Stars Shine in Gospel Music Channel Spots

DALLAS Gospel Music Channel breaks TV spots from Blue Sky Agency next week that feature genre stars Della Reese and Michael W. Smith, among others.

The spots will appear on broadcast stations in Dallas, Denver and Jacksonville, Fla., the agency said. The campaign is a joint effort with DirecTV.

A 30-second spot will run four consecutive weeks in the three cities beginning Monday, the agency said. A 60-second commercial will run for five consecutive weeks in Denver and Jacksonville.

Both the client and the agency are based in Atlanta.

The commercials feature the entertainers standing against a white background. As they talk about what they want from the Gospel Music Channel, angelic wings appear to extend from their backs.

Performers include actress and singer Della Reese, gospel-pop artists Michael W. Smith, Natalie Grant and Katelyn Tarver, hip-hop performers Canton Jones and T-Bone, and rock stars BarlowGirl and Audio Adrenaline.

Blue Sky creative director Mike Schatz and art director Sheila McDevitt developed the commercials. The campaign will also include radio spots and print ads, the shop said.

Brad Siegel, vice chairman of the channel, said the commercial was designed to show the breadth of genres covered by the programming. The channel, backed by major advertisers such as Coca-Cola and General Foods, presents different styles of music each night.

“Blue Sky truly captured our essence and showcases it with these spots,” Siegel said. “It plays off the first campaign and continues to deliver the idea of what our networks offers: a safe place for viewers to find the variety of music and entertainment they desire.”

Siegel, who previously worked for CNN and other cable channels, launched Gospel Music nearly two years ago to fill an entertainment niche that he believed numerous other religious broadcasts had not covered.

“The other religious programming is more preachy,” he said. “We’re truly about entertainment.”

Siegel said the fact that there are 1,400 gospel radio stations with 80 million listeners shows the potential audience for the channel. In first half 2006, sales of Christian/gospel albums increased 12 percent over the comparable 2005 quarter, to 18 million, he said.