It's Halloween and guess what will shortly follow? Christmas music on the radio.
When I was growing up and when I began my career in radio, holiday music would not begin until after Thanksgiving. A Christmas song would be heard once an hour beginning the week after Thanksgiving and increase as we got closer to Christmas Day. Today, some radio stations switch to all Christmas music shortly after Halloween. Why do they do this? The answer is ratings and advertising. Typically these stations ratings jump when all Christmas music is featured during the holiday season. It's a risky move yet has proven to be successful in some cases.
Lots of stations don't play any Christmas music because it really wouldn't fit their format.An Alternative or Classic Rock format wouldn't fare too well playing "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby. They can feature a Christmas special on the holiday itself.
You can offer some Christmas music yet keep your regular format. Lots of internet stations feature Christmas music all the time. Their listeners increase during the holidays while lots of other internet stations lose listeners during the holiday season.
Edgewater Gold Radio is an oldies stations and starts to include some Christmas music beginning on Thanksgiving. By the 2nd week of December we're playing about 4 Christmas songs an hour. We want to keep in the holiday spirit yet not stray too far away from our regular format. I also found that by doing this, we don't lose as many listeners during the holidays.