Back to Wag-Net Main Page

Airwaves: November 18, 2011

Early Christmas ... again

In the weird, wild world of corporate radio, we have a winner in the category of Which Station Switches to All Christmas Music First. For the first time ever, it isn’t KOST (103.5 FM) ... which, probably will have switched by the time you read this. No, this time it’s The Wave (94.7 FM) that made the move at 5 PM Sunday, November 12th.

Time was when you could at least wait until Thanksgiving weekend before the music started. Actually, it wasn’t that long ago that the music was interspersed into the regular format. And I find it humorous that The Wave was first this year only because Jhani Kaye is the programmer. You can probably guess which station he programmed in the past and thus wanted to beat to the punch this year.

Of course the big question is why? Why go full-time Christmas music in the first place? Wouldn’t that just scare away your regular listeners? As it turns out ... no. Christmas music brings in listeners in droves. KOST, in fact, earned a 9.3 share of the audience last year, more than twice its normal rating ... and dominating Los Angeles for a month.

Will the early (earlier) switch by The Wave work the same magic for 94.7? Depends on if old habits can be broken. Music selection could be key, as reader Mary Ritchie pointed out in an email. “KOST’s Christmas music selection is horrendous,” she said. “It’s seems they went shopping at a flea market for the oddest, most offbeat holiday music they could find. It’s been two years in a row that I’ve heard Dean Martin singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with a poor German accent in certain places.”

Mystery Theater Lives

Do you remember the CBS Radio Mystery Theater that ran on CBS-owned or affiliated and other stations nationwide (local on KNX 1070 AM) from 1974 to 1982? Created by Himan Brown and hosted by E.G. Marshall, it was one of my absolute favorite radio programs growing up.

I had not thought about it for years but happened to be searching the internet due to a later question in Ritchie’s email that -- possibly -- referenced the program.

Turns out that you can find them on numerous websites. Two examples include -- if you’re willing to part with a whopping $10 to join the Old Time Radio Club -- all 1399 shows at Or if $10 is too much, try

Radio’s history, presented and preserved by the internet.

Sirius to XM?

When satellite subscription radio services Sirius and XM merged a few years ago, a promise was made to continue supplying programming to both -- incompatible -- systems. Of course a single radio that was to be able to receive both systems was promised by both companies before the merger, and that never materialized, so I know what promises are worth.

While no one at Sirius/XM seems to be speaking, it does appear that Sirius/XM is standardizing on one platform, and it does appear to be XM. In fact, last year the company told automakers to only offer XM systems by 2016, and more recently, production of Sirius Plug and Play models was halted.

Standardizing on one platform makes economic sense, but it may be problematic for some. Want Howard Stern? You have to subscribe to XM and the Best of Sirius, adding to your monthly cost. Want to be able to read the entire artist name and song title on your radio’s display? XM can’t show the whole thing due to a 16-character limit on the display, or 10 if you have an older receiver. Sirius radios had no such limitation.

By the way, beginning December 14th and with staggered starts through December 20, Sirius/XM has up to seven holiday music channels available. From traditional, Latin and country Christmas favorites to Radio Hanukkah, they have it.


Copyright © 2011 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

To subscribe to The Daily Breeze, call (310) 540-5511