Again, 104.7/The Fish was the first station to go all Christmas this morning. The Christian pop station opted to open the Christmas doors the same time as a year ago: the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
At 8:07 a.m., Amy Grant’s “Jingle Bells” heralded a month-long holiday tradition that is expected to include more than 8,000 songs. This is the station’s ninth year of switching formats at this time of year.
B98.5, which last year zoomed to No. 1 in the ratings the minute it brought Santa Claus into town, chose the same time as 2009 to launch its format: 11:59 a.m. with Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock.”
The first station in Atlanta to go all Christmas happened was then Peach 94.9 a decade ago. Fish jumped aboard in 2002. B98.5 followed in 2004. In 2006, Peach (now Lite) dropped Christmas in the middle of December for a country format, 94.9/The Bull, leaving Atlanta with two all-Christmas stations the past four years.
If you want your Christmas music with a bit more spirituality, listen to Fish, which features songs such as “O Come, o Come Emmanuel” and “What Child is This?.” But the station will also throw in some secular classics, too, such as Andy Williams’ “Silver Bells” and Burl Ives’ “It’s a Holly Jolly Christmas.”
(Sirius/XM switched its Love station to all Christmas last week. South-skewing Magic 98.1 went Christmas earlier this month. J93.3, a Christian station that can be heard on the south side will start all Christmas music on Friday.)
B98.5 has been known to keep a tight playlist which includes the usual suspects such as Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” and Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” And though there are always dozens of new Christmas albums released each year, the station is picky about playing new versions of old songs. As for brand new Christmas songs getting widespread airplay? Rare nowadays anywhere. Tradition rules the day.
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog