MercyMe! Is it November already?
Indeed it is, which means the Spirit 105.9 Spirit Fest is just around the corner.
The radio station is bringing in a bunch of big-name contemporary Christian acts for the Nov. 11 show at Dell Diamond, including Jeremy Camp, David Crowder, MercyMe, Britt Nicole, Salvador, Switchfoot and Newworldson.
In advance of the show, I got a chance to chat with MercyMe’s Bart Millard. The group, founded in the North Texas town of Greenville, has churned out a number of Billboard hits over the years.
"I’m partial to Texas," Millard told me. "Austin is one of my favorite cities, but it’s also slightly intimidating because there’s so much great live music there."
The group has been "going pretty hard all year," he said. MercyMe spent much of the spring and summer on tour and a Christmas tour is coming up. They’re also working on a new album.
He’s not complaining, though. Contemporary Christian music is growing in popularity across the nation, including right here in Austin, where Spirit 105.9 has been doing especially well in the monthly Arbitron ratings.
"In the past, I felt like Christian music in general was at least a year behind the times," he said, "but not anymore."
Millard said MercyMe’s songs are based, in large part, on personal experiences – the highs and lows we each deal with in our daily lives.
"We’re not preaching a sermon," he said. "Hurt, heartache … people can relate to what we’re going through. It makes us feel like what we’re doing is substantial."
What can fans expect at Spirit Fest? Millard promises the show will feature lots of songs from the group’s latest album.
"We’re going to have a great time," he said, "but if you don’t like us, remember there are plenty of other bands you can see."
Austinite on ‘Millionaire’
Ron Freshour is one lucky dude.
The Austinite appeared Oct. 24 and 25 on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and won $250,000.
Mr. Smartypants had a shot at $500,000 but, with no lifelines remaining, he wisely walked away after getting a tough question. If Freshour had given the wrong answer, he would have left the show with just $25,000.
A radio production engineer, Freshour also serves as a pub quiz host — a skill that no doubt helped him earn all that cash.
‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ airs weekdays at noon on KEYE, Time Warner Cable Channel 5.
Here’s the question that stumped Freshour. Find the correct answer at the end of this column.
The only member of Lewis and Clark’s expedition to die during the historic journey, Charles Floyd reportedly died from what?
• A: Mountain lion attack
• B: Typhoid fever
• C: Gunshot wound
• D: Appendicitis
Channel surfing …
Kudos to the folks at Comedy 102.7 for pulling off a cute and clever stunt on Oct. 26. For one day only, the station rebranded itself, on air and online, as Cosby 102.7 in advance of Bill Cosby’s Oct. 28 show at Bass Concert Hall. … The correct answer to the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" question that stumped Austinite Ron Freshour is D, appendicitis. … Read my blog at austin360.com/tvblog or follow @gdinges on Twitter to get the latest updates on local radio and TV stations.