Radio: When the country goes all-in on holiday music

In keeping with my desire to discuss holiday music in every column every week of the year, Go Country 105, as expected, has temporarily become Your Christmas Destination once more.

A rundown of the music played just prior to my writing this includes music from The Ronettes, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Andy Williams, and Elvis Presley, so it’s definitely not a country-oriented Christmas format. That being said, it did also include Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett, Jake Owen, and Lady A … so there is a nice mix there. Generally speaking, while I hate to “lose” the country format, I tend to like the variety of holiday music that Go Country plays this time of year.

I used quotes around the word “lose” because the country music is not totally gone; it is still available on the digital radio HD stream (105.1 HD3), as well as online, through various apps, and via smart speakers. The HD stream temporarily replaces the “unforgettable” Sinatra and standards format normally found there.

And don’t worry, I have more holiday music information…

Feeding Kids

The 12th Annual KFI (640 AM) Pastathon has raised over $450,000 and almost 10,000 pounds of pasta and sauce as I write this, though the numbers are most certainly higher once the final tallies are in.

The PastaThon benefits Caterina’s Club, a charity named after Chef Bruno Serato’s mother. In 2005, the charity began serving hot meals to children living in low-income motels; since that time the project has expanded to 100 locations in 30 cities across Southern California, serving more than 25,000 meals per week. Since its inception, that makes for over eight million meals served.

In addition, help is given to get families into stable homes and job training in the hospitality industry is provided, all in an attempt to break the cycle of poverty, directly benefiting  260 families and 600 teens who have graduated from the Hospitality Academy.

This year, KFI partnered with Smart and Final, Wendy’s, and Barilla — yes, the pasta company — to help with the 2022 drive. Water heater manufacturer Bradford White donated $5000 as well.

Since KFI got involved in 2010, listeners and partners of the station have raised over $4.6 million and 700,000 pounds of pasta and sauce. That’s a lotta pasta!

Streaming Along

The vast majority of radio listening is still over the regular airwaves, of course. But streaming has picked ups over the past few years, according to Edison Research. The company recently reported that about 12 percent of listeners to AM and FM radio listen via online streams, which includes web browsers, apps, and smart speakers.

Modern apps and smart speakers especially make it extremely easy to hear your favorite station, and there are some who feel that streaming radio is the real future of radio … putting stations on an even playing field with good reception and fidelity no matter your location.

That, of course, will take WiFi universal internet access to become a reality for all.

Car Radio

Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey is hopping on the “Saving AM” train. He recently sent a letter to 20 automakers asking them to make sure they continue to provide AM radio reception in their vehicles.

As reported by AllAccess.Com, Markey wrote, “Despite innovations such as the smartphone and social media, AM/FM broadcast radio remains the most dependable, cost-free, and accessible communication mechanism for public officials to communicate with the public during times of emergency. As a result, any phase-out of broadcast AM radio could pose a significant communication problem during emergencies. Although the auto industry’s investments in electric vehicles are critical to addressing the climate crisis and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, automakers need not sacrifice the benefits of radio in the process.”

The senator asked for replies from the companies by December 22nd to the questions of whether they have decided to drop AM and why, what are the future plans for AM reception in their vehicles, and if they currently offer digital (HD) radio.

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