Higher-Pow­ered Mu­sic: Con­tem­po­rary Gospel Finds a Home in D.C.

The Washington Post Sunday - - Arts -

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.

BY SEAN GARD­NER — GETTY IMAGES

A syn­di­cated pro­gram hosted by Yolanda Adams is part of the lineup on Praise 104.1, which went on the air on Easter.

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