Thursday, September 10, 2009

Living At The Intersection Of Virtue and Meaning

Radio-Info's Sean Ross plans to tell the now completely-sold-out Christian Music Broadcasters convention tomorrow in Orlando that “Family friendly” is a position Christian ACs own by default.

He claims that Christian AC stations are diverging further from the formats they tend to share with, like country, noting that over the last four years country’s lyrics and attitude have changed so that using a positioner like “safe for the whole family” is no longer a good fit and if country stations edit out the slightly-objectionable words in some songs (pulling “ass” out of Zac Brown’s hit named “Toes”), they’re apt to get listener complaints.

While Country Music Association-funded research absolutely indicates that our listeners are driven by music's ability to give meaning to their lives and virtue is an important attribute to them, there is no indication - i.e. last week's "" top ten ranking of country listeners favorite new music shows that those who "love" Brown's current hit outnumber the ones in country's audience who dislike it, three to one (click on the graphics to enlarge them).

Country music's strength is its sonic and lyrical variety. The narrower competing genres become, the larger our opportunity for growth as we reflect real life and values in all of its negatives, positives, temptations, joys, loves and hates.

Here's hoping we never lose that historical advantage!


Facebook Thread said...

Morgan Thomas

GREAT article. These are real growing pains that the country format is dealing with and those of us who are fans of the format. The business person in me knows you have to move with the times and play what is current to stay competitive, but I AM a Mom first and I don't want my 11 yr old singing bad words in any song or suggestive lyrics, even if it is a country song. I have to say when those songs come on I go to my Ipod.

Rik Mikals
we are danged if we do and danged if we don't (being famliy-safe on the FB) but country radio has to grow has mass appeal and keeping our head in the sand isn't going to stop progress...but as a programmer I did struggle with adding Toes but the listeners will tell you what they want...and you can't deny a HIT!

Dan Baker
It's a hit that's catchier than anything on Christian AC today, and one the kids sing along with in the car...even if they don't know's a song that parents shudder to think their children will burst out in joyful song in the supermarket queue and say that word...that word that's been around as long as that bible that's getting an ... Read Moreextra thumping...even Jesus said "ye shall come to me as children"...enjoy the song like the kids do and everybody wins...I don't recall any fuss about anyone's kids singing "I'm gonna marry for money"....

Jay Richards
Did a quick poll of listeners thoughts on Toes, and one Mom had a great comment. She said, "I don't have a problem with ass. When Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy came on the radio, I was taking my seven year olds to baseball, they were in the backseat bopping away. One of them asked what Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy meant? I told them they were giving each other piggy back rides!" That comment kept me smiling all day. Not one listener polled (completely informal) had a problem with it.

Danny Wright said...

Since the beginning of recorded music, this has been an issue. I'm surprised at how many songs have lyrics about "making love" and we all know what that means while one PG word will send some off in a tizzy. I'm not crazy about the word "ho" in Cheater, Cheater - especially coming from two avowed Christians. But my kid can not get through life without hearing some bad words, seeing some ugly stuff. So if it fits the song and isn't TOO far astray - let 'er rip. When you come right down to it, I'd rather have my kid hear the word "ass" than "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die".
A great song but he can wait to hear that - it still bothers me (in a good, artistic way) to this day. Thoughts?