Stations from Coast To Coast Set To Carry The KeepTheFaith Christmas Marathon during Christmas Weekend; Dozens Of Artists To Be Featured.
HisAir.Net has learned that major radio stations across America have been signed to carry the 4th Annual KeepTheFaith Christmas Marathon hosted by Keith Stevens and Donna Cruz, and featuring all-star guest hosts including Lauren Daigle, Chris Tomlin, Matthew West, Third Day’s Mac Powell, Amy Grant, Point of Grace, Sadie Robertson, Michael W. Smith, Hillary Scott and Mandisa.
Mike Blakemore of WFSH, a.k.a. “TheFish Atlanta,” says “This is the finest holiday special in all of Radio. It’s produced specifically to make you feel as though you are listening in to event radio of yesteryear, when people were snuggled up and sitting around the fireplace, hot chocolate in hand, radio on, with the Christmas tree lights glowing nearby. We have garnered huge numbers for previous KeepTheFaith marathons and our sponsors love it. We offer it with limited commercial interruptions–so we are able to get premium dollars from just a couple of local title sponsors.” Blakemore says that this year the KeepTheFaith Christmas Marathon will begin on Friday at 6 p.m. and air all the way through Christmas Night, a Monday, in Atlanta. States Blakemore, “this works well for us because the production is nothing short of spectacular. The songs are programmed by John Frost–so there’s just the right mix of CCM artists and nostalgic Christmas hits that we all grew up on. The stories and host wrap arounds are festive, funny, heartwarming and make you feel like a kid again. The KeepTheFaith production team works on this content all year long, and we get a big bang out of it during our all-important holiday season.”
In addition to Salem’s Atlanta outlet, KFSH, “TheFish LA” will air the marathon for the entire weekend, as well. Ditto,–most all other Fish Stations around the nation. Many of Salem’s Talk/Teach stations will air at least a good portion of the marathon, including powerhouse KKLA in Los Angeles, according to Salem LA station group programming head, Chuck Tyler. “Quite frankly, we offer this to local advertisers who are looking for premium Christmas content to sponsor. They want something special–and this is it. Nothing else compares. By airing the marathon, we also have the opportunity to give our on-air and talk show talent the day off on Christmas eve and Christmas day.”
Programming Extraordinaire John Frost, who is one of three executive producers of the KeepTheFaith Christmas Marathon (along with David Sams and Joe Battaglia), says that this year’s all-star line up of guest co-hosts will feature a combination of CCM staples and mainstream headliners. “Our stations get an overwhelming amount of audience sampling during the marathon. This has become a calling card of sorts for them. So, this year we have specifically included family friendly, mainstream names like Hillary Scott and Sadie Robertson, to guest-host. We’ve also included features with the likes of Reba and Dolly! These stars serve as a magnet for people, especially women, who are not necessarily our everyday listener, but looking for truly festive holiday programming to share with their families while driving around town listening to Christmas music.”
David Sams, CEO of KeepTheFaith Networks, tells HiAir.Net he expects close to 200 stations to sign up for the marathon. “We are well ahead previous years clearance efforts,” Sams states. “We’ve already signed up the majority of the Top 20 markets with the CCM stations–we only have 4 or 5 more markets to go. One reason is that we’ve decided to open up this event special to include all CCM stations from coast-to-coast, not just regular KeepTheFaith affiliates. While the marathon is 12 hours long, we are allowing stations to air as little as 6 hours or as much as 80 hours (from Friday the 22nd through midnight on the 25th). We are being very flexible in an effort to meet the specific needs of affiliates. As a matter of fact, we are being so flexible that we are producing a stand-alone Country version of the marathon for select Country stations around the nation that have been begging us for a faith-based Country Christmas special. So, even the Country programmers are looking to tap into our special mix during the holiday season.”
Last year, the KeepTheFaith Christmas Marathon attracted nearly 1.5 million listeners. Sams says that he expects this year’s marathon to exceed a record-setting 250,000 AQH listeners and a cume of some 2 million people. States Sams, “Stations that want to attract and grow an audience have found that this marathon is more than just a special, it’s a STATEMENT. The KeepTheFaithChristmas Marathon is truly Christian Radio Finest 12 Hours of Programming.”
To find out how you can air the KeepTheFaith Christmas Marathon on your station, contact Denise Payne at 310-877-1114 or Shelley Richardson at 615-610-2980.