Chicago — The Chicago Christmas soundtrack can be found on 93.9 LITE FM.
Local computer programmers have also helped residents keep track of which Christmas songs are most played on radio stations during the holidays.
Matt Fitzgerald, a computer programmer and software developer outside Mount Prospect, has developed a program to track all the Christmas songs played on 93.9 FM from November 2nd, when the Christmas Marathon ends, to Monday.
LITE FM switched to a fully Christmas-friendly format on November 1, the earliest yet, but Fitzgerald lost the first day’s data due to a computer crash, he said.
Like many Chicagoans, Fitzgerald has listened to 93.9 FM on vacation for most of his life. This year he developed the idea of using technology to find out the most popular songs on radio stations.
“When you grow up, you listen to 93.9 as your Christmas station,” said Fitzgerald, 24. I thought he was listening to the same song over and over again. He wanted to know how big their song library was. ”
Fitzgerald ran a computer script that scanned the Now Playing and Recently Played features of LITE FM’s website and compiled data for every song played by the station. The data showed which songs were played the most, showing some surprises.
For one, the most played records were instrumental, which is unusual for most FM stations. According to Fitzgerald data, Mannheim Steamroller’s “Carol of the Bells” was played 224 times over the course of about two months of Christmas music in his marathon.
A version of “Carol of the Bells” by David Foster came in at number seven on the list and was played 201 times.
The rest of the Top 10 are Christmas classics, including Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (1963 release), Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” (1970) and Frank Sinatra’s “Jingle Bells.” It is heavily biased towards famous songs.
Mariah Carey’s mega-popular “All I Want For Christmas Is You” has become the eighth most-played song. Fitzgerald said it’s shocking because it’s everywhere on vacation.
“LITE is so pop and modern that it’s amazing to have a name like that out there,” he said. “I was very surprised that Mariah Carey wasn’t at the top.”
The list of top played records differs slightly from the list of most played songs, as multiple artists’ recordings of the same song appear in the list. For example, two recordings of “Carol Of The Bells” were among the top 10 most played.
LITE FM’s most-played song this Christmas season was “Sleigh Ride,” with four versions of the song being played a total of 635 times.
Representatives for LITE FM and parent company iHeartMedia did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Here are the top 25 most played Christmas records on LITE FM this holiday season. For a full list of Fitzgerald’s projects and more information, click here.
- Mannheim Steamroller “Carol of the Bells”: 224 times
- “It’s the best time of the year.” Andy Williams: 222
- “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano: 218
- “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by LeAnn Rimes: 215
- Amy Grant’s “Winter Wonderland”: 211
- Andy Williams “Winter Wonderland”: 201
- “Carol of the Bells” by David Foster: 201
- Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’: 199
- “Sleigh Ride” by Johnny Mathis: 198
- Frank Sinatra’s “Jingle Bells”: 192
- “Ring Christmas Bells” by Ray Conniff: 191
- “Can you hear what I am hearing?” Jordan Sparks: 191
- ‘Sleigh Ride’ by The Ronettes: 189
- You Are Mean, Mr. Grinch, by Thal Ravenscroft: 181
- “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! By Dean Martin: 179
- Brenda Lee’s “Jingle Bell Rock”: 179
- The Drifters, ‘White Christmas (feat. Clyde McPhatter & Bill Pinkney)’: 174
- Glee’s “Last Christmas”: 170
- John Lennon “Happy Christmas War Is Over” (Full Version): 169
- Ray Conniff’s “Frosty the Snowman”: 147
- “I saw Mama kissing Santa Claus.” Jackson 5:141
- “Jingle Bells” by The Ray Conniff Singers: 139
- Percy Faith, “Decorate the Hall with Holly Branches”: 135
- “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” Darlene Love: 134
- “Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)” by Gene Autry: 134
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