SOURCE: McVay Media

McVay Media

November 11, 2010 14:09 ET

It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas...? Radio Consultant Mike McVay Explains Why We're Hearing the Jolly Songs of the Season Earlier and Earlier

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - November 11, 2010) - Think it's already beginning to sound a lot like Christmas? No, it's not your imagination. There really is Christmas music already being played on radio stations around the U.S., with many stations adopting the All Christmas format. This phenomenon all goes back to radio consulting pioneer Mike McVay of McVay Media & McVay Syndication (

McVay conjured up the idea while consulting with KESZ/Phoenix in 1993. While evaluating the Fall rating results he noticed a small A.M. station showing ratings that he'd never noticed before. When asked KESZ General Manager Jerry Ryan why this station was showing ratings, Ryan said they play 100 percent Christmas music and show up in the ratings at that time of year. McVay joked that maybe they should go 100% Christmas the next year. Ryan went through with it and KESZ rated #1 with 25-54-year-olds for the first time. McVay started adding the tactic to other stations and the rest is radio history.

So why All Christmas? McVay explains to start with, "Festive music puts you in a festive mood. We all have so much stress in our lives, and the All Christmas format serves to relieve stress."

He further explains, "The second thing is usage. Listeners will turn-on the all-Christmas station where they work, in their stores, and wherever they are, using it as the 'soundtrack' for their activities."

You would expect to start Christmas music closer to Thanksgiving, but that's no longer the case. Stations have started flipping the All Christmas switch earlier and earlier.

The holiday season starts early for McVay. Planning starts in July, in September his team reaches out to labels to find out what new songs are coming out, October is spent scheduling music for their consulted stations and networks, and by November we have All Christmas All The Time.

McVay personally selects the music and schedules the music, scheduling eight weeks of Christmas music from start to finish. While everyone is enjoying their Labor Day cook-out, he's listening to Christmas songs.

"My daughters tease me because I'll be humming 'It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas' while I'm wearing my shorts and grilling a meal," jokes McVay.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Mike McVay
    McVay Media
    (440) 343-0800