2010 in Review: Top 10 Southern Gospel News Stories

This year, instead of a somewhat subjective list of which news stories I think were most significant, let’s look at your list. Which stories did the highest numbers of you read?

Scientific precision is impossible, since several hundred people each day only read through an RSS reader, several hundred more get the posts by email, and of those of you who do come to the site, 3/4 or more only view the home page. But even though the remaining category, views of individual stories, constitute perhaps 1/10 of total traffic, it’s still a significant enough sample for a valid and interesting perspective.

(Just for comparison to the numbers below, the blog had 709,346 unique visits last year, about twice the previous year’s traffic, and these visits comprised somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the overall reach, with the email and RSS subscriptions comprising the rest of the number.)

Without further ado, here are the top 10:

  1. Tony Greene passes away (18,584 loads of the individual story, not counting the email, RSS, and main page views; ditto for #2-#10)
  2. Ryan Seaton leaves Signature Sound (9,953 loads)
  3. Tony Greene funeral video to be posted online (8,817 loads)
  4. A Hint: Guy Penrod to return to Gaither Vocal Band? (7,988 loads) — Yes, I am aware that this was a January 2009 story. These numbers solely measure how big it was in 2010.
  5. Penrod, Hall leave Gaither Vocal Band; Phelps, Lowry, English return (7,132 loads) — This just shows how big 2009’s biggest story was! People are still finding out about it for the first time, as the comments section shows!
  6. Tony Greene funeral arrangements announced (6,963 loads)
  7. Guy Penrod takes hiatus from GVB (6,627 loads) — Yes, a 2008 story. I know.
  8. The Bowlings in bad bus accident (4,936 loads)
  9. Tony Greene in ICU with collapsed lung (4,285 loads)
  10. Guy Penrod to join Inspirations (4,049 loads) — How on earth did an April Fools’ Day post—from 2008, no less—make the top 10?

Obviously, about half of the list is from stories big enough to run over several days. So let’s combine those, eliminate #10, and expand our list. Several of these cumulative totals contain views from follow-up posts that didn’t make the top 10.

  1. Tony Greene passes away (41,077 loads) — September 2010
  2. Penrod, Hall leave Gaither Vocal Band; Phelps, English, Lowry return (23,807 loads) — January 2009
  3. Ryan Seaton leaves Signature Sound (9,953 loads) — December 2009
  4. The Bowlings in bad bus accident (6,579 loads) — July 2010
  5. Gaither Thanksgiving DVD taping (2,925 loads) – July 2010
  6. George Younce’s daughter Dana Willis passes away (2,407 loads) — August 2009
  7. Aaron McCune leaves Gold City (2,341 views) — August 2009
  8. Josh Cobb leaves Gold City (2,191 views) — October 2010
  9. Gaither Vocal Band CD cover art, song list released (2,175 views) — May 2009
  10. Robbie Hiner back on the road (2,022 views) — February 2007 (!)

It is safe to say that 2010 was a slower news year than some when over half of the most read stories come from preceding years. (Keep in mind that we’re only counting 2010 views!)

This suggests the need for one final list. Eliminating stories that actually took place before 2010:

  1. Tony Greene passes away (41,077 loads) — September 2010
  2. The Bowlings in bad bus accident (6,579 loads) — July 2010
  3. Gaither Thanksgiving DVD taping (2,925 loads) – July 2010
  4. Josh Cobb leaves Gold City (2,191 loads) — October 2010
  5. 2010 Singing News Fan Awards Results (1,802 loads) – September 2010
  6. Priscilla McGruder in Hospice (1,590 loads) – April 2010
  7. Bruce Taliaferro leaves Gold City (1,576 loads) – December 2010
  8. Phil Collingsworth Brain Surgery (1,265 loads) – December 2010
  9. Craig West joins Gold City (1,252 loads) — December 2010
  10. Billy Hodges leaves Kingdom Heirs (1,234 loads) — October 2010

So the results are quite clear. You understandably want to know when someone passes away, or miraculously misses by a whisker. Besides that, though, you tolerate me writing about everyone else on the slow news days, but you really come by to read about all things Gaither, Gold City, and Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. The cat is now, officially, out of the bag!


