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WKMS Celebrates the 2023 Holiday Season with Special Programming

WKMS celebrates the 2023 holiday season with a wide variety of seasonal programs interspersed with regularly scheduled programming. From all genres of music to cooking to storytelling, there are national and local shows for everyone to enjoy this November and December.

See the full holiday program schedule below:

Tuesday, November 21st

11 am - 1 pm
Sounds Good: Favorite Songs of 2023*
Host Tracy Ross plays the hits of 2023 in this “year-in-review” special edition of Sounds Good.

Wednesday, November 22nd

11 am - 1 pm
Giving Thanks
As Thanksgiving brings family and food together to share common blessings, "Giving Thanks" brings music and words together in a thoughtful reflection on the meaning of the holiday.

Thursday, November 23rd

11 am - 1 pm
Splendid Table Turkey Confidential
Turkey Confidential is The Splendid Table’s annual Thanksgiving show. Francis Lam takes calls and comes to the rescue of Thanksgiving cooks, kitchen helpers, and dinner guests during the biggest cooking day of the year. Guests include chef Kristen Kish, Top Chef’s newest judge, Michigan chef and award-winning writer Abra Berens, author of Pulp, A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit, Jocelyn Delk Adams of Grandbaby Cakes, and Dan Pelosi, aka “GrossyPelosi” the exuberant author of Let’s Eat, 101 Recipes to Fill Your Heart and Home.

Friday, November 24th

11 am - 12 pm
With Good Reason: Ghost Suppers
This is the season of the Ghost Supper, where tribes in the Great Lakes region honor ancestors and loved ones with traditional and favorite the season of the Ghost Supper, where tribes in the Great Lakes region honor ancestors and loved ones with traditional and favorite dishes. This is the season of the Ghost Supper, where tribes in the Great Lakes region honor ancestors and loved ones with traditional and favorite dishes.

12 pm
Massaoit's Peace Pact with the Pilgrims
Massasoit was the leader of the Wampanoag Confederacy when English settlers landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. He and his people kept the Pilgrims from starving in the early years of their settlement, attended the first Thanksgiving, and forged a peace treaty with the English that lasted 40 years until his death. We'll talk with American Indian scholars Darius Coombs and Bob Charlesbois, who'll fill in the details of this Native American leader's attempt to make peace for his people and with the new strangers. Also, Native American film director Chris Eyre on his portrayal of Massasoit for the 2009 PBS television series We Shall Remain.

Friday, December 8th

11 am - 12 pm
Candles Burning Brightly
This NPR favorite returns with the best of the best Hanukkah Lights stories plus a special musical performance by The LeeVees. Hosted by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.

12 pm - 1 pm
Hanukkah Lights
A delightful hour for everyone to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights! There is lots of music from Jewish communities worldwide, a hilarious lesson on preparing a classic Hanukkah dish, and a timeless and touching holiday story that brings light into every home.

Friday, December 15th

11 am - 12 pm
All Songs Considered for the Holidays Extravaganza
Through a series of unexpected events, Bob and Robin found themselves hurtling through outer space on an urgent musical mission. They took a rocket ride to the stars and found comfort from a few special guests and friends, including Angel Olsen, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, our favorite spaceman (Dan Deacon, of course), and more.

12 pm - 1 pm
The Big Tiny Desk Holiday Special
Celebrate the season with amazing holiday performances from The Tiny Desk Concert series, including Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Steve Martin, Hanson, The Polyphonic Spree, and more! Hosted by NPR Music frenemies Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson.

Monday, December 18th

11 am - 12 pm
A World Cafe Holiday
World Cafe celebrated 30 years by revisiting special holiday performances from Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Los Lobos, Andrew Bird, The Bird and The Bee, Pink Martini, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and more. Hosted by Raina Douris, this musical gift will provide a full hour of hip holiday cheer.

