Newspaper finally notices WOLX has gone Christmas

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Posted by Dane of my Ass on November 09, 2009 at 22:08:21:

Dane of My Existence: Not a week after Halloween, Christmas begins on WOLX

Katjusa Cisar | Posted: Monday, November 9, 2009 5:00 pm

Jack-o-lanterns hadn't yet dried and puckered, the vomit from Freakfest carousing still reeked, and grocery stores still had half-off Halloween candy to unload.

Yet what did I hear on WOLX 94.9 FM? "Let It Snow," "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa," and Whitney Houston's "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Too soon? Well, that's what I thought. The oldies and classic hits radio station began its annual 24/7 Christmas marathon this year on Thursday, Nov. 5. Yes, Christmas. WOLX isn't watering it down as "seasonal" or "holiday" music, either -- it's right at the top of the station's website, "All Christmas Music." (Personally, I appreciate this refreshing lack of political correctness. Really, how many pop Kwanzaa songs are there?)

I tweeted my dismay at the early barrage of Christmas tunes -- on the station I turn to for Sister Sledge, Elton John, Neil Young, maybe a little '70s disco lite -- and received more retweets and @-responses than pretty much anything I've ever posted on Twitter.

It turns out nothing incites passion in people like Christmas music.

David Moore, operations manager at WOLX, Charlie FM and Triple M, said the station used to begin their annual Christmas marathon closer to Thanksgiving but has been moving it earlier and earlier based on listener demand.

Like stores who stock the Halloween aisle in August, radio stations are in competition to start the Christmas season earlier, according to Moore.

The biggest dispute he hears is not whether the station should go Christmas, but when. He does get a few phone calls complaining about the all-Christmas format, but ratings consistantly show that people want more Christmas music and more of the time.

Either way, the format change elicits a love or hate response -- and not much in between.

"It engenders a lot of passion in people," he said.

The all-Christmas format is more diverse in some ways than most commercial radio, ironically, since it encompasses music from the '50s to today (take that, Charlie FM!). The most popular songs in WOLX's Christmas lineup include Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," "Feliz Navidad," Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Story," Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Round the Christmas Tree," and John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)."

So, when is it too soon for Christmas on the radio? I say they wait until after Thanksgiving. Then again, I think anytime is too soon for Whitney Houston's "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

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