My Thoughts On enLighten

First let me say this: We are XM subscribers solely because of enLighten.  That is the one and only reason we subscribed to the service.  A little back story: Back in November, our little family SUV finally gave up the ghost (it WAS 8 years old), and we’d finally outgrown it with 3 kids.  So we ended up purchasing a minivan.  While I knew the van had XM capability, what I did not know until we got a phone call from Sirius XM in January was that we had a 3 month free preview of their service.  We missed out on 2 of the 3 months, but we were able to listen for the month of January.  Obviously, I immediately tuned the station to enLighten, and we never changed it for any appreciable amount of time (my wife revolted when I tried to turn on the classic jazz or smooth jazz channels).  When our preview ended, we went about 2 weeks without the XM service again.  Then one day my wife called me and said “I miss having my enLighten in the car.”  So we subscribed.  That was mid February.  We’ve now had service for 2 or 3 months.

enLighten overall does a good job.  They do play a fairly good mix of recent songs and classics, and their classics even go back to the 50s and 60s.  That’s a nice plus, it’s good to hear the Blackwood Brothers and the Speers and other great groups from SG’s early days.  They play a lot of current hit songs as well, it’s fairly easy to hear Gold City’s “Peter, James, and John” or the Booth Brothers’ “She Still Remembers Jesus’ Name.”  I’ve finally gotten to hear songs and artists that due to the lack of SG radio in this area, I’ve only heard about via blogs.  Again, we liked the station enough to spend the money to subscribe, and we are very picky about adding on any additional monthly bills.  So obviously it has made a good impression on us.

There is one area though that I feel the station can improve on, and that still has to do with airplay selection.  Some of the songs we hear on there just aren’t up to snuff in quality.  While I’ve heard very little of what I would consider to be poor quality recordings, I’ve heard a significant amount of what would be considered mediocre to average.  I’ve heard many songs by artists that we’ve never heard of, and while introducing new artists is a good thing, I’ve frequently cringed at what’s come on the radio.  Another blogger shared his thoughts a while back, and I don’t remember for sure who it was (DBM maybe?), but made the point that enLighten, with the explosion of satellite radio, is in a position to be a flagship of sorts for the SG genre, and because of that they should only play the highest quality music.  I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment.  Playing up and coming artists is great, and we have a lot of good ones, with groups like Tribute, the Crist Family, the Dills, Freedom, and others.  Those groups, while not as widely known or popular, put out recordings that are of sufficient quality as to represent SG well to a wide audience.  I’ve heard other groups on the channel that aren’t there yet.

So to Marlin and the enLighten crew, keep up the good work, and please consider the above as the purely constructive criticism that it is.  We enjoy our enLighten, and want it to be the best representation of Southern Gospel music that it could possibly be.  Thanks for your efforts, and we’ll keep listening!


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