Bill Thrasher “Are Listeners Judgmental or Protecting the Brand?”
The following is rebuttal to Brant Hansen’s article Bing, Burl, and those judgmental Christians published 12-16-18.
A recent article on this site insinuated that Christian radio listeners are somehow being a little judgmental when they call the station commenting or complaining about secular music being played. While there is a lot of good secular music that is family-friendly and entertaining, the question shouldn’t be about tradition or nostalgia at Christmastime, but does secular music belong on Christian radio?
Some program managers and music directors might say, yes, because they are competing in the market to attract new listeners and thinking a little pop music during the holiday season might just do the trick. But is that good strategy for Christian radio? While there’s nothing wrong in wanting to attract new listeners shouldn’t the format remain spiritually relevant and divinely driven?
Market researchers friendly to Christian radio have consistently reported the #1 reason people choose Christian radio is that it is positive, uplifting, inspiring and provides content that enhances spiritual growth. While Burl’s song “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas” is a delightful tune for hayrides and neighborhood carol sings, does it belong on Christian radio? Imagine walking into your church’s worship on Christmas Sunday as worship breaks-outs singing “Jingle Bell Rock” or “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas”? Both are great songs but they have no value to enhance one’s spiritual growth.
While secular holiday music can add to the spirit of the season does it belong in worship or Christian radio? Shouldn’t music in the church and on Christian radio have redemptive value causing the hearer to be blessed and focus on what is from above and not what’s in the marketplace or pop culture? Christmas is about Jesus and not holly or jolly, mistletoe or such.
I have often told my staff that Christian radio should be like a church that never closes and a strong tower that people run to when they need to be encouraged and spiritually uplifted. While some listen for entertainment purposes most listen to be blessed!
I cannot tell you the number of listeners through the years who have called the station telling me that the song we just played, or the word of encouragement we just shared made a profound difference in that moment. People need the LORD and when they feel the need they often turn their radio dial to Christian radio looking for answers and spiritual comfort. I pray your station and my station would be playing a song or have someone behind the mic with a sensitive spirit to discern the need of the moment should such a person be listening. God truly does work in remarkable ways to rescue the perishing!
As Christians we are a peculiar people. Judgmental at times – YES! Complain when we should be silent – YES! But, when listeners call to comment or complain about the music we are playing or programming we air are they being judgmental – legalistic or protecting the brand they love? When they call don’t look at it from your perspective but look at it from theirs. Be humble and learn.
Being held accountable by listeners can be a healthy sign that they care enough to call – thank them – invite them to the station for a cup of coffee, a t-shirt and meet the staff. Be grateful because when they stop calling or writing is when you will become concerned.
Bill Thrasher can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org