Going all-Christmas has been a consistent ratings booster for Adult Contemporary radio. For more than five years, listeners have shown an appetite for Christmas music that doesn’t diminish from year to year. But how good a job is radio doing during the holiday season? We talked to the listeners of one successful major-market radio station who told us that they loved Christmas music, but weren’t happy with how they were hearing it. And the Edison Christmas Music Test was born.

Edison tested more than 600 songs with 30-to-49-year-old women specifically recruited because they loved Christmas music and listened to all-holiday radio every year. It’s the largest scale Christmas music test to date. And it was done specifically to test Christmas music–not as an add-on to any other test. The results? While some broadcasters have believed that every version of a Christmas standard is as good as another, listeners had clear preferences.
Here are the top 10 most-loved songs as tested with women 30-49 around the country just before the Christmas radio glut began:

  • 1. Nat King Cole/The Christmas Song
  • 2. Burl Ives/A Holly Jolly Christmas
  • 3. Celine Dion/O Holy Night
  • 4. Bobby Helms/Jingle Bell Rock
  • 5. John Lennon/Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
  • 6. Johnny Mathis/”It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”
  • 7. Brenda Lee/”Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”
  • 8. Harry Simeone Chorale/”The Little Drummer Boy”
  • 9. Dean Martin/”Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
  • 10 Carpenters/ “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

Of course, not all Christmas music fared as well. Here are the bottom five, as selected by the same national survey:

  • 1. Cartman/”O Holy Night”
  • 2. See More Swine & Squeelers/Blue Christmas”
  • 3. Barbra Streisand/”Jingle Bells”
  • 4. Haya Doin’ Boys/”12 Days Of Guido Christmas”
  • 5. Singing Dogs/”Jingle Bells”

For more information about the Edison Christmas Music Test, please contact Sean Ross.

1 reply
  1. Mike Sheridan
    Mike Sheridan says:

    While I enjoy holiday music I hate the practice of going solid holiday music before Thanksgiving. I think the holiday songs should gradually increase in number as December 25 gets closer and gradually taper off rather than abruptly stop at 6pm on December 25th.
    It’s interesting to see the most popular Christmas tunes tend to be the older songs. However I was sad to see some old favorites didn’t make the list, especially one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time,Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” and The Charpenters “Merry Christmas Darling”.


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