Are Memorial Day Radio Specials Still a Thing?

When I was a kid, holiday weekends meant special radio programs! Not syndicated shows, but genuine, live and locally-produced specials. In Minneapolis, KDWB had “The Memorial Day 500 Countdown.” Obviously, this was a play on the Indy 500 which also took place over Memorial Day Weekend. Starting at 3:00PM on Friday, KDWB would count down what they determined to be the Top 500 songs of all time. #1 was always “Stairway to Heaven”, of course. Also in the Top 10 were “Free Bird”, “Layla”, “Roundabout”, and “Hey Jude.” The usual suspects. After Number One was played, the jock would start over with Number Five Hundred.

There was nothing magical about this. Several markets did it. But it WAS an annual event that we looked forward to. Most importantly, it was live and local radio. The song list in Minneapolis was different from the song list on WLS in Chicago. Which was different still from WABC’s list in New York City or KHJ’s in Los Angeles. Just as their weekly countdowns were different. That’s what made radio fun and interesting.

Do you know of any stations which still do local holiday programming? Or does it all come via downloaded .mp3 files from a national syndicator? I strongly suspect the latter. Please tell me that I am wrong.

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