It seems that at the moment (3:40 P.M. EDT October 10th), WNIC-100.3's last ten songs played (posted on their website) are songs you'd normally expect to hear on a soft AC.
But they also have listed a "Christmas Top Ten". And their homepage will probably become the template for homepages of those Christmas Channel (a/k/a Clear Channel) stations that do go all-Christmas.
My guess: WNIC and many other stations will go all-Christmas on November 1st.
Indeed, ABC Radio's 24/7 satellite-fed all-Christmas format
will begin broadcasting on November 1st. I believe last year, that format did not begin until mid-November. BTW, ABC's 24/7 satellite-fed Christmas format will be available through January 1st, although I suspect there will be only a couple of stations that will be broadcasting it after Christmas Day.
Last year, I don't think the total of all-Christmas stations hit 150 until just before Thanksgiving. This year, that number may well be reached during the first couple of days of November.
One reason you may hear a lot more Christmas music on radio this year: Retailers are fearful this will be the worst Christmas-shopping season in decades (thanks to higher energy costs, the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, etc.). It could be the first Christmas-shopping season in many years where total retail sales, even before being adjusted for inflation, will decline.
What does this have to do with radio??
For most music-formatted stations, most revenue comes from retail advertisers. And if retailers have a terrible Christmas season, they may cut back on ad expenditures in 2006, which will hurt most radio stations.
Playing Christmas music on radio is an effective way of subconciously urging people to "get your Christmas shopping done!". And given that radio depends so much on retail advertising, retail advertisers have radio's ear. And if retail says to radio "Play More Christmas Music!" or "Start Your 24/7 Christmas Music Earlier This Year!", radio will listen and obey.
(As for me, I have already done most of my Christmas shopping)
Edited by Joseph_Gallant on 10/10/05 07:42 PM.