists and reps if the MD failed to give them a slot on the regular play list, and some even tried to pressure the MD's colleagues at other stations into making the case for their inclusion.
Another MD told me that artists tried various intimidation tactics which, while they were to no avail, did nothing to reflect individuals who were representing Christ. Hence my friend's comment.
Most of us would love to have the kind of success that gives us exposure to the mainstream. Generally, that means more opportunities to witness on a grander scale and, if the truth be told, access to more revenues. But HOW we seek to gain that exposure says everything about who we are and who we represent.
So, by all means, ask to be considered for secular airplay. There is nothing wrong with great aspirations. But ask without threatening, insulting, or resorting to any form of intimidation. (And please don't offer money or drugs. That is not only immoral; it's illegal!)
Remember WHOSE you are and that every time you fire off an email, leave a voice mail laced with borderline profanity, or act as if you are entitled to airplay on the secular stations, you are witnessing, but not in a way that honors Christ.
Please resist the urge to do anything that would make a music director say, "Your gospel artists act worse than my secular artists."
Deborah Smith Pollard, Ph.D., is the host and producer of "Strong Inspirations", a weekly Gospel radio show airing Sundays, 8 to 10 AM on FM 98 WJLB in Detroit, Michigan, won the prestigious Stellar Award for "Announcer Of The Year" in 2005, and authored the book "When The Church Becomes Your Party". Smith Pollard writes "Static Free" for GOSPELflava.com, a regularly-appearing column in which she addresses all and any matters relating to Gospel radio.
Author, motivational speaker and university professor Deborah Smith Pollard, Ph.D., first attracted national attention when she was named Gospel Announcer of the Year during the 20th annual Stellar Awards, called The Grammys of Gospel Music.
Pollard is a recognized expert on contemporary gospel music with a knowledge base that is the result of her dual career: Associate Professor of English Literature and Humanities at University of Michigan-Dearborn and award-winning gospel radio announcer Sunday mornings, 6-10 AM, on FM 98 WJLB, Detroit's top rated station for young adults.
She has published both academic and popular articles on various aspects of gospel music.
Her book, When the Church Becomes Your Party: Contemporary Gospel Music (Wayne State University Press 2008, includes chapters on praise and worship in the urban church, gospel musical stage plays, the changing dress code in gospel music and the Black church, women gospel announcers and holy hip hop/Christian rap.