FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, November 05, 2004

It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas...

One of the major radio stations in the Philadelphia area has begun playing holiday music in what they bill as a "holiday preview weekend." Soon they'll switch over to an all-holiday format until after Christmas Day.

You may have noticed that this has become a trend over the last few years. And there's a good reason for it. Some say it started in 2001 in the wake of 9/11, when a little extra holiday cheer seemed just the ticket for a nation still in shock and mourning. At that time, the stations that adopted the all-holiday format began right after Thanksgiving.

But then something funny happed: stations realized that with the all-Christmas format, they had a ratings hit on their hands. So they started up even earlier.

And why not? It seems that, belatedly, radio station managers have stumbled upon a fundamental truth about American culture: people love Christmas! The genius of the all-holiday format is that stations can mix up old chestnuts from the likes of Bing Crosby and Johnny Mathis with carols sung by the latest pop idols.

By doing that, the media rediscovered something they thought they had lost long ago -- the mass audience. It's one of those things that's so obvious you're amazed that no one hit on it earlier. Why, after all, do people of all ages watch those old Chrismas movies like It's a Wonderful Life and specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Grinch year after year?

No all-holiday stations in your area? Fear not... just go to a site like the Christmas Radio Network and listen to holiday music through the Internet.