Has Radio Moved Up The Unofficial Start Of The Christmas Season?

104.9 Nash-FM WPCK Green BayOriginally the day after Thanksgiving was considered the start of the Christmas season. Now as radio stations have moved up the start of their move to Christmas music, November 1 is quickly becoming the date when the Christmas season begins.

With Halloween in the rear view mirror, most retailers already have their Christmas products in place, Starbucks released their famous holiday cups, and Santa Claus has already arrived at many shopping malls. Since radio stations started going all-Christmas in the early 2000s the start date gradually moved up from Thanksgiving weekend to earlier in November (with there always being one or two stations doing so earlier in October for the added publicity before launching a new format). This year we already have a couple dozen stations nationally that have made the move and most markets will have a station playing holiday music by the end of next week when the majority of the major market ACs take the plunge.

While most of the stations to make the switch to Christmas music are the ones that do so annually, a handful will likely fit into the format change stunt slot like KALE Kennewick WA and Cumulus’ Mainstay Trust Country “104.9 Nash-FM” WPCK Green Bay WI.

The following stations have so far made the plunge to all Christmas so far.

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  1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

    This year, Thanksgiving is on the earliest day possible (the 22nd)–which I do think is somewhat of a factor here.

    1. firepoint525 says

      I would think that later Thanksgivings (like the 28th next year) would cause more “gun-jumpers” than earlier Thanksgiving dates. When Thanksgiving comes late, programmers say that they “can’t wait that long” and pull the trigger earlier. With an earlier date this year, they don’t need that excuse.

  2. firepoint525 says

    Here in Nashville, the trend has been to go back in the opposite direction. A year or two ago, our two major Christmas music flippers made their switches around Veterans’ Day, if memory serves. Apparently, that didn’t work out so well for them, so for the past couple of years, they have reverted back to Thanksgiving week (if not Thanksgiving day itself) changeovers.

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