Among its stations that took the Santa Claus Lane recently are KOST Los Angeles, WLIT Chicago, KDGE Dallas, KESZ Phoenix, WNIC Detroit, WMTX Tampa, KSNE Las Vegas, KJMY Salt Lake City, KKCW Portland, OR, WLKO Charlotte and KXMG Quad Cities, IA. “You always know it’s the holiday season when iHeartRadio stations across America start playing Christmas music,” said Chief Programming Officer Tom Poleman.
The company announced the 80 station flips late Friday, along with the return of the iHeartRadio Holiday Special, set for 7 pm local time on the Wednesday, Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving. Hosted by Mario Lopez, it includes Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Dan + Shay, John Legend and Meghan Trainor talking about their favorite holiday songs and traditions. The two-hour special is set to air on iHeartMedia’s AC and classic hits stations nationwide.
The company also unveiled a slew of iHeartRadio Original stations streaming on the iHeart app including “iHeartChristmas,” “North Pole Radio,” “iHeartChristmas Classics,” iHeartChristmas R&B, iHeartChristmas Country, iHeartChristmas Rock and others.
Across the industry, the number of all-Christmas stations continues to rise. Beasley Media Group added two more to its roster Friday as AC “Magic 98.3” WMGQ New Brunswick, NJ rebranded as “Jersey’s Christmas Station.” The first song played was voted on by listeners and was once again (11 years and counting) Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” It was followed later Friday by AC “Sunny 106.3” WJPT-FM Ft Myers.
Steel City Media AC “KC 102.1” KCKC Kansas City made the change to all-Christmas music on Thursday, Nov. 10. Afternoon host Natalie Rush told WDAF-TV that this is the earliest the station has flipped to the Yuletide format. “KC 101.1” beats Cumulus Media classic hits KCMO-FM (94.9) to the Christmas punch. KCMO will make the transition on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 8am.
Magnum Media AC WBOO Reedsburg, WI flipped to holiday music on Wednesday, Nov. 9 as did Rochelle Broadcasting classic hits WRHL Rochelle, IL (1060).