Since 1980, The Gospel Greats program has been America's best-known and most prestigious syndicated Southern Gospel music radio program, hosted by Paul Heil.

Here is a timeline of a few of the notable developments over the years in the program's history.


1979 

  • Paul leaves position as news director at local market-dominant television station. 

  • Work completed on in-home recording studio, configured for radio production. 

  • “The Gospel Greats” logo created (still in use).  Trademarked. 

  • Direct mail campaign to radio stations, offering “The Gospel Greats” program. 

  • Interview work and recording acquisition begins for the program. 

1980 

  • January - Operate booth at National Religious Broadcasters convention in Washington, DC.  Sign first station — WRIS, Roanoke, Virginia. 

  • February - First programs voiced by Dave Kyllonen, bass singer for Couriers. Jan Cain, news editor of the Singing News, does the Gospel Music News Update (now called the “Headline Update”). 

  • February - Program begins in syndication the weekend of Feb. 4, 1980, on a handful of stations. 

  • Paul takes over hosting role on program in September when Dave Kyllonen begins foreign missionary service. 

1981 

  • New high-speed reel-to-reel tape duplication equipment purchased to service increasing number of stations. 

  • Only live-in-concert edition ever broadcast, with live concert recorded locally by the Hemphills comprising the entire program (with a few interviews). 

1982 

  • Paul marries Shelia Troyer, whom he had met at a local radio station carrying The Gospel Greats program. 

1984 

  • Shelia Heil announces on the air the birth of our first son, Jason. 

1986 

  • Paul Heil voted “Favorite Southern Gospel DJ, Large Market” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

  • Paul and Shelia begin “Springside Marketing” mailorder service for Southern Gospel music in response to listeners’ inquiries as to where to purchase the music heard on the program. 

  • Shelia announces on the air the birth of our second son, Andrew. 

1987 

  • Paul Heil voted “Favorite Southern Gospel DJ, Large Market” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

1988 

  • Paul Heil voted “Favorite Southern Gospel DJ, Large Market” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

1989 

  • Paul Heil voted “Favorite Southern Gospel DJ, Large Market” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

  • January - Special half-hour editions of The Gospel Greats program begin airing on the American Armed Forces Radio Network worldwide. 

  • October - A special one-hour edition of The Gospel Greats program becomes the first Christian music program carried on AFRN’s FM division. 

1990 

  • The Gospel Greats program celebrates 10th anniversary with $40,000 in prizes during Great Annual Giveaway. 

  • The Gospel Greats begins airing on WINB International Shortwave.  Reception reports as far away as New Zealand. 

  • Southern Gospel Music Guild, at Paul Heil’s suggestion, designates September as “Southern Gospel Music Month,” an annual promotion which ran for more than a decade. 

  • Paul Heil elected president of the Southern Gospel Music Guild, an organization of industry leaders. He remains in that position for nine years. 

  • Paul Heil voted “Favorite Southern Gospel DJ, Large Market” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

1991 

  • Paul Heil elected a Gospel Music Association vice president. 

  • Paul Heil awarded Singing News magazine’s highest honor, the Marvin Norcross Award. 

  • Paul Heil invited to a Gaither taping in Nashville’s Master’s Touch studios to record interviews for a “Homecoming Special.” Some unplanned videotaping at that session launched the highly successful Gaither Homecoming video and concert series. 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Fan Awards. 

1992 

  • Jan Cain retires as contributor of the “Gospel Music News Update” segment of the program. 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Fan Awards. 

  • “The Gospel Greats” offices move to new, larger facilities (an 11,720-sq. ft. building). 

1993 

  • Listeners to The Gospel Greats contribute more than $20,000 to the Salvation Army for midwest flood relief. 

  • The monthly countdown edition advances from the first weekend of the month to the last weekend of the previous month. 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Fan Awards. 

  • Radio stations collectively devote more than 23,090 hours of airtime to The Gospel Greats program this year. 

1994 

  • Studio moves to new facility (where the office had moved two years previously).  Equipment upgraded to state-of-the-art. 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

  • Singing News magazine publishes an “At Home (at the office) with Paul and Shelia Heil” article in July issue. 

1995 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Fan Awards. 

