Sep 2012 04

Today’s Gospel Music On Terrestrial Radio Is About Charting Controlled By 28 AM Stations, 16 FM Stations and 1 Satellite Station

Today’s Gospel Music On Terrestrial Radio Is About Charting

Controlled By 28 AM Stations, 16 FM Stations and 1 Satellite Station

The internet newswires and e zines have been buzzing the past two days because a major media company (RadioOne) that owns 12 Gospel stations has decided to pull a major record label’s (Music World) artists from the Radio stations playlists around the country. The major record company responds with a plan to tap into a more diverse radio station type namely AM stations.

As an observer I write this note because Independent artists who are not signed to a major label, minor label or any label can learn from this news event. But you must read with a third eye and pay close attention to other details in all of this.

Terrestrial Radio is not in the business of breaking new artists but in the business of earning revenue through advertisement and sales. Most major labels and others have promotional revenue to support the advertisement and sales needed for radio to exist. So the major labels in return will get most of their artists airplay, or spins.

The airplay spins are monitored by 3 major charting systems Broadcast Data Systems (BDS), Media guide and Media Base. For the sake of this discussion we single out the BDS system which is owned by the Nielsen Company who monitors both radio and TV. The makeup of the BDS Gospel charting system is what gives the major media company  power over Gospel Charting  and can flex it’s muscles by declaring removal from the playlist.

When you look at the BDS Charting system here’s is part of the problem. The system monitors all genres of music on radio in all major markets. The BDS Christian and Christian Adult Contemporary (AC) charts has a combined total of 69 stations. The Urban, RAP and Urban Adult Contemporary (AC) charts has a combined total of 288 stations.

The BDS Gospel Charts has a mere 45 stations. The breakdown is as follows 28 AM stations, 16 FM stations and 1 Satellite station. When you further break it down 11 stations owned by RadioOne, 9 Stations owned by Clear Channel, 2 InnerCity and the remaining 23 stations owned by different companies.

Its one thing to have multiple owned stations but another when all of your stations are syndicated with 3 major personalities each hosting separate shows. Because of syndication if your artist is played during one of these syndicated show your spins multiply by 11 each time. Example if artist (A) song is played with RadioOne during the 6am-10am show artist A will get 11 spins. Played again during the 10am – 2PM show another 11 spins. Played again during the 7PM -10PM show another 11 spins. Although the song was technically played 3 times it will clock in 33 spins from syndication and this can happen daily. This is why major ownership in monitored stations is so valuable because of the syndication and spin counts which equals royalties back to the labels. Because there is no performance royalty is the US no revenue goes to the artist other publishing royaties.

The other part of the equation is:artist A will pick up additional spins because the other 34 stations on the Gospel Charting Panel may play artist A also, this create a firewall for up and coming Independent artists who are trying to get their music played on terrestrial radio. The stations play mostly the same artists in order to remain a part of the BDS charts if they don’t keep the spin count up the chart manager may drop the station from the system.

Major Award programs require you to chart Nielsen BDS top 50 to qualify so if you cannot break into the cycle listed above you will not qualify.

So the question may be what can be done about this?

First we need more radio station owners to get their stations monitored with all three monitoring services it does not matter whether it’s AM or FM.

Support the efforts of Internet Radio Station operators in their quest to establish a nationally recognizable Internet Radio Charting System.

Tune in and support stations who are not syndicated and help them build their audiences.

Contact your local radio station and request more diverse programming to include more up and coming independent artists.

Support Internet Radio where diversity is in the music.


Listed below is the type station, call sign, market number and ownership name of the 45 Gospel Stations who makeup the BDS Gospel Chart and control it.


Calls            Metro       Market                 Owners


AM-WDJL     106      Huntsville         5th Ave Broadcasting

AM-KOKA     136      Shreveport       Access 1 Communications

AM-WLOU     54       Louisville           Anchor Louisville LLC

AM-WBBP     49        Memphis           Bountiful Blessings

AM-WFLT     133      Flint                  Christian Evangelistic Board

AM-WXOK     81       Baton Rouge    Citadel Communications

AM-WNOO     108    Chattanooga    Clear Media

FM-WHLW     152     Montgomery    ClearChannel

FM-WHLH     126      Jackson           ClearChannel

FM-WHAL     49        Memphis          ClearChannel

AM-WYLD     47        New Orleans    ClearChannel

AM-WSOK     156     Savannah         ClearChannel

AM-WGRB     3        Chicago             ClearChannel

AM-WCAO     21      Baltimore           ClearChannel

AM-KATZ     22        St. Louis            ClearChannel

FM-WFMI     44       Norfolk               Communications Systems

AM-WEXL     11       Detroit               Crawford Broadcasting

FM-WEAM     191    Columbus, GA    Davis Broadcasting

AM-WEAL     46      Greensboro         Intercom

AM-WLOK     49      Memphis             Gilliam Communications

FM-WFMV     89      Columbia             Glory Communications

AM-WEUP    106     Huntsville            Huntley Batts

AM-WOAD     126  Jackson                InnerCity

AM-WLIB     1        New York              InnerCity

FM-WJNI     83     Charleston, SC      Kirkman Broadcasting

FM-KPZK     84      Little Rock              Last Bastion Trust

AM-WGH     44     Norfolk                    Max Media

AM-KHVN     5      Dallas/Ft. Worth     Mortenson Broadcasting

AM-WXVI     152  Montgomery            New Life Ministries

AM-WTHE     18   Nassau-Suffolk        Perry Broadcasting

FM-WPZZ     56   Richmond                 RadioOne

FM-WPZS     24   Charlotte                 RadioOne

FM-WPZE     9     Atlanta                    RadioOne

FM-WPRS     8     Washington, DC     RadioOne

FM-WPRF     47   New Orleans          RadioOne

FM-WPPZ     7     Philadelphia            RadioOne

FM-WNNL     43   Raleigh                   RadioOne

AM-WWIN     21  Baltimore                RadioOne

AM-WTLC     40   Indianapolis            RadioOne

AM-WJMO     30  Cleveland                RadioOne

AM-WCHB     11  Detroit                    RadioOne

AM-WUFO     55  Buffalo                   Sheridan Broadcasting

SXPR – ST    0      Network                 SirrusXM

AM-WZAZ     50    Jacksonville          Titus Broadcasting

FM-WTHB     110    Augusta             Universal Broadcasting





Henry W. Harris

Strategic Music Partnerships



  1. Thank you for this information. It helps me to inform my artist on what is going on with the BDS charting and how it works. I’ve learned so much from the break down of the radio stations.
    Please keep me informed. Thanks again!!!

    Brenda Mayfield
    CEO/President Love Entertainment Booking Agency, Atlanta, GA

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