Singing News To Debut New Weekly Chart

The Singing News has announced that starting in January, they will be reporting a weekly radio chart in addition to the monthly chart.  The new weekly chart will be solely available online, and the monthly chart will still be the printed chart in the magazine.  The weekly chart will also be based solely on their stations that report actual spins.

It will be interesting to watch the dynamic between the two charts.  Not only in the speed of singles moving up and down, but also the peak positions for singles.  It would be interesting, for example, to see a song sit atop the weekly chart for 2-3 weeks, but then never crack the top 3 on the monthly chart due to the differences in the reporting.  Either way, I’m glad to see this development.  I hope that they make the weekly chart available to non-subscribers and subscribers alike.

SN Fan Awards Remaining At Dollywood; SN & NQC Announce New Showcase

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.

Singing News Favorite Cover

The Singing News is running a contest to determine their all time favorite cover.  Preliminary voting runs until March 1, and in this first round you are to vote for your top 5 covers.  Check it out!

Singing News Curse 2010

One of the common jokes about SG is that we have our own version of the NFL’s “Madden Curse”, the “Singing News Curse.”  With just one cover left for the year, let’s review the status of the curse for the year, shall we?

  • January: Dixie Echoes (Pat Barker departs)
  • February: Crist Family (no changes)
  • March: Brian Free & Assurance (Randy Crawford departs)
  • April: Greater Vision (Jacob Kitson departs)
  • May: Hoppers (no changes)
  • June: McKameys (no changes)
  • July: Mark Trammell Quartet (no changes)
  • August: Gold City (Roy Webb, Josh Cobb depart)
  • September: Blackwood Brothers (no changes)
  • October: Kingdom Heirs (Billy Hodges departs)
  • November: Booth Brothers (no changes)
  • December: ????

Unless my math skills have dulled over the years, that’s 5 out of 11.  It’s interesting to note of the groups that haven’t had changes, 3 are primarily family based groups, which tend to experience less turnover by nature, and one has been in existence less than a year (Mark Trammell Quartet).  That leaves us with two established non-family groups that have been stable since their cover appearance, and 5 that have experienced changes.  I’d say the curse is still alive and well!

NOTE:  This post is solely intended to be read in a good-natured, tongue-in-cheek manner.  If you have not read it as such, please check the batteries in your sarcasm meter.  :-)

Salem Announces Southern Gospel TV and Singing News TV

In the latest email newsletter from Salem/Singing News, they have announced new sections on both the SouthernGospel.com site and Singing News.com site:  Southern Gospel TV and Singing News TV.  Here is the pertinent information from the email:

Singing News TV and Southern Gospel TV will be bringing you exclusive and classic videos from the Southern Gospel world. From candid moments to backstage intereviews to old and new concert footage, you’ll find video here that you won’t find anywhere else!

You can find Southern Gospel TV here, and Singing News TV here.  They are NOT just mirror sites of the same content, actually Southern Gospel TV has a LOT of videos linked, while Singing News TV just has one video from the Songfest in Jackson, TN last month.

This has the potential that it could become very huge, and is a GREAT means of potentially expanding the SG universe.  I would like to see the sites broken out into their own domains, I think it would be very advantageous to grab southerngospeltv.com and singingnewstv.com as the sites grow.  It isn’t mentioned anywhere, but it appears that Southern Gospel TV will be focused primarily on concert/performance footage, while Singing News TV will be primarily interviews/behind the scenes footage.

Again, I think this is a great step forward for Southern Gospel as a whole.

SN Cover Trivia

Nate brought something interesting to my attention this morning via email.  The Singing News cover artist for July is the Mark Trammell Quartet.  This means that Pat Barker has now been on the SN cover twice this year, but with two different groups (Dixie Echoes in January, MTQ in July).  Off the top of my head, I can’t come up with another singer who has graced the cover of the magazine with multiple groups in the same year.  Can any of you?

