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Why is the station playing this song at the beginning of November?

WLIT-FM 93.9 will begin playing exclusively Christmas music on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

This tied for the second-earliest date the station has hosted and transitioned to a Christmas music format in 23 years.

From where? Listeners love it.

For the Chicago-based adult contemporary radio station, the weeks before Christmas are the greatest time of the year in terms of ratings.

Lance Sales, publisher RadioInsight.comHe says the declining ratings period helps stations like WLIT determine when to put holiday music on the air.

“The reason stations are switching in early November is so we can get a ratings boost in the last few weeks of the poll,” he wrote in an email.

The charts below show how the rankings jumped for a full decade after Christmas music debuted on WLIT-FM 93.9, regardless of the start date.

Lance Venta, publisher of RadioInsight.com, says iHeartMedia-owned stations, including WLIT, have a catalog of about 250 Christmas songs. WLIT won’t comment on how it compiles the playlist, but there is some insight into what listeners want to hear.

MRC DataFormerly known as Nielsen Music, it tracks the number of times Christmas songs are played on radio and on-demand streaming services. It also collects the start and end dates of Christmas music on hundreds of radio stations in the United States and Canada.

More than half of the list can be called holiday classics; The songs were often recorded decades ago. Ross relies on music tests and family traditions to ensure consistent playing of these classic songs. Beyond that, Ross said it’s difficult for a new album to get the same number of streams as an older album; Even if it’s the same song.

“For whatever reason, I’ve noticed that some of the major Christmas stations have become more, not less, reliant on ‘sweater’ artists like Andy Williams, Perry Como, etc. over the last few years,” Ross wrote in an email. . “But these stations seem to allow about a half-dozen new interpretations each year; partly because it allows you to play ‘White Christmas’ even more if you get a new take every now and then.

Which Christmas songs were played the most?

What was WLIT’s most frequently played song during the first week of its Christmas lineup in 2020?

Which Christmas song was most played on WLIT in 2020?

In the first week of Christmas songs on the station, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was played 46 times, with 12 different artists contributing their own interpretations of the tune. The original song was like this 1944’s “Meet Me in St. It was written for the movie “Louis”. and performed by Judy Garland.

The original version of the song was performed by the fictional Smith family in their beloved St. Louis laments his anticipated departure from home:

“One day soon we’ll all be together/If fate allows/Until then, we’ll just have to make it work somehow/So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.”

“Wish Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from “Meet Me in St. Louis”

It may be the quintessential, melancholy Christmas song of a pandemic year, but most contemporary artists have followed Frank Sinatra’s lead. He changed the lyrics of his 1957 album“A Merry Christmas by Frank Sinatra.”

Here’s Sinatra’s more optimistic version:

“We’ll always be together through the years/If fate allows/Hang a shining star on the highest branch/And now have yourself a merry little Christmas.”

Frank Sinatra, “Wish Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (1957)

WLIT’s first week of Christmas music in 2020 focused on the classics?

Yes.

Program directors know that listeners want to hear versions of the holiday songs they know best; This may explain why so many songs released in the 20th century remain popular at this time of year and even outlast the artists who performed them.

Considering WLIT released 143 song recordings featuring multiple versions of the same tune in the format’s first week in 2020, it’s no surprise that the number of songs released in the 1960s continues to receive significant airtime.

Which artists were the most played?

Which artists were the least played?

But wait – where is Wham?!?

Unfortunately, the data is incorrect. The Tribune noted that some notable Christmas songs by specific artists were heard on the station but were not listed. WLIT’s “Recently Played” list.

An email from an anonymous WLIT representative explained that the glitch could be a result of the songs’ age. “Our digital software may not recognize them and therefore they may not be listed on the website.”

Here are some of the missing songs:

  • “Last Christmas” by Wham! (1986)
  • “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson (1952)
  • “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms (1957)
  • “Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney (1984)
  • “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby (1942)
  • Nat King Cole’s “Christmas Carol” (1960)
  • “Run, Run Rudolph” by Chuck Berry (1959)
  • “Christmas Canon” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (1998)
  • “Merry Christmas Darling” from the Carpenters (1978)
  • “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid (1985)
  • “I Want a Hippo for Christmas” by Gayla Peevey (1953)

Sources: Chicago Tribune reporting, archives and analysis of WLIT-FM 93.9 playlist; MRC Data/Nielsen Music; Spear Sale; Sean Ross; Robert Feder; Jon Keegan; NPR; Weekly entertainment; Apple Music; Amazon

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krumore@chicagotribune.com



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