It begins this time every year....
Certain radio stations across America and Canada begin dropping their usually Adult Contemporary, Religious or Oldies formats for all Christmas music.
On the surface, the reason is simple enough - it's the beginning of the holiday season. And regardless if you're still nauseated from all the Halloween candy you ate this weekend and still have your pumpkin outside the front door, it's time to start planning.
But more importantly, the all Christmas music format is one of the most successful in ratings and in sales. Radio stations in this format get lots of advertising and they can charge more for it. If this format could be viable all year round, they would do it.
But by December 25th, some of us are already annoyed by the holiday music overkill and can't wait until the 26th when sanity and regular programming returns.
It's true some radio stations start this format just waaay too early. Yes, the air is getting nippy, but the first week of November is really pushing it. There should really be some breathing room between holidays.
But the bottom line is the bottom line; It's the make or break time for last quarter profits for retail businesses. And Christmas music tends to get people in a spending mood.
Holiday music was once a staple of radio in the 1950s, but as the 1960s to the 1990s progressed, it was usually limited to December 24th and 25th. After the 9/11 attacks, the format returned en masse. We were a nation in shock and in need of comfort. And Christmas music was the perfect aural comfort blankey. It was wildly successful and began yearly traditions at many radio stations.
With that, here's a run down of terrestrial AM and FM radio stations that have already flipped to all Christmas formats (if you really can't wait.) Most of them you can hear online or with streaming mobile.