Nov 14, 2005

Christmas Radio: Early Start To The Barrage

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(Toledo, OH) I like Christmas, and I am far from a cynical holiday curmudgeon who, fist raised to the sky, detests all things Yuletidinal.

That being said, I was surprised to turn to 101.5 FM on Saturday November 12 and hear that the station has started its "all-Christmas, all-the-time" rotation, even if it is a weekend-only phenomena at the moment.

Is this the earliest start for the annual audio assault on listeners' ears, or have there been years in which programming directors sought to capitalize on the holidays with an earlier start than this?

Remember, I am a person who actually likes Christmas carols, at least in moderate doses. Last year, though, local radio hit a new low for holiday overkill. WRQN, Oldies 93.5, joined the Christmas crowd by playing five weeks of holiday oldies. Stations like the classic rock WXKR and "Toledo's Rock Leader" WIOT also found plenty of holiday rock programming with which to subject us.

There were more than a few moments last Christmas season when there were more stations playing holiday music than those on a regular format.

Can there be that much of a demand for Christmas music? Is there truly a market share to be found when three, four or five stations simultaneously blast the same songs ad nauseum?

I am not even addressing the obscene commercialization of the holidays, for which my ranting can have little effect except to cause a half dozen like-minded souls to nod their heads and say: "Amen, brother." All we ask is for some balance in the music played this season.

Remember, too, that while self-identified Christians dominate local demographics, they are not the only consumers. Toledo boasts sizeable populations of Muslims, Jews, atheists, Bahá’í-ists, and Buddhists; I have to believe that their dials spend little time on an all-Christmas station.

Toledo programming directors: it is not too late to rethink your holiday rotation plans. Have mercy on your listeners, and spare us the holiday overkill.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hate Christmas music. They should have one station - a really crappy one, like YES-FM, go all-Christmas, and leave the rest of us alone.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Mike,

I too would like more of a variation to the 24/7 Christmas barrage.

How about some short informative narratives (with the appropriate background music) introducing the Christian masses to the seasonal observances of other faiths.

I would like to know more about Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Bahá’í-ists, and their practices/beliefs.

I’d like to find about the observations and celebrations in other countries too.

A little cross-cultural “contamination” could go a long way towards promoting understanding, tolerance, and acceptance.

These little snippets/bits, besides informing, would lengthen the time between repeats of those damn dogs barking “Jingle Bells” and that yahoo informing me that “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” yet again…

And that in itself cannot be all bad.

Lisa Renee said...

I hate Christmas music, I also am not particularly fond of what they call "Christmas" because most people don't even have a clue as to what the day originally meant. Pagan or Christian.

:-)

Anonymous said...

Christmas means nothing but ringing registers now.

Anonymous said...

Russ Lemon said today in his column that 93.5 wouldn't do an all Chirstmas format, thank God.
--Jason

historymike said...

Phew! I turn to 93.5 quite a few times a day; it's great mood music, and they don't go berzerk with talk.

Plus, I am getting to the age (41) where some of the music I grew up with actually qualifies as an "oldie."

Not that I do, of course. :-}

I boycotted them last year during the Christmas-athon.

valbee said...

The only Christmas song I want to hear each year is Bruce Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." Once I hear it, I'm good for another year. :)

But the radio stations can do what they want because I don't listen anyway.

valbee said...

And Mike... the music you and I grew up listening to (I'm 39) isn't "oldies." It's "classic." :)

Do said...

Christmas music should be played selectively and mixed in with other genres. 24/7 of Silent Night is just a bit much for me.

I read an article somewhere that if you walked into a kindergarten and asked the children what Christmas means the most common answer is 'presents'.

In this house we don't do 'presents' since we 'get stuff' all year. We do spend quality family time sans television/computers/radio and usually walk in the park, take photos of snow (if available) and just enjoy each others' company.

Christmas should be a time for reflection - not a 'CHARGE' cheer led by the credit card companies.

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