Many Christian urban artists are not familiar with the way that Christian radio works because Christian radio has not, until recently, been playing Christian urban music. There are three main formats at Christian radio currently: Adult Contemporary (AC), Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR), and Gospel. Each of these three formats correspond to Billboard radio charts to which stations report their spins. Christian radio has long been known for its resistance to play new music, and for targeting the 40-year-old suburban woman, which is mostly true of the AC format. However, the CHR format has been out of favor with Christian radio general managers for some time because of its inability to raise money and attract advertisers. CHR garners a younger audience, around 15-30 years of age, that has not been attracting enough faith-based advertisers nor has it been good at unlocking donation dollars in the past. However, in recent years, there have been some bright spots as a handful of adventuresome stations have launched progressive “little brother” stations that are playing a highly-relevant mix of music targeting millenials, such as NGEN radio in Houston, Boost FM in St. Louis, and Hot 95.9 in Orlando. These stations have been pushing the boundaries by including Christian hip hop in their formats, mixing it with pop and rock creating a current sound for Christian radio. Air1 is the kingpin in CHR and has a near-lock on the market with hundreds of stations around the country, and it is more conservative in it’s music choices, but they have played Lecrae, KJ-52, Social Club Misfits, and Je’kob in the past.
Derek Minor now joins a unique club created by Shonlock where he now has the #1 song in the country for Christian CHR radio WITHOUT having Air1 spinning the single – yet. This is a big deal and difficult to do, showing that the song is indeed a hit. The key to the formula with Derek’s song is a melodic composition, a feature from a Christian radio darling (Hollyn from Gotee Records), and a great message.
Congrats to the Reflection Music Group and Derek Minor and Hollyn for a job well done. Great to see artists breaking new ground and paving the way for others to follow. Check out the single and Derek Minor’s video right here.