The Gospel According to Gospel Music Channel

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Although alternative rock and rap are my musical genres of choice, I cannot deny the soulful and uplifting nature of gospel music. It deeply affects people individually yet is suffused with group compassion and understanding?characteristics of great importance to Gospel Music Channel. Case in point: net co-founder Charley Humbard was on Capitol Hill Tues, celebrating Sept as “National Gospel Music Heritage Month” for a 2nd consecutive year. The dual House and Senate legislation honors gospel music for its historical contributions to American culture, with support from a group including the channel, the Recording Academy and, importantly, Sen Blanche Lincoln (D-AK) and Rep Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). “We believe the story of gospel music should be told,” said Lee at the D.C. event. It “can permeate whatever your faith may be.” Added Lincoln, “Gospel Music Channel has been tireless… in bringing hope and inspiration everywhere.” The net has shrewdly used the initiative and a growing support network to help expand distribution, which is expected to tally 47mln homes by year-end. Humbard summed up Gospel’s recent success by putting words to the collegiality evident in Capitol room H-137. “Gospel music is a music of hope,” he said. “It unites our communities.” So, in an era when many MSOs are looking to bolster their local presence, the channel seems a logical way to reach a particular segment of people. Perhaps that’s why Comcast, Cox and Charter have teamed with the net to promote “National Gospel Music Heritage Month,” along with The House of Blues and Ebony/Jet Magazine Group. On air, the net is celebrating through numerous docs, concerts and original specials this month, and its Website and VOD offering are also playing key roles. Rep Lee hopes to expand the initiative’s reach to the Smithsonian and nationwide educators. “You were at the planting of the seeds,” she told attendees Tues. Gospel Music Channel has already reaped a decent harvest. CH

Highlights: “Stephen Fry in America,” Tues, 10pm, HDNet. It’s cliche to say we can learn about America from a foreigner, but we can. Our host is BBC personality Fry, stopping in all 50 states. Watching the big Brit for just a moment, and you’re grinning, as Fry mixes ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s and hunts deer in upstate NY (just hearing him pronounce a state’s name is fun). And the HD views are outstanding. ? “Brick City,” M-F, 10pm, Sundance. Doc about how young, Yale-educated Mayor Cory Booker (D) and even Bon Jovi are attempting to resuscitate Newark, NJ, almost 1 house, 1 reformed drug addict at a time. It’s also a slice of life of people struggling to make good. It’s not a balanced view of the articulate, upbeat Booker; though dissent is noted. SA

Worth a Look: “Not Fade Away,” Mon, 8pm, RLTV. Gripping opening?this sensitive special eyes early onset Alzheimer’s, the disease hitting those in their 40s. Yet age is the top risk factor. There’s hope in research and a premium on maintaining health. SA

Notable: Emmy Red Carpet, Sun, 6pm TV Guide Network and E! Such problems?do you watch E! or TV Guide Network’s red carpet? New this year, dance judge Carrie Ann Inaba debuts on TVG as co-host. SA

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