Nielsen also states that midday (12 Noon - 3 PM) are the most-listened-to daypart in radio all year round and the same is true for top holiday-formatted stations in PPM markets. Listening peaks during the noon hour over the four week stretch from the first week of December to New Year's Day. Listener audiences around midday increased 71% last year as compared to stations which were not in an all-Christmas format.
But nights, which is typically a light-listening daypart, receives a rocket-fuel boost from holiday music, which Nielsen reports that all-Christmas stations receive a 129% ratings lift during the holiday season (where the average nighttime average quarter-hour (AQH) audience was 291,700) and a staggering 582% on Christmas Eve, where the average nighttime AQH rose to 1.9 million.
The most played Christmas format song seems to vary by market. Last year, the most played holiday song in the New York metro market was Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You". The Los Angeles market clearly contrasts, with Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad". Looking at the top 10 AC stations, Nielsen found these stations played 34 different versions of "Winter Wonderland" during the same holiday season, with the Eurythmics' version getting the most airplay, around 600 rotations.
The most played songs of the holiday season on the radio may very well be Bing Crosby's "White Christmas", but when it comes to streaming, Justin Bieber's "Mistletoe" was the most streamed tune last holiday season with 7.6 million streams.
Although radio mostly stuck with Carey's version of "All I Want For Christmas Is You", streamers would rather chill out with Bieber's duet with Carey on the same song, which has been played 3.8 million times, which contrasts to the Carey version (3.5 million) and the Michael Buble version (2.6 million). Buble was a streaming favorite last year as well, with his version of "It’s Beginning To Look A Lot like Christmas”, which streamed over 2.7 million times. 80s pop duo Wham! had a holiday streaming hit last year with “Last Christmas,” which streamed 2.7 million times.