As another year of marketing success comes to a close, you’re likely wondering what’s going to be the bow that ties your year together? As you begin planning your next steps, you turn on your favorite station and hear Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad!” That makes you wonder if there is any benefit to placing advertising on a Christmas Station. Christmas radio formats are only temporary and people usually have it on as background noise, right? Not to worry! I’m here to give you reasons for why this media placement may be the tree topper to your holiday media mix.


To understand why a station would change their format to play non-stop Christmas music, we turn to a particular trend in retail. Retailers all over the world take advantage of a phenomenon known as “Seasonal Creeping” where they’ll beginning selling Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas-related items prior to the actual month of the holiday. An example of this is going to your local Walmart and seeing back-to-school items on display in July, even though school doesn’t start until August or September. Kori Rumore from the Chicago Tribune wrote that, “Some shoppers may not like the idea of ‘holiday creep,’ where holiday items seem to be available earlier each year in stores. But about 40% of consumers surveyed by the National Retail Federation say they begin their winter holiday shopping before Halloween — a number that has remained steady for more than a decade,”(Rumore 7-10). This year the National Retail Federation (NRF) is reporting that holiday sales will increase by between 3.6 – 4.0%, the largest increase since 2005!




Since this works for retail, you must be wondering how radio benefits from this phenomenon. The first is the number of listeners you can reach. Adult Contemporary and Talk Radio stations see an increase in their listener share when they flip the switch to holiday tunes. Last year, Nielsen reported that Adult Contemporary Stations that changed their format to Christmas had a listener share of 12.8% for persons 6+. This is a trend that has been increasing year over year for the last five years.


Formats that dominate all year such as country, pop, and regional Mexican have a decrease in listener-ship during this time. Over 500 stations in the US make the change to be holiday specific every year. Some markets even compete with one another to be the premier Christmas station. The second benefit is increased frequency. Stations have tons of inventory available during this time, so much they’ll put together holiday packages that allow you to increase your spot load significantly more than your traditional radio buy. You could add significant value to your media marketing without major cost to your budget. These buys can consist of sponsorships, recorded radio, liners, and much more.


kenny-graph-2        kenny-graph-3


Lastly, one of the major benefits comes in the type of listeners you’ll attract. A recent Nielsen study showed that listeners between the ages of 18 to 34 make up 36% of listeners tuning in for the timeless Christmas classics (NY Post), meaning you’ll have access to the elusive millennial population that is in the spirit of giving, as well as Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. In the same article, Nielsen VP Jon Miller says it’s a “ramp that keeps rising from Thanksgiving through Christmas Day,” (Morgan 21-23). This upcoming year, why not infuse your brand with holiday spirit and enjoy the benefits of being on air a little longer, reaching markets you’ve never been in before, and adding a larger audience? Though the holidays are the best example for developing strategy for capitalizing on the season, there are other opportunities throughout the year for audiences to deviate from their typical behavior based on holidays.


The December holiday season isn’t the only time of year where you can capitalize on special media broadcast schedules. Packages are customized based around other holidays and sporting events both local and national! Reach out to our team to learn more.