The 27th annual edition of 24 Nonstop Hours on the 24th Day of December! All day, all night December 24th!Robert Drake here – excited to once again host The Night Before on XPN!
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It was 27 years ago when WXPN came to me, with those puppy-dog eyes, hoping that I'd fill in on December 24. Seems no one was available, and in those days before digital, you needed a body to oversee any programming. So, I agreed - as long as they gave me complete freedom to spin an aural web of sounds of the season - direct from my collection of holiday tunes.
What they didn't know was that I had already developed a fascination for Christmas songs. Not the burnt cookies anyone can hear up and down the dial in December. My collection was chock-full of unique nuggets - some not given the light of day for decades.
So, they agreed to give me three hours and I delivered. The three hours went to four - which went to six and then to twelve, to celebrate twelve years of tradition! The following year management asked what I planned to do to top my 12-hour marathon. I said, how 'bout 24 hours?! After checking my pulse and temperature - just to be sure I wasn't babbling under some illness - they agreed. Ever since, I've been on the air for 24-nonstop hours every Christmas Eve.
And now I am doing it all again!
Within my 24 hour radio takeover on December 24, I will air some special programming that have become traditions within the tradition! Every Christmas Eve morning at 10am, I replay some highlights from the amazing Home For The Holidays concert, hosted by Helen Leicht. Recorded earlier this month in front of a live audience at World Cafe Live, Helen gathered an amazing round of regional artists to perform classic sounds of the season and I will air some of those performances throughout the hour.
At noon it's my annual broadcast of STRIKING TWELVE - a wonderful and creative retelling of "The Little Match Girl", a short story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen and performed here by GroveLily! If you want to own this performance, visit this link: groovelily.bandcamp.com
Later in the evening at 7pm, I broadcast It's A Wonderful Life - the 1947 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed ... a perfect way to showcase the magic of radio on this most magical of nights!
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To better explain The Night Before on XPN with Robert Drake, check out this 'timeless classic' about my annual aural tradition, written and performed by Philly's own Bah & The Humbugs to celebrate my (then) 20th anniversary of The Night Before The Night Before
A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU
XPN hosts Eric Schuman and Robert Drake took a deep dive into the seminal 1963 holiday release from Phil Spector - track by track. Sure, you might know the songs, but chances are you don't know the backstory! This is required listening for any fan of Christmas music!