Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2017 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Santa Claus came to the Fish today as of 5 p.m. when it swapped out its usual Christian pop format for a full-on Christmas format for the next five weeks. This is the 16th season the station has made the switch.
Fish has not been consistent what day it changes over to "Feliz Navidad" and "O Holy Night." Two years ago, it switched on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Last year, it chose Thanksgiving Eve.
Over the seven years, veteran afternoon host Beth Bacall has gotten the honors.
The first songs: Amy Grant's "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and Michael Buble's "Let it Snow."
She also brought teacher Gloria Lassiter and her daughter and neonatal nurse Nicole in to decorate the tree. They had won Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant tickets for their show Saturday at Infinite Energy. (This is Nicole's first concert ever and she even gets to meet both Smith and Grant.)
Nicole was the victim of a hit-and-run accident five years ago and hasn't been able to work due to a spinal injury since 2014 due to constant pain.
Bacall surprised Nicole with gifts from the Fish Christmas Wish fund, courtesy of her mom. The station gave her $1,000 and whatever the listeners provided for the next hour so Nicole could get medical treatments to help her get back to work. Plus, they get a $500 Publix gift card.
"I'm a little shocked at the moment," Bacall said.
"We're so thankful that the Lord has answered this prayer," Gloria said.
"I want to thank our Fish listeners," Bacall said.
Afterwards, recipient Nicole said, "I knew she was up to something!"
Fish’s Christmas music mix is a mix of secular classics by the likes of Burl Ives, Frank Sinatra, Mariah Carey and the Carpenters with covers of both religious and pop Christmas songs by Christian artists such as Chris Tomlin and Casting Crowns.
Star 94.1 earlier this month started Christmas on its HD2 channel. (You can listen here.) Fellow Christian pop station Joy 93.3 usually swaps out to Christmas as well at some point this week. And Sirius/XM already has two stations up: a traditional Christmas station with just classics (Channel 4) and Holly (Channel 70), which mixes things up. (More specialized Christmas stations are on the way.)