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Christmas Music: Behind the Scenes with Tony
November 20, 2020 by Tony

I love Christmas music…

And I hope it shows…

I’ve been programming The House of Praise all-Christmas music format for over 20 years and I look forward to it every year.  This year I’m hearing that people are ready for Christmas music… maybe earlier than ever!  That’s why we started earlier than ever… with our Christmas Preview Weekends on the House of Praise.

(Note: Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, The House of Praise network will go “All-Christmas”… AND… we’ll begin mixing in some Christmas Hits along with our Christian Hits on The House FM network. Plus, you can stream both networks online, on the app or on your Alexa device!)

My love of Christmas music began when I was a kid.  We lived about 40 minutes from my grandparents’ house where we spent each Christmas Eve. Driving home those nights, the radio stations had already switched to uninterrupted Christmas music and I loved listening to it all the way home. As I got a little older, I carried that over to Christmas morning where I would wake up early and turn on the radio waiting for my parents to wake up. 

Now… to answer a couple of common questions…

WHY DO WE PLAY SECULAR CHRISTMAS SONGS?

Many people ask why we play non-religious (or secular) Christmas songs on our Christian radio station.  Let me share what our Christmas “plan” has been for many years. The Christmas songs we play are “coded” in certain ways. One of those is “Secular” and another is “original.” By using the codes we are able to achieve the following:

  •  No 2 songs back-to-back can be secular.   Meaning if someone listens over the course of about 5-6 minutes, hearing at least 2 songs… they WILL DEFINITELY hear a Christ-centered song.
  • We also separate “original” songs so that the same listener is guaranteed to hear a “familiar” Christmas song… which is what people SEEKING Christmas music are wanting to find and will attract them to listen longer.
  • Our philosophy is the longer they listen, the more they will hear the Christ-centered songs while still getting what they were seeking in the first place and ENJOYING it.
  • (I will also say that 2 Christ-centered songs CAN play back to back at all times and often do (as long as they are “familiar” Christ-centered songs like Joy to the World, O Holy Night, etc.)

I know that some would like to have JUST the Christ-centered carols as Christmas time, but we really do look at this as an OUTREACH… during a time of the year when more people are open to hearing about what Christmas is really all about.

WHY SWITCH TO “ALL-CHRISTMAS” MUSIC AT ALL?

Some wonder why we “change format” for a month out of the year. What we have found over the years is that the all-Christmas music format welcomes in a huge number of new listeners each year with the potential of having them “stick around” after Christmas. That is ultimately our hope and prayer! That we have inspired listeners with the true meaning of Christmas and showed them the hope of a life with Christ! AND that they will want to continue listening to uplifting hope-filled music in the New Year!  During Christmas our goal is impact lives for Christ for the future! (Will you join us in praying for the thousands of new listeners that will “find us” this year!)

Well, I hope you enjoy our Christmas music on whatever level you want it… I know for some it’s going ALL IN… others just want a nice soundtrack available to them when they want it. Whatever the case, I hope you enjoy and it enhances your holidays and your celebration of the birth of Christ. Years ago I was part of a forum of other Christian Radio Music Directors and during a discussion of Christmas music one of them said “I hate Christmas music.” I thought, “Wow, I wonder how that station sounds?”  Hopefully the House sounds like it’s programmed by someone who LOVES it… because it is.

-Tony

Coming next week: Learn about some of Tony’s favorite Christmas song (so you can listen for them!). Plus, a quick rundown of some of the NEW Christmas songs for 2020.