Reader's Poll: What's the Deal With Christian Music?

So you are disgusted, angry, and outright righteously pissed that your beloved 103.7 is gone with the wind, replaced by 24 hours of Christian music. Gone are your usual playlists full of Wilco, Soundgarden, Sheryl Crow and Death Cab For Cutie, not to mention your favorite DJs and personalities.

This week 103.7 FM changed over to Christian alternative format Air 1 Radio, playing cuts from Flyleaf, Thousand Foot Krutch, Switchfoot, and former DC Talk member TobyMac. The station is commercial-free and funded by pledge drives and carried on 105 stations nationwide and heard by more than two million listeners weekly.

What happens to displaced 103.7 FM fans now?

You may not have the luxury of a smartphone with online radio apps, or maybe your car doesn't have auxiliary inputs for said smartphone, and you hate/loathe every other terrestrial radio station in Houston.

The notion of the same classic rock on two stations, 107.5 The Eagle and 93.7 The Arrow, is confounding, and 94.5 The Buzz plays music you would rather forget from the '90s. You don't like rap or hip-hop, country bores you, pop is detestable, and you don't speak or enjoy Spanish language music.

Don't even start when it comes to talk radio; old, fat guys talking about sports or politics. No thanks.

Air_1_Radio bug July 20.JPG
Keeping track of your vitriol on our blogs has been fun and eye-opening. We've never talked much on Rocks Off about Christian music, save for maybe a few pieces on Stryper, gospel, a nostalgia piece on DC Talk or a Creed review. Ahem.

In my opinion, Christian music has always been for folks who want to stay sheltered and for parents trying to hide the dirty ol' world from their kids. How you could keep magical things like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones from your kids because of perceived evil hurts my soul, not to mention being way behind the times. But as they say (gratingly), "different strokes for different folks."

But now Christian music and your hatred for it is all the rage. In two hours you guys loaded our Facebook wall with more than 40 messages. Jesus Christ, indeed.

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"Son, you're not making Christianity better, you're just making Rock'n Roll worse."

del.martinis topcommenter

I don't get it!  What is christian music?  Is it from the Twilight movies?


"Of course, since all this happened, I have been trying to intimate to these angry listeners that maybe terrestrial radio isn't where you should be."


Let me see if I'm understanding you correctly: Because I don't like Christian music, I shouldn't be listening to FM radio?  You have got to be kidding.  I don't particularly like modern country music either.  So obviously I should buy a Prius and move to Massachusetts.


To address your question (which is, as far as I can tell, why don't people like Christian music?) - my distaste for Christian music has nothing to do with Christianity.  It has everything to do with not wanting to be preached at - by ANYONE, but particularly not by sheltered white teenagers and/or recovering drug addicts.  If my favorite radio station turned into a Jewish or Muslim "rock" music format, I'd be just as quick to flip the dial for the same reason.  I don't find anything entertaining about someone telling me how to live my life, even if it's disguised within a catchy riff.  




I am a Christian and I agree that most of what I hear in the form of contemporary Christian music is pretty awful, but I'd levee that same complaint against just about every other form of popular music out there.  All the same complaints apply (cheesy lyrics, cartoonish production, overplayed hits), but so do all the same apologetics.  At the end of the day, people enjoy Selena Gomez and Jason Aldean because they do; folks enjoy Switchfoot because they do.  It CCM fans want to be protected from reality, but come on, it's not like Slayer fans are living in the real world either.  Whether it's waiting for Heaven or 'Hell Awaits' in your earbuds, it's all about escapism.  And frankly, for the skeptic, neither is a viable truth, right?That piques my interest: all the people I know who listen to CCM mix it with healthy doses of secular music, but it's almost never the other way around.  Why not?  Why is the devil a popular fantasy character in music but not Jesus?   


The knock on "Christian" music is the same with other market-created genres - there's truth to the criticisms, but also refreshing exceptions.  U2 started out as a "Christian band" back before the rock community had created a genre for that, but because they're humans who happened to be Christian they're subject matter progressively delved into more "secular" areas (i.e. universal human emotion, self-doubt, hypocrisy - all part of the Christian experience).


I am really pretty ignorant of the entire Christian music scene, because by-and-large I find artists who only address one topic repeatedly to be boring.  But one of my favorite new acts right now is Needtobreathe, who I found have been hit-makers in the Christian scene, and just this week got their first radio play in Houston on the new channel.  As a person who is a free-thinking Christian, this is my kind of band - they don't push their beliefs down your throat or use clumsy writing to make their point.  But all the messages are there if you look deep enough.


I just wish I was hearing Needtobreathe on the old 103.7, so I could get a variety of messages...


Sufjan Stevens and  David Bazan when he was playing music as Pedro the Lion claimed to be Christians at  one point in their music career but they didn't cater to the Christian community as far as I understand. I think that is interesting. 


I used to listen to MxPx too a long time ago. When I was growing up, I was part of a family that wasn't suppose to listen to secular music on our "day of rest".  When I attended a Christian college, I was part of praise band and that was fun. Some of the music was pretty good, some was super mediocre. I never really listened to Christian music exclusively. So if someone is part of a family that is sheltering them from the secular world, they need music that sounds contemporary.


I don't listen to Christian Contemporary music now, nor do I identify as Christian so I wouldn't tune in to this radio station. I think there is a place for it. I wish that they hadn't taken over 103.7, but I don't really listen to radio anymore if I can help it. 



Can't move to Massachusetts for good radio either. WFNX went dark this spring. It's right wing talk, which is worst than christian music.

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