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There’s no question that holiday cheer is swirling through the minds of radio listeners nationwide. Over the years, more and more radio stations have resorted to switching up their regular formats to play strictly holiday music, no doubt spreading the holiday spirit to their affiliates. Last year, 171 of 1,942 AM/FM stations monitored by Nielsen switched over, which raised the question at the start of his holiday season: Which markets and how many would make the switch this year?
According to Nielsen Audio, despite the small amount that actually do switch their formats, many have increased listenership for the holiday season. Of the stations who do make the change, Adult Contemporary formats appear to be the most abundant. AC is said to be responsible for as much as 43% of all the holiday music played on the air, with nearly 2,800 possible songs to play. Following AC is the Christian market at 22%, and Classic Hits, Country and Adult Top 40 with a combined 20% to make them the top five.
During the holiday months of November and December compared to the rest of the year, Adult Contemporary stations saw an average listener increase of 72% from 2012 to 2015. During that three year span, the holiday listenership has increased 11%, equating to a total of 3 million more American listeners to holiday music stations over that time. With the holidays right around the corner, Nielsen will be paying close attention to the temporary format change of stations across the United States.
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