(Dave P – photo © Choice FM)
It’s almost as inevitable as night following day.
Given time, most gospel shows on mainstream radio stations will almost certainly end up being shunted to the nether reaches of the station schedule, as programme directors sacrifice niche – if deeply loved – shows on the altar of profitability and/or popularity.
New Choice FM schedule
Choice FM recently announced a refreshed schedule, and as part of the changes, Dave P’s The Gospel Mix moves from 1-3am Monday mornings – an already challenging slot for all but the most ardent gospel music fan – to the deep-night time of 2-4am on Sunday mornings.
And while the almost-obligatory protestations shall rise from the faithful, my guess is it’s likely to fall on deaf ears.
Hyper-niche audiences like ours don’t bring the money in, at least not the kind of money that will get Choice FM (or more accurately their owners Global radio), excited.
Of course, schedule changes and the subsequent fallout within small but passionate audiences is nothing new.
In 2007, BBC 1xtra axed ‘Vibrations’, the Gospel Show presented by DJ Fitz when it scrapped 9 shows in a schedule refresh.
Switch On or Shut Up
Radio – or more accurately, the results required to keep a radio show going – is almost elegant in its simple brutality: for a show to be retained in a particular slot or station, it needs to keep (or better still, grow) its audience.
Niche shows are already vulnerable as they will never attract sizeable numbers relative to the rest of the station. Hyper-niche genres like Gospel are even more at risk.
If you feel that strongly about keeping gospel music on Choice, then you have no choice (pun unintended) but to tune in to the show, play it again on the station’s playback function if available, text in, email and generally make yourself known. In other words: switch on or shut up.
The ball’s now back in our court.
We need to make the numbers count now, not in 6 months time when – as Choice looks at its show schedule yet again – low Rajar figures and low-visibility community support would make their decision to – gasp! – scrap the show an easy one to make…
Just my view.
P.S. as you probably know, I know Dave P well. He has no idea I wrote this (well, he does now that I’ve published it)… 🙂