Brace yourself, folks. Because any day now, a radio station near you may begin playing non-stop Christmas music. “Wall-to-wall” Christmas music, as program directors call it, and yes, it can drive you up the wall.
Every year it seems to begin a little sooner.
But don’t blame your local program director; blame the many listeners who request it. I talked to the program director at Minneapolis-based 102.9 Lite FM (our local Delilah station) a few years ago who said he began the non-stop Christmas tunes Nov. 14, having received 50 to 75 requests a day. Some people feel very strongly about Christmas music.
WLTE’s most-requested seasonal song? “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
More than 100 stations across the country turn to an all-Christmas format, attracting, on average, 10 percent more listeners, according to Edison Media Research. That number has steadily climbed as more stations recognize the ratings-boost and increased ad revenue that Christmas music routinely generates. The format started in the mid-’90s on adult contemporary formatted stations.
I, for one, love my Christmas tunes, and I belt out Bing and Mariah with gleeful abandon. But there’s something about hearing it before Thanksgiving that doesn’t feel right, don’t you think?