There’s a new radio station in Salt Lake City that I personally view as an intriguing social experiment. 97.5 The Oasis is a contemporary Christian station, but, unlike most (probably all) stations of its kind, it also plays contemporary LDS music. Just this morning I heard Kenneth Cope and Michael W. Smith back to back.
The station is owned and operated by Simmons Media Group, which also operates my favorite alternative rock station, X96. Being a secular station, The Oasis doesn’t run pledge drives like ministry operated CCM stations (e.g. the only other CCM station broadcasting in Salt Lake, 89.7 K-LOVE), but instead they play commercial advertisements. They also hold a rather postmodern, inclusive attitude toward the music they play.
I like listening to the station for the contemporary Christian music because their DJs aren’t as annoying as K-LOVE’s, but it may surprise you to know I also like listening for the LDS music. I cringe when I hear the lyrics of some of the LDS songs, but then I also cringe when I hear the lyrics of some of the CCM songs. Just as the CCM lyrics don’t always represent my doctrinal position, I realize many of the LDS songs don’t fully represent or even approximate the doctrinal positions of Latter-day Saints. Listening to the songs does give a good sense of the temperature of the culture, however, and that’s what I’m mostly interested in. Incidentally, I enjoy watching the Mollywood films for the same reason.
I have no doubt this station will appeal to many Latter-day Saints, but I’m a little worried that Evangelicals in Salt Lake will be up in arms over it. I’ve already had Christian friends recommend the station to me without noticing it plays LDS music. When they realize it plays LDS music, most Evangelicals will probably feel deceived and might even get angry. Of course, the station doesn’t bill itself as a Christian station, just as “family friendly radio,” whatever that means. I suppose I’m a little worried that Evangelicals will listen to this station and become indoctrinated with LDS ideas, but then many of the CCM songs are indoctrinating them with the health and wealth gospel, radical individualism, and cheap, surface level Christianity anyway.
So, as I said at the beginning of this post, 97.5 The Oasis is, at most, an intriguing social experiment. I’m curious to see how Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints react to the station. It will be interesting to see if it gains a large listener base or if both communities reject it as being too secular and lukewarm. In the meantime, it’s got its own spot on my preset dial.