21 Most Requested Christmas Songs From Denver’s KOSI 101.1 Radio Station

Some people start thinking about Christmas in October. Others wait until early November or at least until the Friday after Thanksgiving. Even more would prefer to wait until the first week of December. But for Coloradans who love Christmas music, the season really begins the day Denver radio station KOSI 101.1 begins ringing the bells 24 hours a day.

This year, that day is Friday, November 11 at noon, when the station will, for the first time, perform its annual format change in public, at Park Meadows Shopping Center in Lone Tree.

“We’re starting to get requests around Halloween from people asking us to switch to Christmas music,” said KOSI station manager Jim Lawson. “It’s a little too soon…And some people want us to wait until after Thanksgiving.” But that’s too late for the station, which has been decorating Denver venues with 24-hour Christmas music for 21 years in a row.

So KOSI re-evaluates each fall to decide when to move forward and joy. In 2020, it shook the bells early because people were still socially alienated and emerging from eight months of pandemic depression. The weather or an early snowstorm can also play a role in the decision.

Kathryn Scott, special for the Denver Post

Denver loves its Christmas music. Here, tuba players perform together at the annual Christmas Tuba Concert in the Denver Performing Arts Complex Gallery on Dec. 22, 2019. (Photo by Kathryn Scott/Special to The Denver Post)

Current events, like the divisive election this week, and our growing attachments to our phones and negativity on social media can also mean it’s harder for people to find joy in the world – or silent nights.

That’s why KOSI DJs try to be uplifting. “I believe in my heart that it gives a place where people can go and get away from all the noise and relax,” Lawson said.

DJs don’t care about the music either, he insisted. Although the station plans to continue airing Christmas jingles until New Year’s Day this year due to listener demands. “Most jockeys are fed up at this point,” Lawson said with a laugh.

But listening is no joke. The station draws more than a million people to Denver who set their dials to 101.1 during the holidays, compared to an average of 600,000 on a normal day.

Lawson himself loves classics, like Andy Williams and Bing Crosby, but he says KOSI also tries to play deeper cuts and modern songs.

As for Mariah Carey, she’s number 12 on the list, he pointed out, so there may be a lot more people who want to hear her ubiquitous song than those who don’t.

Singer Mariah Carey holds hands with Santa Claus as she performs during the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, attended by President Barack Obama and his family, at the Ellipse in Washington, DC, on Friday, December 6, 2013.
Singer Mariah Carey holds hands with Santa Claus as she performs during the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, attended by President Barack Obama and his family, at the Ellipse in Washington, DC, on Friday, December 6, 2013.

Here are the 21 most requested songs — one for each year KOSI played Christmas music — the station received last year.

21) Nitty Gritty Dirt – “Colorado Christmas”

20) Jose Feliciano – “Feliz Navidad”

19) Celine Dion – “O Holy Night”

18) Burl Ives – “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”

17) Vince Guarraldi – “Linus and Lucy”

16) Trans-Siberian Orchestra – “Christmas Eve Sarajevo”

15) Gene Autry – “High on the Roof”

14) Michael Buble – “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow”

13) Andy Williams – “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”

12) Mariah Carey – “All I Want For Christmas Is You”

11) Leroy Anderson – “Sleigh Ride”

10) David Foster – “Carol of the Bells”

9) Frank Sinatra & Cyndi Lauper – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

8) Dean Martin – “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

7) Johnny Mathis – “It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas”

6) Brenda Lee – “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

5) Bobby Helms – “Jingle Bell Rock”

4) Bing Crosby – “White Christmas”

3) Drifters – “White Christmas”

2) Burl Ives – “Holly Jolly Christmas”

1) Ronettes – “Sleigh Ride”

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