When is Too Early For Christmas Music?

We’ve been through this all before…

Last year it was MOVIN 101.1 that finally had the life-support plug pulled on it and switched to Christmas music in October, and now its 100.3 KATZ thats flipping the switch to Christmas music a little earlier than we all would prefer.  So two years in a row, the majority of St. Louisan’s are left scratching our heads as to why on earth you would want to play Chrismas music this early.

There are two reasons for this, so allow us to break it down for you.

Reason Number One: It allowed you to get a jump on the ratings

As of just a few months ago, the radio ratings system used “diaries” for listeners to tell the ratings people what they listened to.  The problem is that most people wouldn’t put in “105.7 The Point” they would put in “rock” or “alternative” or “country” so stations are allowed to stake claims on these keywords.  For holiday music, the staking process boiled down to a race: Those that start that music first get the keyword.  So when 101.1 started Christmas music last year in October, it got to stake it’s claim to the keyword “Chrismas” so that even if some reindeer sweater wearing grandma was actually listening to Y98’s Christmas music, but just wrote down “Christmas music,” 101.1 got the point.  Trickery at it’s finest.

However, in July a new ratings system came to town that is more or less a pager that people wear and it does all the tracking of what you listen to with codes embedded in the radio signal.  I’m not 100% sure how this effects the keywords, but we would think that means they are gone, which also means the only real reason 100.3 is switching to Christmas music so soon is…

Reason Number Two: It’s a Cheap Time Filler

You hear a lot of DJs on the “Christmas stations” do ya?  Nope.  You don’t pay a soul…hell you don’t even need to keep the lights on in the booth!  Playing Christmas music for a few months is a super cheap way to kill the time.  Step 1: Lock someone in a room. Step 2: Tell them to make a schedule of all the Christmas songs you have rights too. Step 3: Repeat it until the new year.  Step 4: Change the station.

It happened last year, its happening this year, and it will happen again.  But do any of the actual public like it?  Doesn’t seem that way.  Most people we hear from hated it last year and hate it this year.  Right or wrong, people get stressed out about Christmas and when you remind them its coming earlier then they would like, its not going to make them happy.  Add to that the fact that, on the whole, Christmas music sucks donkey dong and you have yourself a recipe for a lot of people dumping on your station.

Doesn’t matter to the stations though.

Maybe that kind of thinking is why less and less people listen to the radio these days…