We’re technically just two weeks into fall but that hasn’t stopped some radio stations from dusting off the Christmas records. Despite some backlash, Birmingham, AL’s 100.1 FM and Duluth, MN’s 106.5 are now playing the all-too-familiar Christmas jingles non-stop. And to really pile on, the Duluth station claims to be switching its format to Christmas music year-round.
100.1 FM Birmingham was particularly nonchalant about the early switch, telling detractors that they should just listen to other radio stations if they don’t like hearing Christmas music in October. “We understand it’s early for Christmas music, but if the stores have decorations out we figured some folks might be ready,” said station program director John Olsen to AL.com. “If you like Christmas music without commercials 100.1 is a great choice, but if you think it’s too early, you can listen to Rick and Bubba and country music on 104.7 or classic rock on 106.9. Then when you’re ready for Christmas music without commercials listen to 100.1.”
The year-round transition to Christmas fare for Duluth’s 106.5 is a little more dubious: Radio stations occasionally announce that they’re switching formats to something bizarre to gain attention before the station’s actual format change to something more mainstream. A Houston-based radio station used this trick, called “stunting,” when it played only Beyoncé last year for an extended period. Other examples include a Camden, NJ radio station playing R.E.M.’s It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) ad nauseam, and a Kent, OH station playing Take Me Out To the Ballgame for two months during the ‘94 MLB strike.
As for Birmingham 100.1 FM radio listeners, it sounds like it’s going to be looking (or, rather, sounding) a lot like Christmas for the foreseeable future. According to a (likely) unscientific study, some listeners in Alabama are ready for Christmas music in October. Of the 1,562 people who took a survey on AL.com asking if listeners were ready for holiday tunes, 33 percent said yes. So, maybe the radio station is actually onto something?