1996 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Fan Awards. 

1997 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Fan Awards. 

  • Paul Heil is cover photo and story in the Trade Review, a Singing News music industry publication. 

  • The Southern Gospel Music Guild awarded Paul their “Hearts Aflame” award as “Radio Personality of the Year.” 

  • Religious Broadcasting magazine cites The Gospel Greats program as among the “Top 25 U. S. Syndicated Weekly [Religious] Radio Programs” in America. 

1998 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

  • Christmas program marks conversion from program tape production and distribution to all-digital recording and editing and distribution on compact discs. 

1999 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

  • www.thegospelgreats.com begins full-fledged presence on the web following several years of a more limited web presence. 

2000 

  • “The Gospel Greats” program celebrates 20th anniversary with first-ever program co-host, George Younce.  That program also was the first with hosts recorded at a remote location (George’s sun room at his home). 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

  • The Gospel Greats weekly e-mail newsletter begins publication. Thousands request it. 

2001
 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

2002 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

  • Our own Shelia Heil graces the cover of the February edition of “Trade Review,” a Singing News publication targeted primarily to folks employed in the field of Southern Gospel music. 

2003 

  • Paul inducted into the Pennsylvania Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

2004 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

  • The Southern Gospel Music Association honored The Gospel Greats with its highest overall award, the “James D. Vaughan Impact Award.” 

2005 

  • The Gospel Greats celebrates 25th anniversary throughout February! 

  • The program’s first-ever guest host, Gerald Wolfe, helped celebrate the Silver Anniversary by interviewing Paul Heil as his Featured Artist, for the broadcast the weekend of February 19th. 

  • “The Gospel Greats” voted “Favorite Southern Gospel Syndicated Radio Program” in Singing News Fan Awards. 

2006

  • Paul was the in-studio announcer on the first-ever live Southern Gospel music concert broadcast from XM Satellite Radio's Washington, DC, studio complex.

  • Paul was granted an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Emmanuel Baptist University in ceremonies at the Pentagon, Washington, DC.

2007

  • New "DigiDelivery" system installed for stations to use in downloading the weekly program (rather than relying on CD delivery).  (Additional download systems added later.)

  • Paul honored with the Impact Diamond Award for making a major impact on the field of Southern Gospel music.

2008

  • Paul & Shelia's son, Andrew, marries Meredith Talbert in June.  (Andrew later comes to work in our office.)

2009

  • The Southern Gospel Music Guild bestows its "Lifetime Achievement Award" on Paul.

  • Publication began of a weekly Affiliate Advisory newsletter (for stations airing The Gospel Greats program).

2010

  • The Gospel Greats program's 30th anniversary edition in February featured Bill Gaither as a special guest throughout the program, which was taped in his personal office in Indiana.

  • The Gospel Greats program aired its first-ever "Christmas Stories" edition Christmas weekend, featuring personal Christmas stories called in by listeners.

2011

  • The Gospel Greats began offering an "uncut" edition to stations which could accommodate flexible lengths (rather than rigid timing).

2012

  • The ASGM did a live webcast interview with Paul & Shelia from the TGG studio May 4th.

  • The Gospel Greats did its first-ever "split" edition the weekend before July 4th, with a God-and-country edition for USA listeners and a "regular" edition for listeners elsewhere in the world, including Canada.

2013

  • New interview studio constructed at our offices to accommodate more easily the increasing number of traveling artists who would stop by for an interview here rather than at concert venues.

  • November 16th program included a full-hour tribute to the Couriers on their retirement.  (Group member Dave Kyllonen had been the first "host voice" of The Gospel Greats program.)

2014

  • Paul was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame in September, Southern Gospel music's highest honor.

  • Paul was the subject of the Singing News "Golden Mic" interview article in February.

  • Paul was the "radio host" in the videotaping of "Quartet Night Across America," later released on TV and on DVD.

  • Singing News magazine did a "Married To The Music" feature with Shelia Heil.

  • In July, we marked the 20th anniversary of moving into our current office/studio facilities — still a blessing.

2015

  • The Gospel Greats program celebrates its 35th anniversary with a special broadcast the weekend of February 7, 2015, featuring an archival Featured Artist visit with the Cathedrals.