The Top 22 Players and Stories in Triple A and Adult Rock 2017 – #12 – #9

Our annual countdown of the people, organizations, ideas, and stories that had impact in 2017 continues with numbers 12 through 9…

By Paul Marszalek

#12 – Greg Solk/WXRT Chicago

Greg SolkHis name is has been synonymous with Chicago radio for four decades – mostly because he started at The Loop when he was something like 12 years old.

In recent years he was responsible for creating Chicago’s cool-classic-rock brand The Drive until owner Hubbard inexplicably decided to move on.

When legend Norm Winer left WXRT, the vacuum was considerable, but Solk stepped in, wooed beloved Music Director John Farneda out of retirement, and the station hasn’t missed a beat.

In recent ratings, The Drive remains formidable, but is off nearly a full point. XRT has been hitting 3-share with a cume of 950,000 – by far the highest cume of any station on the Triple A panel.

#11 – SiriusXM Satellite Radio

SiriusXMWhen the two satcasters debuted, radio experts howled at the idea that people would actually pay for radio. When the subscriber numbers started coming in, the same experts said they were just new cars sitting idle on dealer lots.

If any of those “visionaries” are still employed in radio, heaven help us.

The combined entity ended 2017 with a mere 32.7 million subscribers, adding a net 1.39 million in the year.

It’s interesting to note that the best content out there can be found on outlets that people pay for directly — SiriusXM and Public Radio. Just like HBO, Netflix, and Amazon on the video side.

In terms of impact, one label executive put it simply, “When a song gets added to Spectrum, Alt Nation, or even XMU – you see it in Shazam right away.”

#10 Lisa Worden/KYSR Los Angeles

Lisa WordenAfter more than 20 years at crosstown KROQ, Lisa Worden made the leap to VP/Programming at KYSR Alt 98.7.

While she’ll have to deal with the Godzilla vs. Mothra street fight between the two stations in LA, we’re hoping to get from her a greater influence over the format.

The good news is that there have been a number of format flips to Alternative in 2017; the bad news is that the number of Alt stations with more than a 2-share can be counted on one hand.

Not that a 2-share is awful, but we think that with slight tweaks to the music and execution, Alternative can bring together a larger coalition and deliver better numbers. Selector jockeys and PPM slaves have numbed what should be a very active format into something quite defensive and passive. It’s off-brand.

Needed: A little less Alt40 and a little more street cred — Worden is uniquely placed to get that done.

#9 Talia Schlanger/World Café

Talia SchlangerIn case you missed it, WXPN this year put on a clinic on how to make a transition with a cornerstone program.

With David Dye leaving as host and moving to a contributor role, a half million audience members and 200 affiliates collectively held their breath to see how it would work out. After all, pubradio fans love to talk about how open they are to change — while simultaneously digging in their heels as soon as they get a whiff of it.

XPN turned to Talia Schlanger to take the reins at World Café.

It worked. She’s great.

Too bad WXPN wasn’t in charge of Car Talk.

Filed Under: Actual NewsFeaturedNewsRadio and Records


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