104.9 The River is an FM radio station in Columbus that plays contemporary Christian music. It is focused on being uplifting, encouraging, and family friendly. I like the station, and I appreciate what they do.
With all of that being said, I really, really wish they would stop playing Christmas music.
Before you go and think to yourself, “Oh, this guy is clearly one of those black hearted, Grinch types who hates Christmas,” I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.
I love Christmas. The Christmas season, Christmas movies, obnoxiously festive Christmas sweaters, I love it all. And I also really do enjoy Christmas music. In fact, I started listening to Christmas music before Halloween this year. Bing, Perry, Josh Groban, Alvin and the Chipmunks, all of them are wonderful.
So what could I possibly have against the River playing Christmas music? Because Sunny 95 and 93.3 FM both play Christmas music exclusively at this time of the year, and I feel like three radio stations in the same city playing continuous Christmas music is overkill. Especially when they’re all basically playing the same few dozen songs over and over again.
I feel that what the River offers is unique. While it could be argued that Christmas music is uplifting and encouraging, and is therefore consistent with the music which they usually play, I feel that the heavily secular Christmas music that they are airing this month is an unnecessary diversion from their normal level of Gospel centeredness.
I listen to the River for Casting Crowns, and Third Day, and Natalie Grant. Not so I can hear the same rendition of “Holly Jolly Christmas” that I can hear on TWO OTHER STATIONS! Especially considering that it’s only December fourth and I know that I am going to have to listen to this music until New Year’s.
If the River would play Christmas music in December that was religiously themed, I could tolerate it, but that is a far cry from the type of music that they are playing. A song can mention the word “Christmas.” But just talking about Christmas doesn’t automatically make music gospel centered. There’s nothing about Rudolph, Frosty, or Santa Claus riding down Santa Claus Lane that has anything to do with Christianity.
Again, it’s not that I have a problem with those songs in themselves. It’s just that they don’t belong on the River.
It is true that if you go to the River website, it does allow the option between: “Christmas favorites” and “Non-Christmas” (their terms.) I think labeling a genre of music “Non-Christmas” is an interesting choice of words. I mean, essentially all of the music that has ever been made is “Non-Christmas.”
Regardless, when you’re online, the River does give you more options. When you’re online. Do you know when you’re online? When you’re not driving! That option means nothing to me. I have this strange habit of liking to listen to music when I’m driving, and I typically don’t drive around with a computer in the passenger seat.
So to the River: please stop playing Christmas music from Thanksgiving until New Year’s. I deal with the fact that you’re more about commercials than your ministry in the mornings when I drive to work. I put up with the listener comments you play during commercial breaks which talk about how important the River is to local citizens when the comments are usually idolatrous and theologically absurd. But your insistence on Christmas music throughout the advent is too much! My name is Josh, and I used to be the River.