November 30, 2007
Just hear those sleigh bells jingling...again and again

My inner math geek was amused by this story about the annual onslaught of Christmas music from one of the local radio stations.

Chestnuts roast, sleigh bells ring, drummers drum and angels are heard on high in 700 combinations for the next 26 shopping days and beyond on Houston radio station KODA (99.1 FM), one of more than 260 stations nationwide playing Christmas music and nothing but Christmas music through Dec. 25.

This is the eighth year the Clear Channel Radio-owned station has put its soft adult contemporary format on post-Thanksgiving Day hiatus in favor of nonstop holiday music, said Sunny 99.1 program director Mark Sherman, who co-hosts the station's morning show with Dana Tyson.

Sherman said the station has about 700 holiday performances in its library. It plays about 20 songs an hour, which means each performance will receive multiple plays over the next month. Sherman, however, said the format never wears on him, even though he's been doing it since 1999.

"Multiple plays"? We can do better than that.

First, do they really play 20 songs an hour? I figure between commercials, promos, and DJ chatter, each hour has about 45 minutes of music. Christmas songs are often shorter than your standard pop offering, but this is an average length of two minutes and fifteen seconds. Is that for real? I'd assume it's more like 15 songs per hour, but hey, he's the program director.

So let's assume 20 songs per hour and run with it. If the total catalog is 700 songs, then they will run through the entire thing every 35 hours. From the day after Thanksgiving (Nov 23) to Christmas is 33 days - if we cheat and expand things to Nov 22-Dec 26, we get 35 days and a simple solution of each song getting 24 plays during the interim. At the very least, each one will get spun a minimum of 20 times. That's a lot of rum-pa-pum-pums, you know?

I'm still at that happy place where I haven't yet been so inundated by Christmas music that I reflexively cringe when I hear it. Probably a good thing for me that KODA is not one of the preset buttons in my car.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 30, 2007 to Music