By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Oct 23, 2009 at 11:01 AM

Consider this a warning: Christmas music is coming.

Last year, WRIT-FM (95.7) went all-Christmas on Halloween afternoon, followed quickly by WMYX-FM (99.1),  a day earlier than the Christmas music launched in 2007.

There's no way of accurately predicting who will go Yule first and when. It's a closely-guarded secret among these highly-competitive stations. A third station that could be a Christmas player, although it never went all-Yule last year, is WLDB-FM (93.3).

The switch has been coming earlier every year, bringing howls from folks who aren't ready to step into Christmas while pumpkins are still on the front porch. But it also brings an audience that's more than ready to hear jingle bells.

Interestingly, last year's double switch by WMYX and WRIT benefited the new WLWK-FM (94.5), which launched its music-heavy format and dumped the old WKTI on Nov. 7. Disaffected WMYX and WRIT listeners had a new alternative, helping establish the new format.

While I haven't heard of any traditional stations going all-Christmas elsewhere in the country just yet, Philadelphia's WOGL-FM launched holiday music last week on its second HD channel. HD Radio allows broadcasters to air multiple streams of programming, but listeners need a radio capable of airing the HD Radio signal.

And if you're looking for Christmas music now, there's always the internet. Go to Google and type in Christmas music and you'll have plenty of options.

ON RADIO: Spanish-language WJTI-AM (1460) has moved its tower to West Allis and the final signal pattern should be worked out in the next few days.

  • Damien Jaques, who sat next to me at the Journal Sentinel and now is an colleague, returns to Wisconsin Public Radio as a fill-in host. He subs for Ben Merens from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, on WHAD-FM (90.7) in Milwaukee. His guest: Mark Clements, new artistic director of the Milwaukee Rep.
  • If you're traveling around the Lake Geneva Saturday, listen to Ted Ehlen turn the tables on Milwaukee Public TV's Jim Peck, the host of "I Remember," as the multi-talented Peck talks about the TV game shows he hosted in the 1970s on "Saturday At the '70s," which airs from 10 a.m to 9 p.m. on WLKG-FM (96.1). Peck, by the way, also does Saturday mornings on WTMJ-AM (620).
  • WUWM-FM (89.7) plans a wine-tasting fundraiser at Maxie's Southern Comfort, 6732 W. Fairview Ave., at 7 p.m. Nov. 4. Tickets are $50 for drinkers, $20 for designated drivers (they only get appetizers and soft drinks. Details are available here.
  • It's become a Halloween tradition to recreate Orson Welles' 1939 "War of the Worlds" broadcast, and the Milwaukee version runs at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at Discovery World Museum. It'll air live on WMSE-FM (91.7).
  • Speaking of WMSE, it launches an on-air fundraiser on Monday.
  • If you want to hear the original "Mercury Theatre on the Air" version of the story of a Martian invasion, here's a good spot to download it (along with other episodes).
  • Speaking of Halloween, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio launches its all-Halloween Channel Monday for subscribers. The channel featuring creepy sound effects, providing a background for parties or trick-or-treating, launches at 9 a.m. Monday on Sirius Channel 126 and XM Channel 120.

REMEMBERING SOUPY SALES: I had the chance to do a phone interview with Soupy Sales a couple years ago and was pretty excited about talking to a TV legend from my childhood. Sadly, he was unable to do much of an interview, and I had to help him answer my questions, by starting him off. 

The best I could get from him was "I never did that," to my comment that he never talked down to his audience. That was a key to his success as the host of a kids' TV show. He never treated his viewers as kids.

Oh yeah, and then there was all that pie-throwing. That had something to do with his appeal.

Among his most famous, or infamous, bits, involved Soupy asking his audience to go into their dads' wallets and get the "green pieces of paper with with pictures of guys in beards" and send them to him.

Soupy, born Milton Supman, died Thursday at 83. And the video that follows below is a good way to remember him.

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.