It is clear that with the increase in media outlets and platforms, there has also been a corresponding surge in the number of media outlets dedicated solely to the promotion of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the gospel music industry especially.
Most of these outlets which are online portals, TV Channels, FM stations are doing well to serve its patrons with content. You can call them the “gospel media”.
Their presence is good for Christians who have a knack for pure gospel content and so I encourage more of such. However, as always, I have a qualm. I will put it bluntly; the gospel media in Ghana are the biggest enemy of the gospel music industry.
Have we not realized that a significant feature of these new gospel media are the over concentration on foreign content?
These are channels and outlets dedicated to playing and covering foreign gospel music for the better part of their broadcast. Most of them air or play gospel music from morning shows to the evening programs. They play ‘local’ gospel only on Saturdays obviously because they can spare that time for local content. On a scale, weekly content is about 70% foreign and 30% local.
This is the truth.
We play more foreign gospel music content than local ones. In fact, we even give more profiling and daily news on foreign gospel artistes than we do for our local ones.
That is why any critical observer will agree that today, the gospel music industry is fast losing its vibrancy even though we have artiste putting in efforts to provide quality productions.
This is a reason why for some time now, the only ‘powerful’ ‘praise and worship’ songs that we all can easily sing are the foreign ones; and not even necessarily European but Nigerian or even from South Africa.
This is part of the reason why today, we cannot have gospel hits dominating the airwaves like it did some time ago when gospel songs were popular to the extent that, the secular songs used to borrow from them and even politicians sometimes used them for national campaign themes (you remember Cindy Thompson’s ‘Ewurade Kasa’ in 2000?)
This is the reason why when a gospel artiste has done well to merit both international and local recognition, observers will still ask which songs he did in the year. It is only gospel artiste who will win the ‘Artiste of the Year’ without any “widely recognized” song to his credit in the year. This is the result of the Westernization or even ‘Nigerianization’ of our local Christian or gospel media to the detriment of our own.
Funny enough, some of them (producers and presenters with these media houses) put up the excuse that our artistes do not produce good content and are not willing to ‘pay’ to get their songs played. They do not know or pretend not to know that good music is only one that has been played repeatedly into the minds of the people. And one may also ask if these foreign gospel musicians and music that receive airplay here have paid our local media to that effect. The answer is a big NO.
I do not mean to say that gospel music must be categorized and patronized based on where they originate from. No. The body of Christ is one family and as far as the music edify and inspire us to worship God, there is absolutely no problem. We however, cannot pretend we do not have equally talented renditions coming from some of our own who must also be supported, encouraged and given the due leverage.
Let’s support gospel music made in Ghana by playing these songs. Let us appreciate our very own works.
Over to you, Sunny FM, Sweet Melody, Spirit FM, Ultimate, Praise TV, Light TV, Precious TV, Dominion TV, Power TV, and others.
By: Jeff Jnr
(The writer is a Communications professional and an avid follower of the gospel music industry in Ghana. You can reach him via Jeff Jnr on Facebook)
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