Major Changes At Singing News

The Singing News and its parent company, Salem Communications, have announced some fairly sweeping changes that are coming over the next few months.  The details are all in the article, but the gist of it is this:  the Singing News offices are relocating from Boone, NC to Nashville, TN.  Salem is moving their headquarters to Nashville from nearby Brentwood, TN as well.  Jerry Kirksey is remaining in Boone and will become the editor emeritus of the magazine.  Danny Jones is (I assume since it isn’t exactly specified) moving to Nashville and will become editor in chief.  There are several other personnel moves outlined in the article, but one of the most interesting is Les Butler becoming the “Executive Brand Manager – Southern Gospel Properties.”  It sounds as if Salem is trying to tie the SN more closely to their Solid Gospel radio network, as Butler will be dealing with both areas.

In terms of the business side of this, I’m sure in this economic environment, it makes MUCH more sense for Salem to consolidate their subsidiaries instead of having offices strewn all across the South.  What remains to be seen is the environmental change that all of this will bring to the table.  Kirksey will apparently be doing “special projects” for the SN, while Jones assumes the day to day responsibilities for the magazine.  Just simply moving the offices from Boone to Nashville will create a new culture for the magazine.  It will be quite interesting as this transition is made over the next few months to see how this all pans out.  I’m also not sure how the SN charting will change with the magazine becoming more closely tied to Solid Gospel radio.   That may be an interesting side note to all of these changes.  One way or the other, I’d imagine we’re in for some pretty major changes with the industry’s leading publication.

Singing News Fan Awards Moving To Dollywood

According to this press release from the Singing News this morning, the Singing News Fan Awards are leaving the National Quartet Convention, and moving to Dollywood to be held in conjunction with the SGMA Hall Of Fame Induction ceremony.  Here is a quote from the press release:

“The National Quartet Convention has been gracious in sharing their time and facilities with us for four decades,” says Jones. “We will continue to support that grand tradition of Southern Gospel music even as we look forward to our move. We will continue to have one of the largest booths at NQC as well as expanded editorial coverage, pre and post convention.”

I know that the Singing News has been trying several different things to “spice up” the Fan Awards in recent years, from changing the awards presented, to limiting the time on acceptance speeches.  None, however, present the paradigm changing scope like this move does.  However, it has always seemed to me that for such a huge event in the SG landscape, the coverage provided in the SN for the convention was a bit sparse.  I’m sure that having to try and deal with the logistics of the Fan Awards took up quite a bit of SN staffers’ time during that week.  I would imagine, as the quote above states, that not having to deal with the awards show would free up quite a bit of time that can be devoted to the convention and it’s goings on, along with the wave of personnel changes that seem to occur every year around NQC.  Still, one can only wonder at the internal forces and discussions that had to have gone on during the discussions about this move.  The Fan Awards have always been more or less the climax of the convention, and will leave a pretty big hole in the week.  It will be interesting to see what the NQC board comes up with as the flagship event of the week now.

The 2010 Singing News Fan Awards are scheduled to be held on September 29, 2010 at the DP Celebrity Theater in Dollywood.  Tickets will go on sale on March 1.  This is surely not the last we will hear of this story, I’m sure there will be more developing, especially from the NQC’s side of the equation.

Singing News Back Issues

The Singing News now has back issues available in their online store. (hat tip, Brandon)  This is a great move by the Singing News to make these issues available.  However, be prepared to shell out some money if you are looking to get issues from very far back.  While there are spotty amounts of issues going all the way back to 1970, current year back issues are $5, last year is $8, and the prices continue to go up the farther back you go.  Want the May, 1983 issue (which is reportedly the first in a true magazine format with Kelly Nelon Thompson on the cover)?  Be prepared to pay $58.  The prices seem a bit exorbitant, but if that’s what the market will bear, more power to the SN.  I personally expect that they will have to revisit their prices before they get much business out of it, but it will be interesting to watch and see how sales go.  I may be surprised, who knows.

New Singing News Site To Release May 1

For a while now, Singing News/Salem has held the rights to http://www.southerngospel.com.  Until a few weeks ago, the site was basically a mirror of the SN site.  Then a month or so ago, there was a change on the southerngospel.com site with a radically different design, but similar content as the SN main site.  Now the SN is previewing a new site design which, ironically enough, is the exact same as what was on southerngospel.com.  It’s going to be a pretty drastic design change when it takes effect on May 1, so I’d check out the new site while it’s available for testing to feel your way around the new navigation structure.

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