More on charting

Two views. One from the inside (Kyle) …

It’s much ado about nothing. I’m not sure why everyone is getting all worked up over something that is essentially “manufactured news.” What Mr. Catoe claims to have done in falsifying his charts is nothing new to southern gospel or any other genre. The SN weeded out a large number of charting stations not long ago for sending in false reports. Mr Catoe has just saved them some trouble for the next phase.

We’ve went round and round about the airplay charts before on averyfineline, and this trip down memory lane doesn’t add anything new to the discussion.

As has been discussed before, the only true way to get a true airplay chart is to have a listening service (there are a couple of them) that monitors station airplay and record spins. But, before those services pick up southern gospel, there needs to parties willing to subscribe to the data. So far, that hasn’t happened.

And, as has been discussed before, airplay charts only show what’s popular at a given station. The true test is the sales chart from the local bookstores.

… and one from the outside, sort of

Is sg radio truly this hokey? When I was a dj at a ccm station in the late 80s and early 90s, we reported to CCM Magazine charts. Our Music Director determined which songs to add as new each week, which songs to keep in heavy rotation, which songs to have as recurrents, etc. Then he entered them into a fairly simple computer program and printed out assigned playlists for every hour of the day. Djs could play requests occasionally, but not more than one an hour, and we had to record them on a “request” sheet (as well as which song on the playlist we skipped) and the MD would keep track of them. The computer compiled the list of songs that we submitted to CCM Magazine. This is basic to professional radio branding and formatting, and for providing consistency to listeners.

As far as sg radio goes, I only get Solid Gospel and there aren’t many sg stations here in central Indiana–so I admit general ignorance about the current state of sg radio. Is sg radio so hokey that each dj chooses what he/she wants to play, without any guidance from a Music Director? If so, then no wonder so many people complain about sg radio playing trash.

Contrary to what the overly-superspiritual joyful-noisers have been saying, there is a very good reason why having a RELIABLE chart is important. In order to run a successful business, retailers need to know what is popular and what is not so they know what and how much to order for their inventory. Concert promoters need to have a reasonable idea of who is currently popular so that they can make responsible decisions about who to book for concerts, and how many tickets they can expect to sell–i.e., whether a given artist will have enough draw to pay the flats. Artists need to have a reasonable idea of how their songs are doing and which ones are attracting attention.

The job of radio promoters is just as important, because record companies aren’t going to make any money if no one buys their CDs (in which case the record companies would go out of business and there would be no CDs to buy or sell). One way to sell CDs is to expose songs to people who might want to buy them–and the primary buying audience is people who listen to sg radio, so that’s the best place to advertise your product. Promoting a song to radio is a form of advertising. It does no good if the song hits only position #38 and then stays in the same spot for 18 months because hokey sg dj in City A is the only one playing it in January, then hokey sg dj in City B is the only one playing it in February, then hokey sg dj in City C is the only one playing it in March, and so on. The only way to get strong chart exposure is to try to encourage ALL sg radio stations to add it at the same time and hope that it makes its way up the charts. That’s the purpose of a good promoter.

YES, IT IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY AND THE INDUSTRY. Without viable record companies and concert promoters and retailers, you have no industry, and without an industry you have no genre.

Suggesting that simply having charts equals “sin” (and especially when done in the holier-than-thou manner that several have done so far) is absurd, both theologically and practically. If there is any “sin” in the process, it is the sin that the guy confessed to in the original “press release.” The charts are not the problem. He is, and I’m glad he’s resolved to stop that particular sin. Hopefully he can work on his judgmental attitude next.

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  1. quartet-man wrote:

    From the way I read it, he wasn’t complaining about the chart as much as the dishonesty in the reporting of some people.

  2. Casual Observer wrote:

    Can we get that former CCM DJ to teach Radio 101 at next year’s NQC…he nailed it.

  3. CR wrote:

    Who is he to judge and say other people are dishonest. This is pretty simple, if God convicts me of something Im not going to put out a letter and say God convicted me of something and all the rest of you are going to hell for doing the same thing.

  4. Jim2 wrote:

    This line “This is basic to professional radio branding and formatting, and for providing consistency to listeners.” strikes a chord because there are so many well-intentioned yet “non-professional” SG radio stations out there, unfortunately, some are also SN charting stations.

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