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 site and Singing 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 and 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.


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