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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Profiting From The Flip To Christmas


Ben Sisario at The New York Times pens a piece about radio's run-up to the holidays and how many stations across the country flip formats to take advantage of the jolly mood of listeners and advertisers. Sisario says in the last decade the number of stations flipping to a holiday playlist has doubled, with stations turning earlier and earlier. Two weeks ago, Equity Communications' WEZW-FM in New Jersey flipped. Owner Gary Fisher tells Sisario, ?Christmas music is comfort-zone radio for a lot of people. Given everything that has happened in Atlantic City and in South Jersey, this music really is a link to better times. That?s why we feel it works for us early.?

In New York City, iHeartMedia's WLTW will flip to Christmas in November and iHeartMedia Network President Darren Davis tells Sisario, ?It?s about more than just the songs. When you walk into a Hallmark store around the holidays, everything is Christmas ? the carpet is Christmas, the window decorations are Christmas, it smells like Christmas candles and cookies. That?s the environment we try to create with our Christmas radio station.?

The flips to Christmas music will start rather quickly over the next few weeks and they'll take place all over the country in large and small markets. KZPT-FM in Kansas City PD Tony Lorino tells Sisario, ?It?s like Starbucks saying, ?We?re not going to serve anything but peppermint lattes for the next six weeks.? For those six weeks, a lot of people are going to come in and get peppermint lattes, but somebody else who?s just looking for their regular coffee is really upset.?

About radio flipping to Christmas music for several weeks out of the year, Sisario writes, "Even in the age of Pandora and Spotify, the all-holiday format has remained one of radio?s most enduring and profitable gimmicks, with hundreds of stations luring listeners with endless loops of ?Feliz Navidad? and ?Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.?

You can read Ben Sisario's New York Times article HERE.
If you plan to flip to holiday music, let us know. Send all the details and your holiday pictures to
Picture of Gary Fisher courtesy of Ryan Collerd for The New York Times

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