It’s mid-November in Phoenix. Too soon to start Christmas? Not for the deejays at 99.9 KEZ.
Some people would call this too soon. Way, way, way too soon.
Even worse, some people absolutely hate anything Christmas-related before Thanksgiving. But a radio station in sweltering Phoenix thinks mid-November is the perfect time to start celebrating the season.
That is, with non-stop Christmas songs, played 24/7.
Accordingly, the station started playing Christmas tunes on November 14th, right at 7 am. Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” kicked things off, followed by a string of well-known classics.
For some people, celebrating Christmas while the A/C is cranking in your car is a little strange. But KEZ has actually made this a tradition for nearly 20 years — and it’s become a great way to rally the faithful. “Everyone knows that we’re the Christmas music station,” KEZ program director Paul Kelley told AZCentral.
Basically, KEZ’s response to people that hate the idea is this: switch the dial.
Those that stick around are seriously into Christmas. And seriously down to be sold to.
That is generating serious advertising dollars, with targeted listeners a juicy demo. Accordingly, the entire format switch is sponsored by TruWest Credit Union. Others are eagerly buying ads between songs, not to mention juicy spots on the KEZ site and internet radio station.
See how this works?
24 hours a day is a lot of time to fill. So KEZ looping a lot of the classics, while slotting modern singers as well. So think Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Brenda Lee, and Johnny Mathis interspersed with Michael Bublé, Kelly Clarkson and Josh Groban.
But wait: we found other stations making the same switch.
That includes KOST (103.5 FM) in Los Angeles and WLIT (93.9 FM) in Chicago. Both are going all-Christmas songs, all-the-time, and raking in the extra ad revenue. All of which probably means that other radio stations will join the trend.
That said, there’s probably a limit to how many stations in a market can get away with this before the citizens outright revolt.