According to new research, a significant proportion of Christmas radio station listeners would like to jingle all the way to New Year's Eve.
According to the results of P1 Media Group's annual survey of “frequent” or “sometimes” listeners to local radio stations going all-Christmas during the holiday season – conducted last week among 400 listeners age 18-54 in the top 50 radio markets – nearly half (48%) say Christmas music programming should stop on New Year's Eve, while 24% prefer it air until the day after Christmas and 16% on Christmas day itself.
As for when stations should switch to the music, also nearly half (48%) want it to start before Thanksgiving, with 27% saying it should begin in early November and 21% in mid-November, while 21% prefer a Thanksgiving start and 24% at the beginning of December. Female listeners drive those wanting the earlier start, as 70% favor a November format flip, vs. 57% of men.
P1's research, which also includes its annual testing of the most-played and most-streamed holiday songs based on data from Luminate, shows Brenda Lee's “Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" topping the list, ahead of Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock" for the first time in five years by a fraction of a percentage point. Andy Williams' “It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Burl Ives' “Holly Jolly Christmas” and Ives' version of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” round out the top five best testers.
Not surprisingly, P1's top 20 includes recordings spanning the decades, from Leroy Anderson's instrumental version of “Sleigh Ride” from 1948 to Michael Bublé's 2011 take on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The most recent original song in the top 20, Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" from 1994, which was 2021's top song in both radio airplay and streaming, ranks sixth among the sample.
"Christmas music's appeal remains as strong as ever amongst American radio listeners who listen to all-Christmas stations 'frequently' or 'sometimes' and personally enjoy Christmas music on a local radio station during the holiday season," P1 Media Group partner and co-founder Ken Benson says. "As we often see, there is a lot to learn when we compare radio airplay to on-demand streaming data, even with holiday music. Understanding streaming data can help broaden the appeal of your station.”