Playing what Santa doesn’t necessarily want

WILVHubbard’s WILV beats Clear Channel’s WLIT in Christmas music race – of sorts

With the weather getting unseasonably colder across the country, many radio stations are already getting jingle fever and Chicago is no exception.

Thursday morning, Hubbard Broadcasting’s WILV (a.k.a. The Pointergate Company) added several Christmas songs to its usual adult contemporary music format and called it The Christmas Blend, devoting at least 50 percent of its playlist to yuletide tunes and the other 50 percent to its regular rotation.

While this type of format is nothing new in Chicago, some of the music segues could be interesting of the “train wreck” variety, e.g. a Jackson Five Christmas song followed by a raunchy Katy Perry tune.

Meanwhile, WLIT launched its Christmas music format at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning. Unlike WILV, WLIT’s format consists entirely of the holly jolly variety.

Granted, the format isn’t exactly of the best quality, particularly at Clear Channel/iHeart Media stations (oh, what a shock, since you hear the same crappy Mariah Carey Christmas tune every hour.) But despite its shortcomings, the Christmas format sends listeners through the entrances en masse, rending most December and “Holiday” ratings periods useless (which is great for yours truly, who is spared from analyzing any ratings period until January.)

And just as important is Christmas is a family-friendly format which attracts plenty of advertisers – notably retail chains, who feel the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year stations are the best way to reach consumers during the holiday season.

This is the fourteenth year WLIT is playing Christmas music; this is the second year the station branded itself as “Chicago’s Christmas Station”.

If the two Chicago stations Christmas extravaganzas isn’t to your liking, there are plenty of alternatives through Sirius/XM and Internet radio (through Pandora, Stitcher, Tune In, etc.)

Let the Christmas [revenue] rush begin!