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Airwaves: November 19, 2010

Holiday Music Now?

The mention last week of which station might be the first to switch to all holiday music this year brought an interesting letter from John Jouver of Glendale.

Actually it’s a repeat letter of sorts, as I’ve discussed this issue with John in the past, and to be honest, I totally agree.

His premise: who cares which station is the first to switch, but why does the music disappear by December 26th?

“The holiday season has started, and as you mention, radio is getting ready to do it again. Help carry us through the holidays; with the economy the way it is, we sure need it,” he writes.

“Instead of the music coming to a crashing halt on Christmas Day, we should take a cue from our European cousins. Their ‘holidays’ don’t stop on Christmas Day, but extend trough the new year. My suggestion is and has been: start holiday music on the radio Thanksgiving Day, not before, and end on New Years Day.

“Besides extending this wonderful holiday time of the year for their listeners, it actually would extend through the entire holiday season.”

That’s a good point. Even the “Twelve Days of Christmas” start, not end, on Christmas Day. I wonder if any station would ever consider such a programming move ...

Who’s On First?

I suppose from a technical standpoint, the answer to what station began playing holiday music first is Sirius/XM Channel 4. Or Sirius 3. Or XM 23. All three (or is it four? Or 2?) began playing holiday music on November 15th.

Sirius/XM Channel 4 temporarily replaces the regular music from the 1940s with traditional holiday music that begins with the 1940s and extends through the 1960s. Bing Crosby, Nat “King” Cole, Andy Williams and Ray Conniff can be found among the circle of friends here.

Sirius 3 and XM 23 are simulcasting contemporary holiday music by such artists as John Mayor, Mariah Carey and Josh Groban. I don’t know about XM 23, but Sirius Channel 3 usually plays a light rock format.

Both sets of channels took some advise from John Jouver ... they will continue the holiday programming through January 1st and December 31st, respectively.

Beginning December 1st, Sirius and XM will add two more holiday channels: Radio Hanukkah on Sirius 76/XM 23, and Holiday Pops on Sirius 79/XM 77. And if that weren’t enough, you can have yourself a Country Christmas beginning December 10th on Sirius 62 and XM 10. All five sets of channels will be commercial-free.

Across the Sea

Catalina Island’s KBRT (740 AM) is getting ready to move transmitter sites 26 miles across the sea, as they say. According to The CGC Communicator, an email newsletter for radio engineers, the station will be moving transmitter sites from the island to the Santa Ana mountains in the near future; a test antenna used to measure conductivity was recently constructed on the new site and it seems that all went well, even if it proved a little more difficult than first thought.

What this means for KBRT’s future is not that clear to me. Santa Ana is quite a distance from Catalina; I am wondering if the station plans to transfer its city of license to the mainland as well.


Copyright © 2010 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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