Thursday, November 8, 2012

History of the Diamond Awards

The prestigious Diamond Awards have a history of over 20 years, recognizing the best in Gospel Music from coast to coast. Many of today’s top artists have received Diamond nominations and awards, from Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver to the Booth Brothers to the Hoppers. We are pleased to salute Christian artists who strive to use their talent to the best of their ability and to God’s glory.

The Diamond Awards began in 1991, hosted by Allen Smith and the Gospel Voice Magazine. A Pastor with over 40 years in the ministry, Rev. Allen Smith became involved in Southern Gospel music through concert promotion in the churches where he was ministering. In the mid-90’s he began as a DJ in a radio station in DeSoto, Missouri. He and his church started a southern gospel magazine, which grew quickly and became the Southern Gospel News Magazine. A weekly email newsletter followed, SGN Scoops Ezine. Today the publication is known as SGN Scoops Digital Magazine, and is owned by Coastal Media Group and Rob Patz.

The Diamond Awards were unique at their inception, as the awards are totally fan based. Fans are involved from the initial nominations right to the final choosing of the recipient. These awards were the first to offer online ballots, allowing all fans access to the voting procedure. They were also the first to introduce Industry and Artist Favorite Website Awards, and the first to have a Favorite Duet Award.

This awards program is also known for its support of regional groups, which can and do receive nominations and awards. Regional groups are also a part of the awards ceremony, a program that hosts some of the finest talent in Southern Gospel. The ceremony itself is designed to be a program of recognition but also of worship, as all participants are present to give all the glory to God.

Just as Allen Smith was seen as an industry innovator, Coastal Media Group and SGN Scoops work diligently to find new ways to promote Southern Gospel music. Keeping the Diamond Awards fan-based as Smith intended is a priority, as it is important for SGN Scoops to recognize the voice of Gospel music audience and to reflect that in the Diamond Awards. However, the main priority is to recognize the incredible talent of the Gospel artists and to thank the Lord that they are using this talent for His glory.