What are your best options for holiday programming?

By Managing Partner Jon Holiday

Here’s some practical advice for determining your best options for holiday programming.

The All-Christmas Format

If your market already has a station that has typically switched to a seasonal All Christmas approach; our advice is simple. Don’t think that you’re going to one-up the incumbent station by going All Christmas; they already own that position.

There are, however, rare cases where there are two All Christmas stations in a few markets. One example is Cleveland, where AC WDOK and Classic Hits WMJI have both switched to All Christmas successfully for 10+ years now.

If your station is already the All Christmas franchise in your market, you already know that you’ll probably want to make the change about 10 days to two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, at the earliest and run through Christmas Day (New Year’s Day in some cases). But really, you know your market conditions best and there’s some gut feel as to when it’s best for you to make the switch. Is it beginning to feel a lot like Christmas?

Options For Other Stations

If going All Christmas isn’t an option in your market and you program other Adult targeted stations, here are some other ways to stay relevant during the season with listeners.

Typically, most adult targeted stations begin playing a few Christmas songs per hour the day after Thanksgiving. Stations targeting younger adults and stations that aren’t big Christmas music formats usually wait until sometime in December before rolling out holiday music.

Christmas is about memories, tradition and great music!  It doesn’t mean you can’t play some new songs from current artists. But new Christmas songs probably shouldn’t be played more than once per hour.  The majority of what’s played should be familiar beloved favorites.

Use what you can’t do against the All Christmas station. Once you begin to play holiday songs, start using a slogan such as: “Lite FM, playing just the right amount of Christmas music”.

Produce some holiday vignettes using comments from listeners in your market talking about what Christmas means to them, their traditions, things they like to do and places they like to go in your market over the holidays.

Radio Consulting Services have been helping stations with the All Christmas format since 2005, including two syndicated 24/7 versions. While the window for a launch gets tighter each day, we do have a solution for stations wanting to go All Christmas. Contact our partners at Sun Broadcast Group about our “Christmas 24/7” format at 800-871-6163 or info@sunbgi.com