Every year, programmers turn on holiday tunes earlier and earlier. In many markets, multiple stations battle it out to win the season. It seems like a great idea. But what is the right approach for your station? To help you navigate the lucrative and often tricky holiday programming season, Tracy Johnson Media Group has just released an updated Christmas Programming Guide eBook.

Every year, more than 800 stations in America transition to an all-Christmas, and many break all-time records for the highest ratings in their markets. Tampa’s three All-Christmas stations commanded more than 25% of the market’s listening. With those results, it seems like a great idea for every station. But is it? And if you’re not The Christmas Station, what should your station sound like? Do you sacrifice the Fall and Holiday rating periods and wait for the new year?

Dozens of variables influence your decisions. Fortunately, our Christmas Programming Guide can help.

The 62-page eBook is packed with detailed research, analysis, and recommendations to craft a terrific holiday strategy. It’s loaded with programming advice, ideas, and tips for every radio station and personality, regardless of format. We walk you through important decisions for programming, promotions, contesting, and even scheduling personalities during this busy season.

The Holiday Programming Guide

The first – and most critical – decision is how much Christmas music to play and when to start playing it. This eBook walks you through every scenario, whether you’re positioned as the all-Christmas station or not.

Spoiler alert: Some stations/formats should avoid Christmas music completely. Who? And better yet why? The answers are in the book.

More Than Music

The Radio Guide to Holiday Programming covers more than music because reflecting the mood of the holidays between the songs is at least as important as deciding how often to play Winter Wonderland. Find out how to wrap your brand image in tinsel, add innovative features and promotions, and sprinkle Christmas magic on existing contests and games.

Perhaps most importantly, programmers will learn the key to getting personalities into the holiday spirit and inspire them all the way through Christmas. Christmas fatigue for the on-air team is a real thing, and we show you how to get the most from talent at this critical time of year. There’s even a terrific list of 30 can’t-miss Christmas topics for personalities who may be stuck in a creative rut.

A Preview

It’s all explained, presented clearly, easy to follow, and backed by ratings and research.

Here’s a sample of what you get in the guide:

  • Should your station go to an all-Christmas format? Who should and who shouldn’t?
  • If not, how much Christmas music should you play? Who should avoid holiday music completely?
  • How to use holiday programming as a marketing tool.
  • Tactics to introduce a format change.
  • When to turn on the Christmas tunes. How soon is too soon?
  • How much Christmas music is too much? How much is not enough to even bother?
  • What songs should you play? Should you play traditional or contemporary songs? How big should the playlist be? And what are the best-testing songs to include?
  • Programming tips for all stations, whether flipping to All-Christmas music or not!
  • Power tips for stations to decorate their brand with imaging and promotion and wrestle holiday images away from all Christmas stations.
  • The power of using personalities to connect emotionally with listeners through the holiday experience.
  • How programmers can inspire personalities to stay focused and enhance the holiday presence.
  • 30 proven topics for personalities to use every day leading up to Christmas.
  • Don’t forget about the online audience! How to extend the brand image to your website and social media platforms.
  • Special Christmas programming ideas that will stand out and in some cases, wrestle the holiday image away from an all-Christmas competitor.
  • Promotions that work for the holidays! Get information on the most effective major and minor promotions.
  • How to turn regular contests and games into holiday promotion and marketing weapons!
  • Post-Christmas programming and promotion steps to plan now that will maintain the holiday momentum into the new year.
  • How to take advantage of lazy competitors coasting through the post-holiday dead zone (Christmas to New Year’s Day) with easy-to-implement tips.

Here’s a quick video tour:


The Holiday Programming Guide eBook is an invaluable resource for every broadcaster. It’s specially designed for programmers and personalities to make smart strategic and tactical decisions that resonate with listeners and produce the best possible results for the fall and holiday rating periods and beyond.

This book will energize your team and focus your decisions this holiday season and for years.

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