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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Two Milwaukee FM stations, WMYX and WRIT, are now playing all-Christmas formats.

OnMedia: All-Christmas radio is a business move


When two Milwaukee radio stations flipped to all-Christmas music in the 7 o'clock hour on Friday night, it had nothing to do with the personal tastes of the folks at the station.

It was a business decision that led WMYX-FM (99.1) to start the holiday at 7 p.m., followed quickly by WRIT-FM (95.7).

I blogged on the switch when it happened Friday night, and linked to the blog on my Facebook page, eliciting an interesting series of reactions ranging from this:

"Thanks for the heads up. I'll be keeping the iPod on until after Thanksgiving.."

To this:

"Xmas music beats 3/4 of the music out there ... two thumbs up!"

Over on Brew City Radio, the Internet forum for radio hobbyists, the format-flip was framed thusly:

"And we need TWO All-Christmas stations because?"

Of course, we don't "need" any of the formats offered by commercial radio. They're programmed the way they are to target a specific part of the audience that can be sold to advertisers.

And, especially in the years since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, there's a track record for the all-Christmas format.

Last year's Halloween flip on Milwaukee radio seems to have been too early, especially when combined with the publicity surrounding the launch of WLWK-FM (94.5) as "Lake FM," offering a format that was heavier on music and lighter on deejays than most station. Lake FM offered one place to go for listeners who didn't want week after week after week of holiday tunes.

But the fact is that there is an audience that does want the holiday to begin well before they dig into their annual turkey dinner.

Around the country, FM stations have been flipping for the past couple weeks. Green Bay got Christmas music the day before Halloween. In the Chicago market, Christmas launched at midnight Friday night on WLIT-FM, a Clear Channel sister station of Milwaukee's WRIT.

For the record, Sirius XM Satellite radio is also going all-Christmas on a couple of its channels today.

Contemporary and traditional favorites air on "Holly," Sirius channel 3/XM channel 23, and Christmas music recorded from the 1940s through the '60s airs on "Holiday Traditions," Sirius/XM channel 4. Three other satellite channels will go holiday formats on Dec. 7, including one focusing on Hannukah.

And Time Warner digital cable subscribers can hear Christmas tunes on Channel 933.

But even with all those all-Christmas choices, there are countless alternatives where you won't hear a single jingling bell -- at least until Christmas Eve.

On TV: Recently departed CNN host Lou Dobbs drops by Bill O'Reilly's Fox News Channel show at 7 tonight. But, Fox News said that, as of Friday, there had been no discussions about Dobbs moving over to the competition.

  • On his own CNN show Sunday morning, media reporter Howard Kurtz reported that former Miss California Carrie Prejean "yelled" at a young CNN staffer during her appearance on Larry King's show last week where she almost walked off the show because she didn't like his questions.
  • TV Newser is reporting that Ashleigh Banfield, who lost her job at TruTV (the cable channel formerly known as Court TV), is likely moving to ABC News.
  • This looks like the week that Comcast's deal to acquire control of NBC will be completed.

A little seltzer down his pants: Last week's death of David Lloyd, a legendary TV writer best-known for his work on the old "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Bob Newhart Show" brought to mind some of the best of the 1970s comedies.

Those were the days when Saturday night wasn't a place shows were sent to die.

Specifically, there's "Chuckles Bites the Dust," an episode of the show from 1975 featuring the gang dealing with the death of ficitonal WJM-TV's children's show host.

A bit of video from that Emmy-winning classic follows below.


Talkbacks

Master C | Nov. 19, 2009 at 2:01 a.m. (report)

Whatever...I don't care what's on the radio, 'cuz I'll be slammin' to Mannheim Steamroller from Black Friday thru New Year's.

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admirals818 | Nov. 17, 2009 at 8:12 a.m. (report)

We need two Christmas stations because when you hear "Feliz Navidad" for the 15th time in one day on one station, but still want to hear Christmas music, there's another alternative to flip over to. Of course, the odds are that the other station is playing "Feliz Navidad" as well.

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devidia | Nov. 16, 2009 at 1:07 p.m. (report)

And I was saddened to hear of the passing of Edward Woodward, of "The Equalizer" fame. I always liked that show and thought he was an excellent actor.

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