A rare Christmas holiday radio program will be available to listeners again

A rare Christmas holiday radio program will be available to listeners again

More Christmas and holiday programming is on tap for you if you’re willing to listen via apps or online … including one program that has not been heard locally in years, if ever.

In the early 1980s, Drake-Chenault produced a show called “Christmas At Our House.” It was very well received since it was quite different from the usual repetition of 50 common Christmas songs. The syndicated show hasn’t been aired anywhere for over 20 years, and I don’t recall it ever airing in Los Angeles.

The program was hosted by Sonny Melendrez, who I met while he was at Magic 106 (now KPWR, 105.9 FM) circa 1984. It features lots of holiday music, along with interesting vignettes about how Christmas is celebrated in various countries around the world. There are also celebrity interviews, holiday stories, and some very unique music.

It will air commercial-free on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, from  2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and repeat on Christmas Day December 25, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

How do you listen? The stream URL is https://la2.indexcom.com/player/6. Just copy and paste the link into your web browser and a player will launch. If you have the technical know-how you can add it to your favorite phone app, but it will also play using the online player on your phone, so you can listen on the go or in your car.

The second program is a holiday tradition. Sounds of the Season will air as usual beginning at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and running through midnight on Christmas Day. The 36-hour show includes some excellent jazz instrumental and vocal interpretations of holiday music favorites from Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Marcus Roberts, Ramsey Lewis, Wynton Marsalis, Vince Guaraldi and many more.

LA Jazz DJ legend, Chuck Niles, provides a dramatic reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” at noon, and 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and midnight, 6 a.m., noon and 6  p.m. on Christmas Day.

“I have plenty of newer tracks this year, exclaims show producer David Grudt. “About 27 percent of the music comes from albums released in the last three years. Roughly 60 percent of the playlist this year is comprised of music in our 1,300 plus track library that are new songs, tracks that I haven’t used ever before or tracks that weren’t played in 2021.”

In the San Diego area, you can hear it over the air on KSDS (88.3 FM); in Longview, Texas you can tune to KFRO (1370 AM) — Longview’s oldest radio station owned by Scott Rice, former Chief Engineer of KSDS. But you’ll probably find it easier to “tune in” online at https://jazzknob.com or https://www.jazz88.org

Music Comparison

Sean Ross confirmed my own observations: KOST (103.5 FM) and Go Country (105.1 FM) do have a lot of overlap, but there are enough differences that might make your choice easier.

In a sample hour, Ross reported on RadioInsight.com that KOST played holiday music from The Eagles, Michael Bublé, Bing Cosby, Lindsey Stirling, Johnny Mathis, Dean Martin, Amy Grant, Meghan Trainor, Frank Sinatra & Cyndi Lauper, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Dolly Parton & Michael Bublé, and Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé.

Meanwhile, Go Country’s sample hour included songs from Bing Crosby, Darlene Love, Taylor Swift, Elvis Presley, Faith Hill, Johnny Mathis, Kelly Clarkson, Nat “King’ Cole, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton, Frank Sinatra, Idina Menzel, Lady A and Kenny Loggins.

I note that neither station had any songs from Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, among my favorite Christmas songs due most likely to my listening constantly to the reel-to-reel tape every season on my parent’s Akai M8 when I was growing up. But I digress.

What the Ross sample hours did show is that there is indeed a difference. KOST is marginally more contemporary in the pop arena; Go Country is marginally more traditional but includes a lot of more recent songs from country artists, including a superb version of Baby It’s Cold Outside from Lady A.

But again, no Fred Waring. Such a shame.