Christmas Programming on SG Radio

Christmas is the one time of year when secular stations add Christian songs into their playlists. This is a valuable open door, since it’s the one time of year when people, no matter what station or style they prefer, will be hearing songs with a clear Gospel message.

But is it an open door that those of us in Southern Gospel aren’t using to full advantage? Because just as Christmas is the one time of year when secular stations play Christian songs, it’s also the one time of year when Christian stations play secular songs. My local stations’ playlist—and, during the nights, Solid Gospel’s national feed—are, if my spot-checking is any accurate indicator, over half secular right now. And I’m not talking about a Legacy Five or Gaither Vocal Band cover, either; I’m talking about early or original renditions from 50s and 60s crooners.

When stations do their annual Share-a-thons (their annual fund-raising drives), they will discuss what an opportunity having Gospel music on the airwaves provides for sharing the Gospel. I am not necessarily making the case that it’s a sin to sing or play a secular song; that’s a discussion for another day. I am making this case: In this season, which is our culture’s biggest open door to hearing the Gospel message, wouldn’t we be better off making the most of it, and focusing on the songs that carry that message—with those strong lyrics and power harmonies that make our genre unique?

My wish for SG fans this Christmas would be for Sheri Easter to write a book.

She seemed to inspire so many, including me, by blogging about her journey through cancer. I have always enjoyed hearing Sheri write or speak about anything. She truly has a gift of words. I think people would enjoy reading a book from her.


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8 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. Daniel, you are spot on it with this topic. I listen to Solid Gospel daily, as well as a couple other local stations, and this year it seems like there is more secular Christmas music than ever being played.

    If there were not quality southern gospe Christmas albums out there, I would keep silent, because I think the quality has to be a part of it. But I can think of literally 2 dozen Christmas albums right off the top of my head that are great quality that I have either yet to hear a song from or they have only played one song off of.

    Now I am all for all kinds of traditional Christmas music and I love the secular ones, too. But this topic is about radio missing a great opportunity to spread the gospel even more while showcasing our talented southern gospel groups, and you are right. Our SG artists have made more than enough quality Christmas albums with religious songs to fill the play lists during this season without help from the secular world.

    • “But this topic is about radio missing a great opportunity to spread the gospel even more while showcasing our talented southern gospel groups, and you are right. Our SG artists have made more than enough quality Christmas albums with religious songs to fill the play lists during this season without help from the secular world.”

      I couldn’t have put it better!

  2. Daniel, are you sitting down? I agree with you! 🙂

    Tune in to almost any radio station right now and you can hear any number of renditions of “Winter Wonderland” and “The Christmas Song.” Therefore, if you happen upon a Christian station – particularly an sg one – you would think that there would NOT be more of the same. *sigh*

    “Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free.”
    “Mild, He lays His glory by; born that man no more may die…”
    “Yet in thy dark streets shineth the Everlasting Light…”

    Merry Christmas

    • I’m sure there’s more we agree on, too, but I’m glad we do agree on this one! 🙂

  3. Exactly right, Daniel! This echoes my previous argument for keeping the Gospel in what passes for Gospel music because we need to redeem the time given us. It’s been a long-time annoyance to me that so many Gospel stations feel the need to play so many secular Christmas songs this time of year. You and your responders said it quite well.

    • Paul, it is a huge honor that my favorite DJ would comment on this story. Thank you!

  4. Couldn’t agree more Daniel, and the fact that Paul Heil posted and agrees as well gives it that much more “punch”! 🙂

  5. This is kind of a delicate issue. I don’t listen to SG radio, so I’m in the least qualified position to give an educated opinion on this sort of thing. I can speak only from the experience I’ve had listening to my local CCM station at Christmas. The fact is that much of the music they play on my station from CCM artists during Christmas time is so awful that I would gladly welcome Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” as a substitute. And I don’t mean that the music wasn’t good because it was secular. I heard poor music even on the carols. So I guess what I’m noticing here is more a CCM vs. SG issue than a secular vs. sacred issue. Ultimately I would have to agree with Daniel. If there truly is enough quality sacred stuff to keep SG stations going through Christmas (and I would trust Daniel and the other people who are commenting here that there is), then that should form the bulk of what gets played. I wouldn’t mind a little Bing now and again, but don’t make that sort of thing compose almost half your playlist, for goodness sake!

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