Radio stations ring in holiday cheer too early


By Emilie Plesset, Online Editor-in-Chief

 November is usually marked by Veteran’s Day, a new school quarter, fall boots, jackets and a satisfying Thanksgiving meal. Recently, however it also means the beginning of the non-stop playing of Christmas music. Over the years, round-the-clock Christmas music seems to begin earlier and earlier, with some radio stations making the switch even before the Thanksgiving turkey has been bought.  Listeners who would rather not listen to Christmas jingles so far from the actual holiday are forced to either find another station, or grin and bear the non-stop holiday cheer, hoping the next two months fly by fast.

Radio stations spend 10 months a year building up a loyal base of listeners that like the genre of music they play.  The early switch to Christmas music jolts listeners from their daily routines, leaving some to search for other radio stations to find the music that they prefer.

The mistake that radio stations seem to make is assuming that all of their listeners celebrate Christmas.  Although many listeners may observe this holiday, the likelihood is that not every person does, particularly in major metropolitan areas.

Radio stations must realize that some of their loyal listeners may be offended that their favorite station sends out the message that for the next two months the beliefs of their viewers who do not celebrate Christmas will be ignored.

When Christmas music starts before Thanksgiving it diminishes the value and importance of the Thanksgiving holiday.  This year, local  station 97.1 WashFM switched to playing exclusively Christmas music Nov. 16.  Not only does the music diminish Thanksgiving’s significance, but when Christmas finally comes around some listeners are sick of hearing “Jingle Bell Rock” five times a day.

Radio stations argue that the switch to all-Christmas music raises their ratings and earns them more money, but money should not be the only factor that decides the music a station plays.  Radio should broadcast what pleases the whole of their loyal listeners and not what pleases a portion of their listeners and fills their wallets.  It is not fair to those who do not enjoy listening to non-stop Christmas music to have to change their listening habits so far from the actual holiday.

While radio stations crack open the Christmas tunes in early November, the joyful songs would be better appreciated closer to the time of the holiday preparations.  Instead of two long months of Christmas music, listeners would become even more excited if Christmas tunes would conquer the radio the day after Thanksgiving when the Christmas sales begin.  The shorter period of Christmas tunes would be less of an annoyance to those listeners who may not necessarily enjoy this music.