Idol Chatter

CCMMagpic2.jpgIn an announcement that surprised many (OK, at least the writers that run in my circle), Salem Communications announced last week that they are ceasing print publication of CCM Magazine. The final issue will be April 2008.
For more than 30 years, CCM has been the standard in Christian music publishing and it’s a bit of a shocker to think that it’s about to be put to pasture. For those technosaurs like me, a web-only format is a little disappointing. (Try reading a webzine in the bathtub.)
But with technology changing at warp speed and younger fans finding both their music and news online, it makes sense that the magazine that was on the forefront of the industry thirty years ago is changing with the times. The web format gives CCM opportunities to respond faster to breaking news and use blogs and chat rooms to interact more with fans. They also have podcasts from artists and streaming music.

Not to mention that it costs a whole lot less to operate.
The change was inevitable. Last year CCM announced that “CCM” would no longer stand for “Contemporary Christian Music” but instead “Christ. Community. Music.”– an attempt, perhaps, to not only better define the music they covered but to also reposition themselves in a market where many bands are eschewing the Christian label as they find success in the mainstream. Instead of being pigeonholed into a religious box it just makes sense to view artists as a community of musicians where Christ comes first but membership doesn’t require them to display a Jesus fish bumper sticker.
CCM’s editor Jay Swartzendruber noted that in his four years with the magazine it was clear that the trend towards online publications had the magazine fighting an uphill battle for subscribers and advertisers. “It seemed more and more imminent that the CCM brand would make the move to go exclusively online, especially during the last few months,” he told me by email. “Still, when the announcement was made, it was hard to believe.”
He added, “This transition away from a print edition may be completely logical from a business standpoint, but emotionally, it’s a jolt for sure.” It’s not any easier to say goodbye to loyal staffers than it is to hold the final printed pages in your hand.
That final issue will be on the stands during Gospel Music Week in April, a fitting place to give the print magazine a proper send-off.
–written by Joanne Brokaw

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