Wednesday, December 15, 2010

SHARING THE JOY: GUEST POST FROM KEN AT THE SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS

Please join me in welcoming today Ken from the Sounds of Christmas.  Ken is as passionate about Christmas...and Christmas music...as I am! I hope you enjoy what he has to say....

Hi!

First, I'd like to thank Michelle for inviting me to stop by and take over her blog today. Like Michelle, I'm a Christmas fanatic, and if there's anything I love more than Christmas, it's hanging out with other people who love Christmas!

I run the Sounds of Christmas, an Internet Christmas radio station. For those who haven't discovered Internet radio, yet, it simply means it's like a radio station, but available online instead of through a traditional radio.

Being a huge fan of Christmas, naturally, I am also a huge fan of Christmas music. I always have been. I've been in radio for years, and initially loved working close to Christmas, playing Christmas music and feeling like I was getting to spend that special time of year with so many of my friends (and so many friends that I hadn't met, yet).

That waned over the years, as radio worked itself into a groove (or rut), and began to rely on a tired list of about 100 Christmas songs, which got played over and over. And over. I think this is the main reason some people say they hate Christmas music. As much as I love it, it's hard to take hearing the same songs over and over. And over.

There's a station in the town where I live that went all-Christmas just before Thanksgiving. The other day, I went out to run some errands. I heard Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" FOUR TIMES!

Regardless of how you feel about that song, or even about Mariah Carey, it just seems a little ridiculous. Sixteen years ago, Mariah put out a pretty good Christmas collection, and there are more songs on that than just the one that seems to get played.

But this seems to be what traditional radio has decided to do.

Year after year, they seem to roll out the same 100 songs right around Thanksgiving, and play them all over and over until Christmas Day. It's no wonder that so many people groan when this begins each November. And now, many of these stations are starting closer to the beginning than the end of November (yet still playing that same tired list of songs).

There are tons of great Christmas CDs out there, and most seem to get ignored, while Bing's "White Christmas" and Nat's "Christmas Song" get featured seemingly every hour.

Don't get me wrong, I love Bing Crosby and Nat "King" Cole. I love Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Andy Williams, Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis and the Chipmunks, too. But there's a lot more than just those standards, and I can't be the only one that loves all the rest of the Christmas music.

Well, I'm not. Last year was my station's third season, and I reached an audience of 4.5 million. This year, I had already reached listeners in all 50 states, as well as over 100 other countries before Thanksgiving!

And I play a lot of Christmas music!

In total, the Sounds of Christmas playlist is now just under 6000 tracks (and that's without adding all the new music that is continuing to flood in). As much as I love Bing's "White Christmas", having such a wide and diverse playlist means it doesn't get played every hour on the hour. Besides, Bing has lots of other great Christmas songs. In fact, almost every artist I play has more than just one Christmas song. Even SpongeBob.

It has always seemed to me to be really short-sighted, and a dis-service to Christmas music fans, to ignore that and just play the same ones over and over.

After all, if you love one particular Christmas song that much, odds are you own it and can play it whenever you want, right?

Of course, I didn't stop there.

Just over a year ago, I have also launched a record label, focusing on Christmas music. One of our first releases was a compilation to benefit William Shatner's Hollywood Charity Horse Show. I had just read his biography, learned about the charity and thought it was a very worthwhile cause.

I also figured that he would give me his Christmas song if I made his charity the beneficiary of the release. He did a version of "Good King Wenceslas" for a rock station about twenty years ago, and it was never released. Until last year, that is.

Having Shatner on board helped me get songs from many others, including Dennis DeYoung, Richard Marx, Stephen Bishop and Huey Lewis!

This year, I partnered with a musicians' charity called Sweet Relief, and produced a new compilation featuring unreleased and exclusive Christmas songs from Vertical Horizon, Belinda Carlisle, Dave Stewart, Kathy Sledge and Little Feat!

I don't mean to be a name-dropper (much). I'm just really excited to get to work with music that I love so much, and I feel like I'm actually a part of something that might help make a difference, too!

You can listen to my station, the Sounds of Christmas, for free, at my website --> www.SoundsofChristmas.com

And, if you're so moved and would like to get some really good Christmas CDs (or digital downloads), you can look for my stuff on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, CDBaby, Napster, etc. Or just get them from my label's site --> www.socmusic.net (where you can also listen to clips of every single song)!

It's a real thrill for me to be able to do what I do, and I hope that in at least some small way, what I'm doing brings a little bit of holiday joy to everyone that tunes in or buys a song or CD.

Merry Christmas! And may you always believe in Santa Claus!

Ken

Thanks, Ken, for such a wonderful post! We need more people like you working at the radio stations during the holiday season!

3 comments:

  1. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the headsup!

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  2. Great blog Ken!!! :)

    Merry Christmas Michelle!!! It's so festive here!!!

    Lisa

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  3. Thanks so much for the kind words, Michelle!

    And Ryan, hope you had a chance to check it out (and that you liked it)!

    And thanks, Lisa! You're right! It is very festive here!

    Ken

    ReplyDelete

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