Higher-Powered Music: Contemporary Gospel Finds a Home in D.C.
F or many years, executives at Radio One’s headquarters in Prince George’s County hungered for a way to launch a full- time FM gospel station in the city where it might attract the largest audience: their home town.
Last week — in a move curiously made possible by the demise of the nation’s oldest commercial classical radio station — the country’s largest black- owned broadcasting company finally put Praise 104.1 on the air in Washington, on Easter Sunday.
Contemporary gospel — an upbeat, jazz- andR& B- tinged music that, if you don’t listen to the lyrics, could pass for the hit black music that was popular before the hegemony of hip- hop — is one of the fastest- growing formats in America’s big cities. A form of programming that was long relegated to weak- signaled stations at the top of the AM dial is popping up on big signals on FM, where the music can reach a much younger audience.
A syndicated program hosted by Yolanda Adams is part of the lineup on Praise 104.1, which went on the air on Easter.