It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (?)

While many are digesting the last of their Halloween candy and Thanksgiving is gradually entering onto individual radar screens, one need not travel far up or down the dial to tunes of a counterintuitive nature for this time of year: Christmas music.

Like it or love it, radio stations are spreading the yuletide spirit across the country – in some cases, earlier and earlier. Bill Shea of Crain’s Detroit Business explored the how’s and why’s in his story this week featuring Tanner Friedman’s perspectives. You can read the entire piece here.

In Metro Detroit, adult contemporary station WNIC continues to lead the annual Kris Kringle-charge as they took to the airwaves on November 9th to inject visions of sugar plumbs into their listener’s heads. By comparison, Chicago’s WLIT went all-holiday on Halloween, Seattle’s KYXE on October 10! Like ‘NIC, both stations are soft rock, a format historically most conducive to the multi-week (or month) switch.

As the Crain’s story described, holiday music is big business for radio. For example, over the past 3 years, WNIC has ranked #1 ever year for both the December and Holiday rating books, pulling listeners from virtually every other radio station in town. After all, in the segmented world of radio, holiday music represents the only format that can potentially appeal to everyone at some point. As such, stations like WNIC often raise spot rates during this period by as much as 20%.

As commercial radio continues to look for more ways to stand out from its many competitors, don’t be surprised to see more stations unveiling temporary ‘Santa-song switches’ – gift wrapped especially for both increased listening and commercial ad dollars.