The sleigh bells are ringing – on Milwaukee Radio, almost two weeks later than last year.
At 8 a.m. on November 18, WLDB-FM (93.3) was the first radio station in Milwaukee to switch to a fully-dedicated Christmas music format this year.
The contemporary adult station made the switch with Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You”. Over the past few days, the station has been taunting Christmas music fans on its Facebook page.
Earlier on November 17, morning host Joe Krauss asked listeners on Facebook which Christmas song the station should play first. One listener replied, “Please make the change !!!! We need a little Christmas right now.”
In 2020, WLDB also filled the All-Christmas Switch first, going all Christmas tunes from November 5. It was the first time that a local radio station had spent all Christmas in at least a decade.
Last year, oldies WRIT-FM (95.7), WLDB’s main Christmas music rival, switched to the holiday format exactly 24 hours later on November 6. WRIT often goes Christmas tunes to coincide with the launch of the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival downtown, a week before Thanksgiving.
This year’s Holiday Lights festival kicked off on November 18. But WRIT stuck with oldie music until around 6 a.m. on November 19, starting its lineup the entire time with John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”. (Like last year, WRIT was almost a day behind its Christmas rival.
WLDB has been Milwaukee’s first radio station to hit the shelves at Christmas every year since 2016.
Usually, WLDB gets a little closer to Thanksgiving; in 2019, the station made the jump on november 18. But last year, with the COVID-19 pandemic having a total grip on the nation, more stations across the country have gone all Christmas earlier. By early November 2020, more than 50 had done so.
And, for the first time in years, a third Milwaukee station has joined the all-musical Christmas fray. On November 26, the day after Thanksgiving, WRXS-FM (106.9), which switched to “pure oldies” format in April, went all-Yule.
So far in 2021, it looks like fewer radio stations have gone through Christmas earlier than last year, at least based on the current tally compiled by the radio industry newsletter All Access. One of the first was WSJY-FM (107.3), the adult contemporary owned by Magnum Media licensed to Fort Atkinson, which rocked on November 6.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Which Milwaukee radio stations switched to Christmas music?