Sunny 107.9 FM

The studio at Sunny 107.9 FM in West Palm Beach where Bill Adams and Tracy St. George play Christmas music from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays. (Joe Cavaretta, Sun Sentinel / December 9, 2013)

One DJ punches a sound-effect button to produce the sound of sleigh bells. His morning-show partner cues up the theme to the "Batman" TV show, followed by "Pomp and Circumstance" and the theme to "Cops."

"See? You can make any song a festive song, by adding sleigh bells to it," Tracy St. George says. "Christmas 'Cops'? There you go."

A person can go a little loony playing Christmas songs 24 hours a day, as the DJs at Sunny 107.9 FM have been doing since Nov. 25 and every year since 2001. It's the only station in South Florida that plays holiday music around the clock.

Bill Adams, whose T-shirt features an image of Bill Murray's character from "Scrooged," turns down the volume in the studio, a small room with sparkling tinsel draping the windows, red ribbons everywhere, and paper gingerbread men, snowmen and Santas taped to the walls. In one corner, "Noel" is stenciled in gold.


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"No, we're not burned out," says St. George, who with Adams hosts "Sunny Mornings" from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays. "Every song is happy, so it's fun. Except 'The Christmas Shoes.' " The song, about a boy who can't afford to buy shoes for his terminally ill mother, is certainly more of a bummer than the Barry Manilow rendition of "Winter Wonderland" playing in the background.

"I actually think there's more of a need for Christmas music here in South Florida," Adams says. "People need an audio element. When it's snowing outside, it's just too easy. And honest to God, we start hearing from listeners in October, asking if we'll be playing the Christmas music again."

Sunny program director Christie Banks says that just as retail stores and shopping malls hold their holiday sales earlier and earlier every year, the radio station, which is based in West Palm Beach but can be heard as far south as Miami, now introduces its Christmas programming before Thanksgiving. Other stations work holiday songs into their regular playlists, perhaps fearing that airing Christmas music nonstop would cost them listeners. Banks, meanwhile, hopes Sunny's Christmas promotion will persuade listeners to stick with the station after it returns to its soft-pop format at the end of the holidays.

Adams and St. George are the station's only on-air team. Sunny's nighttime programming is automated, and the midday and afternoon DJs work alone.

"It's actually fine," says Banks, who covers the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift. "I can sing out loud to all my favorites, and nobody else has to suffer through it."

St. George began partnering with Adams in October, and says they share a sense of humor and an appreciation of classic pop culture, both having been children of the 1980s. (He's 43. She declines to give her age.)

As Martina McBride duets with the late Dean Martin on "Baby, It's Cold Outside," St. George says listeners often request Christmas songs that remind them of family. Her favorite is Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," which is also the station's most requested song (see box). Adams says he prefers crooners such as Martin and Bing Crosby.

Their least favorite song? "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," which they will play, but infrequently.

On the "Sunny Mornings" page on Sunny1079.com, Adams and St. George have posted a four-minute parody of old Christmas specials hosted by couples sitting in front of fireplaces. In the bit, Tracy appears to get drunk, while Bill lip-synchs Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas." They also have compiled a comprehensive list of Christmas TV specials. "Don't you hate it when you wait for your favorite special, then it passes by without your seeing it?" Adams asks.

The DJs don't know how many songs are on the station's holiday playlist. "We tried to find an artist who hasn't done a Christmas song," St. George says. "We couldn't."

The songs are chosen by program directors, anyway, they note, and knowing what song connects with what demo would "make us think too much," Adams says.

"That's for the head elves to know," says Adams, who admits to having OD'ed on the Will Ferrell movie "Elf." "We're keeping busy here making the wagons."

At quitting time — 9:45 a.m., because a 15-minute song spree takes listeners to the top of the hour —a hint of mockery slips out when St. George refers to something mundane as "a Christmas miracle." It's a running joke between the hosts, something they use when, for example, a caller correctly answers a trivia question. They also say it's a miracle that they come in at 6 a.m. every day, two elves with a window view of South Florida, trying to ignore the Grinches out there listening to other radio stations.

Nsortal@SunSentinel.com