Kansas City Soft-Rock Stations Acting Like Christmas Creeps

Oct 31st, 2007 // 8 Comments

grinchy.jpgKansas City’s KCKC flipped its format to all-Christmas music today, despite it being a) 60 degrees and sunny in the area and b) October. The switch is the latest chapter in a holiday-music rivalry KCKC has with fellow soft-rock trafficker KUDL; the Kansas City Star news item announcing the format switch was accompanied by a chart outlining just how obscenely early in the year each station made the soft-rock to snow-rock change. (Last year, KUDL went all-Christmas on Nov. 1; presumably the KCKC higher-ups thought they would fake everyone out by switching today.) And just when you think it can’t get any sillier, KCKC’s Wikipedia page further fleshes out how the two stations have engaged in Christmas warfare over the years:

Star 102, called KSRC-FM until 2006, says they are one of the first stations in the United States to play nothing but Christmas music in December, doing so in 1998. However, rival station KUDL that has been a Soft Rock station since 1987 actually played all Christmas music closer to Christmas for several years before Star 102. Each year many in Kansas City speculate on who will be the first to make the switch. In 2006, KUDL began in early November, with KCKC following suit the week of Thanksgiving. This led to a few listeners (who believe Christmas music belongs to the Christmas season, aka December*) boycotting both stations.

Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, it sounds even moreso when you realize that the “Christmas Music” section of this page has been edited more than anything else. Seriously, people–even those of you whose proximity to Hallmark HQ has forever linked the holiday season with “profit”–this time of year is supposed to be about fun, not ditching your Celine Dion songs for, uh, Celine Dion Christmas songs. Are we really going to have to settle this by having both stations lay down their “Pretty Paper”-covered arms and play nothing but Paul McCartney’s “Pipes Of Peace” for 24 hours straight come Dec. 25?

Christmas music on Halloween? [KansasCity.com]

*Try reading that aside in a Comic Book Guy voice. Hilarity!

  1. Tenno

    I loathe most ‘popular artist’ christmas music in general, i loathe the idea of a month of that shit even more.

    except ‘nightmare before christmas’, for some reason that soundtrack is a-ok.

  2. Chris Molanphy

    I’ll try to squeeze this into a future “100 and Single” column, but one of the fascinating effects of the profusion of all-Christmas playlists is that Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary chart, already slow-moving, becomes all but useless by December as the few current records on the chart are getting played by some fraction of the stations that normally play them.

  3. thearcanemodel

    i am not proud of my hometown right now when it comes to radio events. first it was the “smoke on the water” marathon thing (well, actually that was kind of cool), and now this…plus KC has the dubious honor of employing/enabling that dick “mancow” on the air for several years before he came up here to chicago. grrrrr!

    plus KC has some of the worst suburban sprawl in the nation, so you know that (office background music aside) there actually ARE people there listening to this stuff in their cars while stuck in traffic coming into or out of the ‘burbs. what a horrifying tableau.

  4. scarletvirtue

    The only thing I’d listen to before Christmas that comes within lying distance of being Christmas music is the “Nightmare Before Christmas” soundtrack. Even then, it’s just played a couple of times.

  5. bcapirigi

    I once had the terrible, terrible, horrific, awful experience of working in a Hallmark store in a suburban mall during the holiday season. And the store was only supposed to play these five-song samplers that they’d send, like, one of every three months. But instead we listened to lite-rock radio, which was all-Christmas by Thanksgiving.

    My biggest problem here is that EVEYRBODY SINGS THE SAME DAMN SONGS. So hearing Natalie Cole singing the chestnuts roasting on an open fire song and then hearing Melissa Etheridge or whoever singing the chestnuts roasting on an open fire song twelve minutes later is really frustrating. The programmers would split up artists so that you’d only hear Luther Vandross hourly, but wouldn’t pay any attention to the songs themselves, so you’d hear three versions of the same song in one hour. And punctuating every hour with All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey just kind of made things worse, even though (thank God) no one else has covered that song. And I won’t even get into the one about how there’s something stuck up in the chimney and I don’t know what it is.

    But luckily, the Hallmark store was right in front of the center of the mall, so periodically the monotony would get drowned out by a local elementary school choir singing songs about Hanukkah.

  6. CloudCarrier

    Witnessing the horror on the airwaves last year first-hand, I have only hoped for the worst to happen, aka Christmas in July, forever! Since it’s all happening smack dab in the middle of the country, it also caused me a little concern about the widespread possibility of this in other areas. And, since the previously described sprawl is a reality, someone out there (be it the mom with seven kids, the college student trying to forget about finals, or the depressing loners with guns to their heads trying to find another reason to cock the hammer) is listening, the race to be 1st on the air with “Wonderful Christmas Time” will never stop, even if someone decides to cancel the holiday altogether (my signatures for calling up a grand jury in the matter are pending). There is a reason why Ultimate Fighting is so popular here, and I think you probably know why.

    Last year, as panacea, I overtook the family stereo, filling it up with Francoise Hardy, Scott 3 & 4, Georges Delerue scores, the High Llamas’ Snowbug & Smog’s Red Apple Falls (well, most of it, anyway). I think they all got wise to it, though.

  7. Captain Wrong

    We have a station here in Indy that’s been all Xmas, all the time for a couple of weeks now. However, it’s a bit of a publicity stunt as the station is changing formats after the new year. Actually, there’s like three stations here all trading formats. It makes no sense at all.

    Regardless, Xmas music blows mostly. In fact, I think I’m about a year or two away from hating the holiday entirely due to it being shoved down my throat earlier and ealirer each year. (For instance, we’ve been prominently displaying Xmas cards at my place of employment for three weeks already.)

  8. katie_a_princess

    @thearcanemodel: overland park represent! embrace the sprawl! my parents’ cats have their own cars!

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