CCM Classic Story, how we got started

our story

“The greats of contemporary Christian music deserve a place of honor in today's musical landscape. On this site, we have chosen to present only artists whose songs have had the staying power to extend to at least 10 years of ministry or more. Some of these artists we call ‘pioneers’ because they really paved the way for the freedom of music expression Christian artists enjoy today. Before the 70s, there was no mainstream vehicle for Christianity in the pop music world. Looking back on a day when Christian music was given a voice for the first time and now seeing what the industry has become today, we’ve just begun to realize it’s time for these trailblazers to be recognized for their invaluable contributions. We remember—we saw it happen.

“Because of these artists, today we have the privilege of hearing the Gospel proclaimed through music in a way that is relevant and far-reaching.

“The Classic music of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s is just as relevant today as it was the day it was written.  The term Classic does not reference age, but rather the quality and permanence of both a powerful song and a timeless artist.”

So writes Michael Lederer, cofounder of CCM Classic Radio and CCMClassic.com.  Michael Lederer and fellow music industry veteran, Christopher Yates, created the show out of the desire not only to give credit where credit is due, but to enrich the spectrum of current Contemporary Christian Music through interviews of CCM Classic artists and their music.

CCM Classic was started as a for profit endeavor, but as time went on we realized that we were headed down the wrong path...that our hearts were all about creating a vehicle that would  continually ignite the music and artistry of important times in Christian music.  As a result we turned CCM Classic into a non for profit 501 (c3) organization.  CCM Classic is much larger than a couple of individuals.  Please read our mission statement below.

Mission Statement

To provide multi media channels for the purpose of preserving classic Contemporary Christian music, educate the public about the roots and spiritual values attributable to classic Contemporary Christian music and further provide a public forum for classic Contemporary Christian Artists to express their testimonies and life lessons for the purpose of encouraging fellow believers.  Provide professional recognition, promotional activities, events, products and services to the classic Contemporary Christian Artists benefiting them and allowing them to expand their ministries. 

Why is CCM Classic Important?

“Because of these artists, today we have the privilege of hearing the Gospel proclaimed through music in a way that is relevant and far-reaching.”

A classic is something that has proved its value and worth over time. In the world of CCM, there are artists and songs that have stayed the course over decades of air play and today, stand distinguished in the genre. Just as with any other musical tradition—rock n’ roll, jazz, country and others—it’s the classics that have shaped the sound, inspired the current generation and set the standard. In the CCM world, it’s time for those classics to be heard once again.

That’s where CCM Classic comes in. For the first time, there will be a central location for the songs that defined this genre to be heard…for the artists who paved the way to have a voice once again…and for all the listeners whose lives and hearts have been changed and enriched because of this music to have a place to listen, share their gratitude and engage with like-minded fans around the country and around the world.

We don’t take the word Classic lightly. And in the world of Contemporary Christian Music, as with any establishment, we want to honor where we’ve come from and listen, once again, to the music that helped so many of us find our way.

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the team

Michael Lederer | Co-Founder, Marketing and Finance

In 1992, Michael and his good friend, Michael Laskow, launched a Los Angeles-based music company that specializes in giving artists, bands and songwriters real access to the decision makers in the music industry—the ones that have the power to sign deals. That company, known as TAXI, is today the world’s leading independent artist & repertoire company.  Michael's vision today, is to help brand an era of music that has been flying under the radar for far too many years...to brings these amazing artists and groups back in the fold.  Many of these artists and group shaped the face of CCM music and must not be forgotten.

Chris Yates | Co-Founder, Radio and Promotions

Chris has been in media for over 20 years. He started out at a large TV station and left as traffic manager, later finishing college with a business degree. After an extensive tour of Europe in 1990, he returned to the U.S. to work with IBM in software sales. In 1992, he left the software world and enjoyed a 7-year career as an account executive, promotions director, and eventually general sales manager for a radio station in Detroit. In 1999, the station changed formats and Chris went to work for a start-up Internet company in Nashville with Gaylord Entertainment as a Web Cast Producer and traveled the U.S. producing web-based programs. In late 2000, Gaylord Digital closed its doors and Chris started Capitol Ideas, a consulting firm. In March of 2006, Chris joined Salem Communications, a large publishing and broadcast company, as a Marketing Consultant. Chris graduated from the University of South Florida with a BS of Business.

Jill Lederer | Co-Founder, Administration & Legal

An accomplished and results-oriented legal manager with a proven track record of achievement in acquisitions and sales, contractual terms, leasing and loan administration.  Negotiated legal documentation relating to acquisition, disposition, and treatment of company.  Reviewed and commented on various loan documents for eight different refinancing projects in course of one year to fully protect subsidiary interests.   Oversee and develop all systems and aspects of internal affairs from drafting artist booking contracts through completion of an engagement.

Michael Saltar | Web Management, Development & Design

A composer and concert pianist, Michael is passionate about combining the performing arts with the quieter side of visual and written arts through screenwriting, and graphic design. Michael also works as a fine artist, commercial illustrator, and screenwriter. He has been on the creative side of marketing, publishing and advertising for over 25 years through his ad agency, only selecting world-class creative artists to meet client needs with excellence. Michael's team members have participated in projects that have won Emmys, Clios, and have personally won prestigious design and photography awards and have produced volumes of work for clients which include Dell Small Business, CompUSA, FILA, Dole, Chiquita, Deloitte & Touche, Columbia Pictures, Touchstone, CBS, CBN, Hallmark Hall of Fame, Market Street/United grocery stores, County Seat, the Southland Corporation, the Galleria, the Dallas Museum of Art, Hillwood Development (Ross Perot), Disney and Hyatt Hotels.

Dena Divito | Tour Promotions & Special Projects

With twenty years of strategic national marketing and management experience as a team leader in the arts and entertainment industry with focus on grass roots marketing.   Developed and executed national publicity campaigns in conjunction with artists’ national and local tours/ album releases.  Working in conjunction with radio, publicity and management, promotional tours encompassed radio interviews, local print and media, locally sponsored promotional appearances, VIP/meet and greet receptions and special events.

Cynthia Archer | Social Media Manager

Cynthia is passionate about Christian music. Because her own life was dramatically changed via the music of Chuck Girard, she knows first-hand the power of music on the listener. As managing partner for Tim Archer Music, she has served as business manager for The Archers, executive co-producer of "The Beginnings Concert" and project manager for several music restoration projects. "Every day incredible music is being lost to time. Professional masters don't even exist anymore. It's time for this great music to see the light of day again and rekindle the generation that it once ignited." Join CCM Classic on Facebook and Twitter as we discuss and honor the music and artists of classic CCM.