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24 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Well, Daniel, add one to the Penrod/Inspos post. I missed it the first time and just read it.

    • Ha! 🙂 OK. It’s interesting how much interest that post has attracted over the years.

      I’d have to count your number toward 2011 stats, though!

  2. I couldn’t believe that recent comment there. Do we have a shaking-head smiley?

    I would say that final list was fairly accurate. It is skewed a hair, though, when we think about how long some stories have been up. (Hey Daniel, you don’t feel like weighting those stories by how many months they’ve been published, do you? 🙂 Thought not.) Phil Collingsworth’s surgery, for instance, was only announced a few weeks ago and already garnered enough attention to be on the top list.

    I also thought the thing about the taping might have been viewed so much because of the commenting. Or is that unique views? I didn’t think so.

    • Amy,

      I might be a geek, but I’m not enough of a statistician to pull THAT off! 🙂

      • OK, I’m gonna try it. Let’s see, I think I will simply divide the total number by how many months it’s been up to create a per-month view total. That shouldn’t be nearly as hard as my mind was originally reaching for.

        Never mind, I started through but then realized that’s not fair either – it knocked the MacGruder story way down towards the bottom of the list. It might be a measure of continuing interest, but that’s not necessarily the same as a big story. 🙁

        I guess the other way would simply be to gauge how many views the story had within, say, the first month after it was up. That’s all I can think of, and it probably wouldn’t change the results much. So I withdraw my suggestion!

      • OK, well, thanks for trying!

        Most of these stories had 90%+ of their views within the first month. The 2008 and 2009 stories are obvious exceptions, and Tony Greene’s has had a fair amount of ongoing views, too.

      • OK. It was just a thought that popped into my mind – I wasn’t really even serious at first. I thought it was a good representative list.

      • It’s interesting that using this objective method, instead of a purely subjective one, still produces a list that makes sense.

      • It had better be unique visits—I refresh whichever page comes up in the morning about umpteen times during the day because I always keep that tab open no matter what else I’m doing. 😀

      • Yes, it’s unique visits. If you stay on the site, it doesn’t count more than once.

  3. Guilty as charged. 😉

  4. The cat is out of the bag? I saw it running around and climbing trees for quite a while. 😆

  5. RE: Penrod. I’m guessing someone did a site search of Guy Penrod, and that was one of them that came up. The person also probably did not look at the date to see that 1) its from 2 years ago, and 2) it was on April 1st.

    • That was a great gag… 😀

      • I wouldn’t be surprised if a church member/attendee came across the info & passed it along to friends & fellow church families. Maybe saying something like, “Look what’s happened to the Inspirations.”

        This thing kicked off when the Gaither photo was exploited by 2 women nearly 4 years ago. A man in my church boycotted the Gaithers b/c of it.

        I’m not saying the talkative church member did cause those views (of the Penrod/Inspirations deal), but it would be interesting to see if it played some role.

        I agree with New SoGo Fan on it being a great gag! I’m looking forward to this year.. :O) (hint, hint..)

      • I agree. Even if “April Fools” were in bold, large print at the bottom, some people don’t read entire articles. Others just have a comprehension problem. 😉 When I hear such things (even if not on April 1) I tend to question, look elsewhere etc to make sure (especially when it sounds a bit off).

      • Good thinking there!

      • I have an incredibly awesome one in mind – but for this one, I’d need to get full cooperation from involved parties. So I am not sure whether it will be feasible!

      • Well, hopefully even if it doesn’t work out you will tell us what it was.

      • Well . . . I’d probably have to get permission even for that. This one’s just too on the edge to run or mention without permission!

      • Well, if you get Scott to run, I’ll vote for him. (Completely kidding around!)

  6. Still and all, it would be interesting to see which stories you did think personally were most significant… and how they compare with “our” choices. 😛

  7. OK, today’s post didn’t go up. Just so you know.

    • Ah, thanks. I hit the publish button, but WordPress must have messed up the date; it does that on occasion.