The Singing News just posted an open letter to readers on their site. The Fan Awards will once again be held at Dollywood, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011. Additionally, the Singing News is taking a larger role in sponsoring Dollywood’s month-long SG/Harvest Celebration during October. The letter makes a particular emphasis that the SN is trying think more creatively, and use more “out of the box” methods to market SG to more potential listeners.
Also mentioned is an “olive branch” of sorts between the SN and NQC. The two entities will be joining forces for a new showcase at NQC ’11. The only details are the promise that it “will incorporate an exciting and unprecedented interactive element between Southern Gospel fans and their favorite artists.” How this will come about isn’t mentioned in the letter, but details are promised later. The NQC is also listed as a sponsor of the Fan Awards at Dollywood.
UPDATE: The NQC just sent out a press release that mentions that the new showcase will feature nominees from the major categories of the Fan Awards. They will also be conducting a “straw poll” of NQC attendees regarding the Fan Awards. How they will do it or what they will do with the results hasn’t been revealed yet. Whatever comes of it, it’s going to be interesting.
There are some vague references to “other initiatives” that the Singing News will be spearheading through the year. Could this be an attempt to drag the SG industry into the 2010s? It sure sounds like the SN is trying to take the bull by the horns and bring this industry up to par with other music genres. We will have to wait and see, talk is cheap, but it’s promising to say the least.
It seems to me that the new owners of the Singing News have been biding their time, and trying to build up as much goodwill as possible within the industry and with the fans before making major changes. We’ve started to see them, with updated graphic designs on the magazine’s cover, a relaxing of the “standards” that kept groups like the Gaither Vocal Band off the cover previously, and most significantly, a move of the majority of the SN office folks from Boone, NC to Nashville. I have to think that we are going to start seeing more drastic changes as the “honeymoon period” of the ownership change winds down. Whether all this works to expand and update the SG industry won’t be known for a while, but I’d rather see the attempts being made than to just be content with the status quo.