Is Air 1 Format Change Just Preaching to the Choir?

January 4, 2019
The Crossing - Uplifting Hit Music

(photo by Evonne Ermey)

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It may seem strange for one radio station to comment on a competitor, but this has been on my mind for a couple days now.

I've been programming The Crossing in San Diego for 10 years now. I have a passion for Christian music.

When I put it on the air, there were no Christian music stations in San Diego. I wanted a station that played uplifting music from rock, pop and hip hop artists that would appeal to believers and non-believers from college age on up.

EMF's syndicated Christian radio station, Air 1 was kind of doing that at that time, but as the years passed, they slowly evolved into a softer station with more praise music, already covered on their syndicated sister station, K-Love.

Then they started off the new year, changing their format from a Christian hit music station to all-worship music.

If the social media posts are any indication, they took a lot of listeners by surprise, and not neccesarily in a good way. One Twitter post pointed out that the new format only reaches inward to churchgoers and ignores others on the outside. I'm like a lot of Christian music listeners. I hear it as a way to reach out to other listeners in a positive way. I care about ALL Christian radio stations. I have no doubt that there's a place for a radio station that plays all of the music that is sung in church, but why not start a 3rd Christian format? 

If I were wearing the programming hat over at EMF, I think I would have kept Air 1 a pop-leaning Christian station, further separating it from K-Love and using it to reach out to listeners who are looking for something uplifting, while not being exclusively "church music". Then call this new station "Worship 1"?  I know it's too late for that, and I don't wish them any ill will. The more Christian radio stations, the better!

Anyway, just my .02. 

Here comes my shameless plug: If you miss the old Air 1, please give us a try!  Head over to Radio.com or download the radio.com app. You can also listen on that Amazon speaker you got for Christmas. Just say "Alexa, Play The Crossing on Radio.com". We're also on the San Diego radio "dial" at 96.5FM HD2.