Religious Christmas Songs Banned on Milwaukee “Oldies” Station
This past Sunday night, we had the misfortune to take an hour’s drive in a vehicle that lacked a CD player, and resorted to listening to the radio. Tuning to WRIT (95.7 FM), we heard the standard Christmas music, but after a while something became obvious. There was no religious music. Lots about “Christmas trees” (even that much is un-PC these days) and sleigh bells and rocking around the Christmas tree and mommy kissing Santa Claus, but nothing about the baby Jesus.
For the past 48 hours, we have been monitoring WRIT (excepting when sleeping or otherwise occupied), sometimes listening, but mostly just occasionally looking at their list of the “Last 10 Played” in their web page.
There has been nothing with any religious content. To be certain of this, we had to look up the lyrics of songs like Lou Monte’s “Dominick The Donkey” (not a fun experience) and Jim Brickman’s “Angels” (sounds religious, but it has no lyrics).
But no, nothing at all religious was played.
This banning of religious content could not be the policy of Clear Channel Communications, since the playlist of WOKY is laced with religious songs, and WOKY is also a Clear Channel station.
(Note that we haven’t monitored what WOKY is actually playing, as opposed to their posted playlist.)
We also checked another somewhat stodgy local station that plays Christmas songs pretty much 24/7 now, WMYX. Their web page labels their programing “All Christmas Music All the Time . . .” in contrast to WRIT which advertises “The Greatest Hits of the Holidays” (no mention of Christmas there).
WMYX plays almost entirely secular Christmas music, although without the rigorous exclusion of Christian themes. Their playlist includes two different versions of “Do You Hear What I Hear” and we caught them playing Pete Seeger’s version of “Little Drummer Boy.” But on the whole they are little better than WRIT.
These stations are, of course, private businesses that are entirely free to play what they want. But their motives are a bit obscure. It’s not that religious music is objectionable at Christmas to more than a tiny fraction of their audience, and it’s hard to argue that “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” somehow rivals “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” or “We Three Kings” or “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” in terms of artistic merit.
WRIT program director Jeff Lynn failed to respond to both an e-mail and a phone call from us, so we are left to speculate as to what moves WMYX and (especially) WRIT.
Our guess is that people in the broadcast industry have internalized the notion that religion is somehow “controversial” and therefore best avoided, even in connection with a holiday named for Christ.
Our view is that Christians (or indeed, tolerant Jews, Moslems and atheists) have every right to make it even more controversial to stifle and suppress the Christian songs that are so much a part of America’s heritage.
People who don’t like this can (first) turn their radio dials to other stations, and second contact the stations that won’t play Christian Christmas music and (politely) inform them that they’ll be losing listeners because of their policy.
WRIT-FM (Program Director Jeff Lynn e-mail)
WMYX-FM (Internet contact page)