Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
This is the week historically when local radio stations first started playing Christmas music, at Thanksgiving.
Now, we start fa-la-la-ing on FM on Halloween. I totally understand the idea. Stations have done research and have seen the Arbitron ratings. Christmas music works, the earlier the better.
You may hate it, but there are a gazillion more folks that want Burl Ives and Johnny Mathis about the same time Linus gets humiliated for another year in the pumpkin patch.
Here’s my problem with the Christmas music on the radio. Actually, I have two.
1) The juxtaposition of songs. Someone should realize that you don’t play Ave Maria right after I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.
2) Speaking of religious numbers, I would prefer the secular stuff early on, working in the carols slowly and closer as we get to Christmas. For the past few weeks, I just couldn’t get into The First Noel. Silent Night? Not on a 75 degree Indian Summer afternoon in early November.
And here are, in my view, the five worst Christmas songs played on the radio that I could do without:
5) The Little Drummer Boy by the Harry Simeone Chorale. This is the original. Slow and dull. Dull and slow. An absolute dirge. Yes, I know, it’s a classic and the story and meaning behind the song are sacred. I love other takes on it, but not this one.
4) War is Over by John Lennon. Irving Berlin it’s not. And I’m a Lennon and Beatles fan.
3) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by the Pretenders. The vocal is dreadful, the music funeral parlor-like. How to murder a classic.
2) Same auld lang syne by Dan Fogelberg
“Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I Stole behind her in the frozen foods
and I touched her on the sleeve
She didn't recognize the face at first
but then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
and we laughed until we cried
We Took her groceries to the checkout stand
The food was totaled up and bagged
We stood there lost in our embarrassment
as the conversation dragged
Went to have ourselves a drink or two
but couldn't find an open bar
Bought a six-pack at the liquor store
and we drank it in her car”
And the worst Christmas song ever…
1) The Christmas Shoes by Newsong
Just the kind of holiday song I want to hear, one about death.
This one never makes it through the first line on my radio. I’ll switch to anything else, even Joel McNally. I know people like it, even call in and request. Why? It’s so morbid. A God-awful recording.