Descent of the Doves

This year’s Dove Awards nominations landed yesterday. DBM Kyle has a nice summary of the highlights coming out of the sg part of the world.

I don’t have a lot to say about these things beyond what Kyle notes, but this is a good excuse to say something I’ve been meaning to say about the Doves/GMA more generally: that, namely, if you didn’t know better, sometimes you might think they’re actually trying to run the whole thing in the ground and break it off. Consider this recent press release hyping this year’s awards show hosts and guests:

GRAMMY nominated R&B artist Montell Jordan, known for his iconic hit “This is How We Do It,” joins BET “Lift Every Voice” host CoCo Brother, Daytime EMMY nominated comedian Chonda Pierce, and World Heavyweight Champion wrestler AJ Styles to announce the nominees for the 43rd Annual Gospel Music Association Dove Awards at a press conference on Wednesday, February 22 at 11AM ET at The Georgian Terrace Hotel, located at 659 Peachtree Street Northeast in Atlanta, GA.

The 43rd Annual GMA Dove Awards will take place on April 19 at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.  The award show is produced by the Gospel Music Association (GMA) to offer the most comprehensive platform of music celebrating Christian and Gospel music.

Over the years, the Dove Awards have featured some of the biggest names in entertainment and sports, including Whitney Houston, Tim Tebow, Sherri Shepherd and Kathie Lee Gifford. It has showcased many of the nation’s leading Christian music artists, including Amy Grant, Toby Mac, Michael W. Smith, Kirk Franklin, Casting Crowns, Mary Mary, Third Day and more.

I assume this is aimed at some target demographic the GMA fancies or thinks will be drawn in by this kind of circus-style programming, but the particular blend of pandering and triviality of these programming choices is just another dismal reminder of why and how the GMA has struggled so much for so long now. I mean, nevermind the ongoing contretemps involving the voting process (the upshot, I gather, to the GMA’s efforts to quell concerns about bloc voting last year has sent EMI and Provident off in a huff and they refuse to participate in this year’s balloting). Let’s just stick with the programming notes outlined above: CoCo Brother I get. But Montell Jordan, Chonda Pierce, and AJ Styles? Honestly. It’s like the beginning to a lame joke: “a downmarket Christian comedian, the guy who sang ‘This is How we Do it’ and a WWF actor walk into a theater …”

Then again, this press release suggests GMA has forgotten what a fiasco the Whitney Houston (may she RIP) and Bobby Brown debacle was (just to point out one of the names on the “over the years” review of Dove greatness that has an asterisk by it) and touts it as a sign of relevance. Ok, but to whom? People who are already fans of gospel music (broadly construed) don’t need to be sold on the Doves. Between the hosts and guests line up and that last paragraph, which reads like the printout of a focus-group-o-matic response to the query “how can we seem cool to people who think something called the Gospel Music Association is lame?”, it’s not too hard to figure out why the Doves haven’t yet secured a television broadcast affiliate for the show.

Probably, though,  I’m just all wet. For people who like this kind of thing, this is probably just the kind of thing they like.

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  1. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Kyle wrote that article.

  2. JM wrote:

    There are moments that I believe when (not if, but when) SGM is considered officially dead and is taken off life support, the death certificate will note that it was by means of a self-inflicted wound.

  3. sgfan wrote:

    Great the redneck in me is starting to come out ( one of my vices is wrestling)…AJ is neither a wwf/e champ or ever has been. Also, He has technically not been in the wwe, but is in a lesser company called TNA and has been champ there in the past. But from what I hear he is a christian.

    now please somebody stop me from talking about pro wrestling publicly, so i can talk about another well received public topic: Southern Gospel

  4. Ron F wrote:

    I thought the Doves had a contract with GMC Channel

  5. Big boy wrote:

    Although I do not know much about wrestling or the other people. I do believe that the Doves are great for SGM.
    In the song of the year category alone I believe there are four nominees from southern gospel alone. Also look at Jason Crabb leading with 8 nominations. him and his band are quite refreshing. I don’t understand why so many who love southern gospel don’t embrace him more. He obviously has talent a heart for ministry and loves what he is doing. Mr. Crabb his family Ernie Haase and a few others are in my humble opinion the future of SG.

  6. CVH wrote:

    At this point in their history the Dove Awards suck. They suck in the same way the Grammys suck. The nomination and voting process is easily skewed and the backstage politics are ridiculous. Even if you work through the philosophical issue of giving awards for this kind of Christian stuff, you still have to deal with cheesy production values and embarrassingly awkward acceptance speeches. It’s a joke.

    I stopped voting in the GMA and NARAS last year because the end result is meaningless in any way that matters to me. Sure, you get some more ink, your sales get a short-term kick and you can try to use a win to leverage your contract. But so what?

    The GMA played a significant role for its first two decades. People like John Styll helped it advance the profile and credibility of the genre. But as a trade association it’s time has passed. It has no meaningful purpose, no budget, no real direction. There’s certainly nothing spiritual about it. And the Doves reflect that.

    So I wouldn’t knock the press release. A few years from now it may look good in comparison to the crap they’ll be throwing at us.

  7. Melody Thomas wrote:


    He is one of the BIGGEST problems the GMA had!

  8. CVH wrote:


    I understand what you’re saying; what I meant was he brought a different perspective to the organization. I think the board of directors is ultimately responsible. But the biggest problem is the GMA never managed to stay ahead of the trends or help shape the course of the business. Now about all that’s left is a shallow, second-rate, self-congratulatory awards show.

  9. Ode wrote:

    “”"A few years from now it may look good in comparison to the crap they’ll be throwing at us”"”

    LOL. So true. We now are living in somebody’s “good old times”, our music is “those were the days…songs that made the hit parade” and our complaints about Adele’s middle finger at Awards Ceremony is gonna be smiled at like we smile at the wave of outrage at “movie’s profanity” when Clark Gable’s “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” first aired

  10. cynical one wrote:

    Ode, it wasn’t Adele. It was MIA.

  11. SteveSmith wrote:

    Adele did it, too. She did it at an award ceremony, where they were trying to get her to leave the stage.

  12. irishlad wrote:

    Ode’s right, ’twas Adele…@ the Brit awards when the “suits” (whom the bird was directed at)cut her speech short.

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