A Thing of Beauty

Most days at work I listen to the Austrian radio station Ö3 (the joys of having unlimited data on my phone). It’s one of the most successful radio stations in all of Europe, reaching approximately a third of all Austrians every single day. That is a truly remarkable feat, equivalent to a radio station here in the UK having over 20 millions listeners everyday. I love the mix of modern pop, foreign language stuff that is popular on the continent and the kind of stuff from the 80s and 90s that Heart plays here in the UK.

Anyway, let me get to the point. The news jingle goes something like this on the hour.

Kinda cool…

However, on Christmas Eve I happened to be listening at 3pm in the UK which was 4pm in Austria. Now, in Austria, Christmas starts at Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve starts at dusk on the 24th. Put that all together and it means that as I listened it was officially the start of Christmas in Austria.

And this is what I heard.

Isn’t that awesome? It really does something for me, literally left me in tears – it’s not just that the orchestration is different, it’s that one of the most successful radio stations in Europe makes a deliberate effort at the start of Christmas to make a point – This is a special moment, we are celebrating a Holy Night (Heiliger Abend), there is something about what we remember that night that is fundamentally different to every other night.

The jingle plays every hour until dawn before the news. At 6pm and at 9pm they read from Luke’s Gospel (example here) and the whole evening just has an incredible feel to it. I’ve never ever noticed before because I’ve never listened to Ö3 on Christmas Eve before! And yes, it’s a very Roman Catholic country, but can you ever imagine Radio 1 doing that here in the UK?

That would be the day.

48 hours of Christmas left folks and then we all have to start wearing green again. Enjoy it while you can.

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