BREATHEcast : Gospel Dream is commonly compared with the American Idol. Based on a spiritual aspect, how are these two different?
Charley Humbard: It’s very different.
First of all, I think it’s important to know that a lot of reasons why it’s compared to American Idol is because, as people think about ‘what’s the easiest way to define a format of a show,’ so many people are familiar with American Idol. The format on how it works and when they’re [contestants] going to finals, etc. And those kind of things help them understand , with a quick comparison, what the show will be about.
As far as the main differences, I really think it would be the content. Many of the winning artists on American Idol, interesting enough, come from the Gospel/ Christian world. But whether they’re not allowed to or whatever the rule may be, they don’t tend to sing Gospel/Christian songs.
So we saw this as a good opportunity to both showcase the talent like American Idol does, but yet allow the talent to sing the songs that are part of who they are and what’s close to their hearts, and showcase the spiritual music, which is Gospel.
Fundamentally it is very different in the content of the show, but probably similar in format.
What kind of feedback do you wish to receive from the Gospel Dream audience?
That they are excited about the fact that finally there is a high quality and very commercial-feeling place to showcase Gospel and Christian music that is both important to them, and important to the many listeners of Gospel/Christian music across the U.S.
I think first of all, we want them to feel excited that someone is doing this for this audience, and the fact that many of these people will be exposing new users, viewers- whatever medium they’re getting it in- to content of Gospel Dream. I think there are many people out there that don’t know that there’s so much talent in Gospel and Christian, and I think that there are many people out there who don’t know that this music is something that they might really enjoy. And I think they can get ministered through the music.
Will Gospel Dream be used in some way as an evangelistic tool to introduce the gospel to non-Christians?
Not intentionally… but I think it is certainly one of the greatest aspects of the show. It can reach out to a lot of people. It was not the reason why it was created, but it’s certainly one of our strong considerations. The fact that the more we can get Gospel/Christian music out there in a greater way, in a very commercial way that people are used to observing the media, the greater chance it has for the artist and their songs to minister to people.
So far, how has the response been?
We’ve had a great turnout on all of our markets, and we’re very excited about that.
On the talent side, I think it has been very very good. I hear from the field, different cities tend to have more talent that other cities- which is interesting to learn- but it has been great. For Dallas for instance, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX were all out there for the live evening newscast.
At the Atlanta event, NBC Nightly on their National Broadcast covered it as part of the primary segments at night, so it was right in the opening tease of the news on Sunday night, and then carried it for a whole segment during the newscast that night.
For the first time, because of the way we’re approaching this, I think it’s really giving Gospel/Christian music a chance to be on an equal footing with CMT, MTV, VH1 and any of the other commercial music channels.
Are there any other events/programs that Gospel Music Channel is involved in regarding Katrina relief projects, besides “Gospel Angels?” [Katrina Benefit Concert- will be broadcasted live through Gospel Music Channel on Sept.22]
Not on a national level.
Our employees are doing a lot of different things, from housing people to houses, to supporting different charities, donating time...
We have a special fund set up here, because many if our cable partners were directly affected. New Orleans was one of our biggest partners for the channel, and they’re completely gone. So we’ve got so many of our partners living in other states and shelters now- we can’t reach out on a personal level with them.
We thought it was really important for the Christian community to really step up and do something on national level. We thought it would be essential that we step up in the music world to have this kind of event, the “Gospel Angels.” To have the best of the Christian artists out there come together for a big event to really do all that they can... Our efforts will not just be at the concert, but in an on ongoing way, with “Gospel Angels,” to continue. You’ll see us for the next 6 months, going on with Charity efforts to help address the next crisis in these people’s lives, which is : “What should we do next? “
What are your thoughts on Katrina?
I think this is a time to come together. Just like we do with bringing all the artists for Katrina… you’ll have people from Traditional Gospel, Rock Gospel, Contemporary Gospel, Country Gospel… Jimmy Wayne to CeCe Winans- you’ll see a really wide range of people. What we’re all about here in Gospel Music Channel is to bring artists/people together in unity. I think more than anything Katrina is a time to come together.
A message of hope to Katrina victims out there?
I think it’s so important to remember that God never puts you in a situation that is too much for you to get through, especially with His help. At this moment when it seems like everything is stripped away, maybe it might be the only time you’ll ever have in your life to hear your soul in this way. And to take this moment of rebuilding, to recognize God and the power He has in your life and others. I think that is very important.
Just as Gospel/Christian music has such a message of hope and inspiration, they should remember that there are many people out there that want to help them, who are praying for them, and who are not worried about necessarily blaming anyone right now.
I think Gospel/Christian artists are a great testament to that.
Just keep hope, keep believing, and everyone, keep praying. And we’re going to figure this out. This won’t be the first or last time something like this faces us.
Interviewed by Reporter Cindy