Philadelphia radio station PHYL (99.99) started its Memorial Day countdown of the top 500 rock songs on Thanksgiving Day.
The move appears to be in response to a decision by its closest competitor, station WAQW (100.00), which began playing Christmas music on July 4.
Bruce Turley, station manager at PHYL, had plans to begin broadcasting Christmas music the day after Labor Day, but was upstaged by WAQW.
“Not only is there a certain prestige associated with being the first local station to begin playing holiday music, but it’s also a bonanza for our ad team since they can start selling Christmas-related ad space before anyone else. ”
Turley is suspicious about the departure of program manager Bill Tomlinson back in mid-June to join WAQW.
“Tomlinson knew all about our plans to start playing Christmas music right after Labor Day. It seems to be more than a coincidence that he left PHYL and three weeks later WAQW is playing ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ and ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’. Let’s get real; the temperature hit 95 degrees on July 4.”
Turley is hoping to get companies locked in for ads related to high school graduation, Fathers’ Day, and Coppertone before his competition.
Asked if he thought Thanksgiving was a little early to be advertising for such events and products, Turley responded, “I know Memorial Day is still six months away, but there’s no way WAQW is beating us again. Plus, COVID has thrown off everyone’s schedule. No one knows what day of the week it is, let alone what time of the year it is.”
On a related note, the band KISS and singer-songwriter Barry Manilow have contacted PHYL to see what they can do to place high in the Memorial Day 500 countdown.
P.S. This post is in response to a challenge from a fellow blogger, Chel Owens, who suggested I write an Onion-like post after I had written a post saying how I would give up my day job if I got a job writing for The Onion…
*image from Valley Cultural