12 pm - 1 pm
A Mountain Stage Holiday
Join Mountain Stage host Larry Groce for an hour filled with beautiful music to mark the season. The show features special guests Holly Cole, Joan Baez, Bruce Cockburn, Loudon Wainwright III, The Roches, Kathy Mattea, and more. All performances were recorded live on the Mountain Stage.

9 pm - 11 pm
Cafe Jazz Christmas with George Eldred*
Swing into the holiday season with two hours of jazz on this special episode of Café Jazz.

Tuesday, December 19th

11 am - 12 pm
Jazz Piano Christmas
Your favorite holiday classics as you’ve never heard them! The Kennedy Center and NPR present A Jazz Piano Christmas, the annual sell-out event featuring jazz-infused renditions of the season’s most-loved music. This year, we spotlight remarkable pianist, vocalist, and actress Melvis Santa—whose eclectic Afro-Cuban style has made her one of the most electrifying artists on the scene—in addition to internationally acclaimed Cuban composer and jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez. Hosted by Felix Contreras.

12 pm - 1 pm
Jazz Night in America: A Holiday Celebration
This year's Jazz Night in America holiday special will feature drummer Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O, a ruckus band recorded at Jazz at Lincoln Center that flips seasonal songs on their head while inserting humor and joyful swing and new takes on classics in this special episode. Christian McBride hosts.

9 pm - 10 pm
Black Cats Christmas Special with Todd Hill*
Black Cats Jump celebrates the legacy and expansive repertoire of Black big bands and musicians. In this hour-long Christmas special, Dr. Todd E. Hill and George Eldred share a curated playlist of holiday hits.

10 pm - 11 pm
Christmas with Murray State Jazz Orchestra*
Under the direction of Dr. Todd E. Hill, the Murray State Jazz Orchestra plays jumpin’ jazz renditions of Christmas tunes.

Wednesday, December 20th

11 am - 12 pm
Chanticleer Christmas
This one-hour program of holiday favorites, new and old, will be presented live in concert by Chanticleer, the superb 12-man ensemble known as "an orchestra of voices." Chanticleer is one of the premiere vocal ensembles in the nation. The ensemble has won two Grammys and is a member of the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

12 pm - 1 pm
Welcome Christmas
There’s no better way to welcome Christmas than Welcome Christmas!, the VocalEssence holiday concert. It’s an hour of joyful, classic holiday music from VocalEssence, one of the world’s premiere choral groups, singing traditional carols and new discoveries.

9 pm - 11 pm
Cafe Jazz Christmas with Brian Clardy*
Keep your holiday season spontaneous with this special episode of Café Jazz.

Thursday, December 21st

11 am - 1 pm
Your Classical Christmas Favorites
Join us this holiday season as we count down the top Christmas songs as voted by you in a two-hour special.

8 pm - 9 pm
A Paul Winter Solstice
This year, Solstice Live! warms up the longest night of the year with a taste of the tropics. This one-hour Winter Solstice special brings a starry array of Brazilian guests, including Ivan Lins, Renato Braz, and Luciana Souza, with the Paul Winter Consort at the annual solstice concerts in New York’s Cathedral of St John the Divine. John Schaefer hosts.

9 pm - 11 pm
The Jive House Funky Holiday Special*
The Jive House hosts pay tribute to Funk with fresh, groovy, and soulful songs for the holidays that will have listeners rockin' around the Christmas tree.

Friday, December 22nd

11 am - 12 pm
The Film Score: Music for the Winter Holidays
Music for the Winter Holidays is an hour-long special devoted to holiday and wintertime movie music. In addition to beloved standards (“White Christmas” from “Holiday Inn” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from “Meet Me in St. Louis”), Michael shares an eclectic mix of wintry film scores, ranging from “It Happened in Sun Valley” (from “Sun Valley Serenade”) to Alexandre Desplat’s folk-inspired score for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” to Bernard Herrmann’s bracing sleigh ride accompaniment composed for the Orson Welles drama “The Magnificent Ambersons.” Bundle up and enjoy The Film Score: Music for the Winter Holidays!

