Marthon Man

Back in 1988, when Jon Solomon was fifteen and a deejay-in-training at WPRB in Princeton, 103.3 fm, he volunteered to fill the Christmas Eve slot in the station’s December schedule. He wasn’t busy that night, since he celebrates Hanukkah.

“I just decided to go on and stay on for as long as I could, until someone else came in in the morning,” says Solomon, a Lawrenceville resident who also hosts a show from 7 to 10 on Wednesday evenings.

His ten- to twelve-hour stint that Christmas Eve became a 24-hour show the following year. In the nearly two decades since, the marathon musical tribute to Christmas has become a tradition at WPRB. Many of the show’s listeners call in to the show to make requests or to chat, and it’s listeners who largely create the playlist, sending Solomon songs throughout the year.

“A guy in San Diego sends a hundred or so MP3s every holiday season,” Solomon says. “There’s a whole network of holiday music collectors out there.”

In Solomon’s eclectic collection of holiday tunes, much of the music is relatively obscure, like New Order’s 1982 Flexi disc single, “Merry Xmas From the Hacienda,” Alvin and the Chipmunks’ “Christmas Time Is Here Again” sung in German, “Silent Night” sung by Chewbacca, and “The Twelve Days of Christmas” performed by the cast of Twin Peaks.

Solomon believes he could do a whole show with versions of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” alone. But there are too many other precious songs to play, and precious little time in which to play them, he says. “You actually run out of time, which sounds crazy for a 24-hour radio show.”

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