Chris Lemke, executive director of the station, received the honors in Nashville ceremonies as part of the recent GMA Dove Award festivities.
In his remarks during the presentation, Lemke offered thanks to the voting association members.
"This award, of course, is not why we do this," he told the audience, made up mostly of music artists, industry staff and executives as well as media members. "We're prone to say the greater cause is Jesus – that's why we do it, and that would be true. But there's another reason and that's for the listeners. It's the listeners who listen to your music and who sing your songs and who have (them) embedded in their minds and in their hearts."
The non-commercial, listener-supported station is licensed to Cornerstone University and airs on several different frequencies in cities throughout Southwest Michigan. The format features a variety of contemporary Christian music from many of the nation's top artists and for decades has tagged itself as a family-friendly radio voice.
CONNECTING WITH LISTENERS
Chris Hauser is a long time music promoter as well as a member of the GMA Board of Directors. "Our radio committee every year wants to recognize one contemporary Christian radio outlet," he said of their tracking of stations across the country. "We on the committee have long respected the great work done at WCSG...this was their year!" Hauser was part of the formal presentation of three radio awards, also including Southern gospel and gospel music outlets.
WCSG is likely the most listened to Christian radio station among West Michigan's numerous religious radio choices. In fact, the most recent Nielsen ratings (Sept.) indicate it ranks third in listeners among all stations in the Kent and Ottawa county market.
Brian Wright is a radio programming consultant with the West Michigan-based Wright Media Group. He has consulted with WCSG for 25 years. "It's one of the most listener-centric radio stations I have ever heard," said the executive. "They go to wherever the listener is and meet their needs."
Meanwhile, Dove Awards were presented in 42 categories in front of a large crowd Oct. 15 in Allen Arena at Nashville's Lipscomb University.
It was the 50th anniversary of the awards sponsored by the GMA. And there were plenty of nods of nostalgia during the stage program.
Singer-songwriter Lauren Daigle was one of the evening's big winners – scoring three Doves for artist of the year, song of the year ("You Say") and pop-contemporary album of the year ("Look Up Child"). Daigle comes to West Michigan for a concert March 12, 2020 at Van Andel Arena.
Among other major winners: TobyMac – contemporary Christian artist of the year; Kirk Franklin - gospel artist of the year; Bart Millard – songwriter of the year, Aaron Cole – new artist of the year.
MORE DOVE TALES
Christian hip-hop/rap artist Steve Malcolm of Kentwood was a finalist in two of that genre's categories although he did not come up a winner.
Grand Rapids native and gospel artist/pastor Marvin Sapp, now senior pastor at a church in Fort Worth, TX, was nominated for a traditional gospel Dove for his song "Kind God." That award went to a song by Donald Lawrence, "Deliver Me (This is My Exodus).
Singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman, winner of more than 50 Doves over his long career, won yet another for his album "Deeper Roots: Where the Bluegrass Grows." Chapman comes to West Michigan for an acoustic Christmas concert Dec. 15 at LC Walker Arena in Muskegon.
The venerated Gaither Vocal Band - featuring 83 year-old gospel music maven Bill Gaither - came away with the award as Southern Gospel artist of the year. The group headlines a "Christmas Homecoming" concert Dec. 5 at Grand Rapids First Church.
For a complete list of Dove winners in all categories visit online http://doveawards.com/awards/2019-winners/.