With a majority of adult contemporary stations switching to wall-to-wall Christmas music in November and December, the attention has understandably been on those stations' significant audience growth in Nielsen's Holiday 2023 survey, with PPM shares hitting the 15 mark for persons 6+, and a remarkable 16.1 for the 18-34 demographic.

But AC and to a lesser extent contemporary Christian stations gone all-Christmas aren't the only ones to see Holiday book share gains in PPM markets. There are also “anti-Santas,” if you will – formats that may have benefited from listeners for whom it wasn't necessarily the most wonderful time of the year, or who simply couldn't take “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree” 24/7.

Across demos, two formats in this category stand out: modern/alternative rock, and urban AC.

From Holiday 2022-2023, alternative sees gains in 6+ (2.2-2.5), 18-49 (3.6-3.9), and 25-54 (3.4-3.7). On the music side, new tracks from veteran acts Green Day and Thirty Seconds to Mars, and hits from alt-to-pop crossovers Noah Kahan and David Kushner, have given listeners plenty of reasons to stay tuned. Among the stations seeing upticks from December's book are iHeartMedia's “Alt 98.7” KYSR Los Angeles, and Hubbard Radio's “93.3 Alt AZ” KDKB Phoenix, the latter of which saw a 103% 6+ share jump from November (3.4-6.9), including a 64% lift from December (4.2-6.9).

Urban AC's growth has primarily been driven by 18-34s, with share growth from January 2023 (3.7-4.0), while 6+ sees a similar gain (4.7-5.0). While listeners could still catch Donny Hathaway's “This Christmas” in the mix, its currents from Usher, Babyface, and Tamar Braxton that have made an impact. Among the biggest Dec.-Hol. gainers are Howard University's WHUR Washington DC (6.8-7.7), and iHeart's “V103” WAVZ Chicago (5.5-6.1).

As has been the case for most of the past year, Spanish regional Mexican continues to show a year-over-year rise among 18-34 listeners, up 0.4 from 2022's Holiday book (2.9-3.3). That's likely due to the format's most successful crossover act, Peso Pluma, whose collaboration with Eslabon Armado on “Ella Baila Sola” was one of 2023's most streamed songs.

If you consider any level of share growth, or staying even with earlier delivery, a triumph vs. all-Christmas competition, then several other formats are worthy of mention, based on their Holiday survey performance. Adult hits remains an across-the-board gainer, up .01-.02 in 6+ and all other key demos year-over-year. Sports has held firm since Holiday 2022 in 6+ and 18-34, and CHR has done the same for 6+ and 25-54. From January 2023, rhythmic CHR is either up .01 or flat among 18-34s or 25-54s respectively, and urban contemporary's share has stayed the same year-over-year for 18-34s and 18-49s.

There's one other format with growth across-the-board, albeit with an asterisk: classic hits. That's because while it's also up 0.1-0.2 in every demo either year-over-year or from December's book, keep in mind that includes several large-market classic hits stations that also flipped to Christmas music, such as iHeart's “Kool 108” KQQL Minneapolis, and “Majic 105.7” Cleveland.