Are the charts too slow or too fast?
Prevailing wisdom can be interesting—especially when it is contradictory.
What does Southern Gospel radio need?
Quite a few fans will answer that radio needs a chart that moves faster. The Singing News’ monthly Radio Airplay chart is widely recognized as the industry standard. Right now, a #1 hit will often take 5-7 months climbing the chart to attain the top position. Other genres’ charts are updated weekly, so songs can climb charts in 6 weeks instead of 6 months. These fans will tell you that radio needs to cycle through singles more quickly to offer more fresh content to keep audiences’ attention.
(In point of fact, Singing News does offer a weekly radio airplay chart, here, but perhaps since it’s only visible to subscribers, it hasn’t developed into an industry standard. Other publications, like AbsolutelyGospel, also offer weekly charts, but no weekly chart has overtaken Singing News’ in terms of recognition.)
But keep asking that same question to others, and quite a few other fans will give you a contradictory response. Back in the good old days, when a song hit #1, it would often stay #1 for 3-6 months. Landmark songs would stay #1 for 9 months or more. So you would see fewer songs in the top 20, but you would hear them for long enough that you would certainly remember them by the time the next #1 came along. These fans would tell you that if truly landmark songs stayed #1 for longer, radio would be all the better for it.
So who is right?
Particularly insightful responses from each side will be considered for tomorrow’s “Letters to the Editor” column.