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Critics aside, early holiday music pays off for WJYE 96.1, Star 102.5

By Alan Pergament

Santa Claus may be coming to town on local radio a little too early for some local listeners, but it is music to the ears of local stations 96.1 FM (WJYE) and Star 102.5 FM (WTSS).

That's because "Jingle Bells" clearly helps jingle the stations' bottom lines during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.

Inquiring minds wanted to know if there was any evidence that the early holiday music helps the stations.

I know I'm not the only one who heads for the new alternative format at 107.7 FM or some other station as soon as I hear the lyrics of "Frosty the Snow Man," "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" or some other Christmas or holiday classic.

I also know that my musical taste is not everyone's taste and not everyone is protesting.  

So here's the latest evidence from last fall's Aribtron ratings book, which covered October, November and the first week of December.

Star 102.5 averaged a 4.4 share for listeners age 12 and over in October, rose about 25 percent to a  5.6 in November when the holiday music was in full swing and added another 10 percent or so to a 6.1 in early December.

WJYE averaged a 3.8 share in October and rose almost 50 percent to a 5.6 in November and added another 10 percent or so to a 6.1 in early December just as Star 102.5 did.

So the evidence is clear that playing holiday music works. In addition, the stations start playing it early because the final December weeks before Christmas aren't included in he fall book so it pays to get an early start.

WJYE ranked No. 8 and WJYE No.9 with listeners 12 and over in Western New York with those figures. However, holiday music is seeking women listeners and holiday shoppers more than listeners just 12 and over.

The higher shares in November and December most likely translate into higher advertising revenue, which is why the station have been playing holiday music early for several years.

In case you wondered, WYRK was No. 1 in the fall 2012 book, followed by WBEN, WBLK, 97 Rock, WKSE, WHTT, WGR, Star 102.5, WJYE and 103.3 The Edge.

Inquiring minds also want to know: What happened to Ken Brown's weekly gardening hour show on WBEN?

Tim Wenger, the operations manager for WBEN and all Entercom stations, said Brown resigned after deciding it was getting to be too much work for a show that was on one hour a week. "Home Improvement" is filling his Saturday time slot for now.

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