Christian Rock Resurrects Faith in Music Radio

Recently I had coffee with a friend and fellow music lover and the conversation turned to radio and musical offerings in general. The discussion referenced areas I have written about previously including sound-alike stations and music often not fit for family listening. I’ve discovered an alternative, I alerted my friend.

Tired of the same old holiday music this past season I did a bit of button pushing during my many treks to and from evening events. Invariably, I kept ending up on a frequency I was aware of but had never frequented that offered fresh, uplifting music with great melodies and lyrics: 103.5 “The Light.” I’ve been hooked ever since.

While I attended Catholic grade school and am a believer, I am far from a bible-thumping zealot; I try to live life the right way. I also appreciate great music. It would appear I’m not alone: The Recording Industry of America reports that religious music, which accounted for 2.5 percent of total music sales in 1990, has risen to as high as 6.7 percent in the past five years. Radio further, is continuing to expand its reach. Houston’s KSBJ, for example, has grown from 119,000 listeners in 1991 to 600,000 today. Nationally, three major companies dominate the AC-flavored Christian radio landscape, including K-LOVE, which is heard on 243 different frequencies in 41 states.

From A/C to Rock to Rap, this genre is a breath of fresh air. Listen for yourself: Red is rock akin to Linkin Park and Breaking Benjamin; Matthew West’s sound is Dunkin Sheik meets David Cook; and JJ Heller is as good as anything Lilith Fair has ever produced.

As a former music programmer and air personality, I would love to see some of this stuff “cross-over” (ala Amy Grant or Creed) to more mainstream radio and a greater audience. Impossible? Perhaps its time we all got a little religion.