Let There be More Listeners

Ratings for a contemporary Christian music station in Houston aren’t what they used to be, thanks largely to atelevision campaign that showed spiritual tunes aren’t either.

Listenership of KSBJ 89.3 FM in Houston rose 10 percent between last winter and spring, according to recent Arbitron figures, which showed the audience grew to 297,100 from 269,000. The station also moved up to third place, from fifth, for women, 25-49, during workday hours. KSBJ credits the increase to a TV push that ran locally from April to June, the first time the station has used the medium.

In one of the three spots created by Ellie Malavis Creative Services of Houston, a younger, big-hair version of Saturday Night Live’s “Church Lady” character belts out a gospel tune wearing outdated clothes. The spot cuts to a stylish Christian music video with young, hip singers. A voiceover says, “Fortunately, spiritual music isn’t what it used to be.”

KSBJ general manager Tim McDermott said, “People have a stereotypical image of what Christian radio is, and we wanted to showwe can poke fun atourselves.”