12 pm - 1 pm
Holidays at Murray State University 2023*
Murray State University proudly presents the annual “Holidays at Murray State,” featuring performances by the Murray State Concert Choir, the Murray State Jazz Orchestra, the Murray State Wind Ensemble, university choral ensembles Vox Lumina and Una Voce, a cappella group EQ Blu, and faculty soloist, Dr. Tana Field.

9 pm - 11 pm
Left of the Dial Black Christmas*
Host John Null celebrates Black Christmas, featuring Spinal Tap, Ramones, 45 Grave, Iggy Pop, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and much more.

11 pm - 1 am
An Alien Lanes Christmas*
Hosts Melanie A. Davis and Tim Peyton bring alternative holiday cheer along with all the fuzz, scuzz, and beauty of the last frontier.

Saturday, December 23rd

11 am - 1 pm
Music from the Front Porch Christmas Special*
Host Mike Gowen brings listeners some homegrown holiday cheer with seasonal songs rooted in Americana, folk, and bluegrass.

9 pm - 11 pm
Beyond the Edge Christmas*

Sunday, November 24th

9 am - 11 am
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols presents your audience with an opportunity to share in a live, worldwide Christmas Eve broadcast of a service of Biblical readings, carols, and related seasonal Classical music. This special will be presented by one of the world’s foremost choirs of men and boys and performed in an acoustically and architecturally renowned venue, the 500-year-old Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, England.

2 pm - 4 pm
The Kitchen Sink Christmas*
A curious mix of music, Kitchen Sink host Rick Nance curates a playlist of obscure holiday hits.

7 pm - 9 pm
State Line Blues Christmas Special*
The State Line Blues Christmas Special is 2 hours of Blues flavored Christmas music from the likes of BB King, Kingfish, Freddie King, Aaron Neville, Bobby Blue Bland, Keb Mo, Shemekia Copeland, John Prine and many more!

Monday, December 25th

11 am - 1 pm
St. Olaf Christmas
The St. Olaf Christmas Festival has become one of the nation's most cherished holiday celebrations. Started in 1912 by F. Melius Christiansen, founder of the St. Olaf College Music Department, the festival includes hymns, carols, choral works, and orchestral selections celebrating the Nativity. It features the St. Olaf Choir, the St. Olaf Orchestra, the St. Olaf Cantorei, the St. Olaf Chapel Choir, the Manitou Singers, and the Viking Chorus, performing as individual groups and as a massed ensemble.

Saturday, December 29th

11 pm - 1 am
Alien Lanes New Year's Eve*
Hosts Melanie A. Davis and Tim Peyton celebrate the upcoming new year with alternative music and all the fuzz, scuzz, and beauty of the last frontier.

Monday, January 1st

10 am - 12 pm
New Year's Day from Vienna 2024
The ever popular annual New Year’s Day Concert will be performed by the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Christian Thielemann. With this concert, it is not only the desire of the Vienna Philharmonic to provide musically definitive interpretations of the masterworks of this genre but also, as musical ambassadors of Austria, to send people all over the world a New Year's greeting in the spirit of hope, friendship, and peace. Hosted by WBUR's Lisa Mullins.

Listen to WKMS' holiday programming on-air, online at, or via the NPR One app.

*Local show produced in West KY

Starting at WKMS in 2014, Dixie is the station's Corporate Support Manager, working with local businesses and community organizations. She's been an avid supporter of public radio since her teenage years. Other than public radio, her passions include live music, natural health and nutrition, hiking, traveling, and animals. She serves on the Paducah Main Street Board and is a member of the Paducah-McCracken County NAACP and the Heath Family Resource & Youth Services Center Advisory Council. Dixie and her husband, local musician and historian Nathan Lynn, reside in Paducah with their two kids.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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