The Top 22 Players and Stories in Triple A and Adult Rock 2017: #17-#13

Our annual countdown of the people, organizations, ideas, and stories that had impact in 2017 continues with numbers 17 through 13…

By Paul Marszalek

#17 Slingshot

SlingshotThe lack of fresh ideas coming from radio is, frankly, a bit maddening. Stripped down staffs have little time to get creative, fear of failure is rampant, and sometimes there just aren’t any resources. But those are just excuses. Radio needs to be more creative and generate more excitement about new music.

It’s no surprise that folks on the public side of the dial have put together one of the best stunts of 2017. NPR Music and VuHaus, the pubradio video collective, have combined forces to showcase new music. Using NPR Music’s resources, as well as those of the 18 VuHaus member radio stations, they’ve combined to get behind the freshman Slingshot class – Jamila Woods, Big Thief, and Lo Moon.

Feedback has been good, so we expect this to only get better moving forward. Slingshot is a tastemaking benchmark feature in the making.

#16 Lisa Sonkin/Columbia Records

SonkinSpeaking of NPR Music and public radio, among the first major label promotion executives to make those outlets the highest of priorities, Lisa Sonkin of Columbia Records, has had another great year.

Sure, she’s got some slam dunks like Adele, but charting John Mayer, Depeche Mode, and Harry Styles were not, and taking Rag N Bone Man to #1 impressed.

In August, Columbia gave her SVP stripes, covering Triple A and Public Radio Promotion.

#15 Retail Radio

imageedit_1_6715761728A couple of times I’ve mentioned that I’ve heard Qdobas that sound better than a lot of Alternative stations. And I’m not really trying to be snarky, it’s just true – there are some great people behind the playlists that used to be Muzak.

SBR’s John Bradley, who programs a lot of Whole Foods Market stores with his company Custom Channels, notes, “As shopping transforms from strictly retail buy/sell to more entertainment and experience, music becomes much more foreground and a bigger part of the brand experience. Hence, songs are heard. And the quality of songs matter. It all goes ‘beyond background’.”

Interestingly, a lot of labels are not engaged in this area because a lack of spin-style chart metrics. But here’s a news flash: A lot of those Shazams you’re seeing aren’t coming from radio, they’re coming from shoppers aiming their phones at the ceilings of high-end retail outlets.

#14 Karen Durkot/Concord Music Group

Durkot 1The washboard-playing VP/Promo for Concord Music Group did it again in 2017.

She kept up the 2016 momentum of The Revivalists and The Record Company and stretched that success well into mid-year. Add chart success with Valerie June and The New Pornographers.

But it was breaking Manchester Orchestra, Van William,  and finally getting St. Vincent’s Annie Clark her due that lands Karen on our list this year.

This is an incredible batting average for a label outside of The Big Three. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, she should probably be ranked higher.

#13 Sean Demery/KINK

DemeryNothing but great call letters on Sean Demery’s resume — 99x, Live 105, KMTT/The Mountain, WYMS/Radio Milwaukee.

Think about what those stations have in common — they’ve all had extremely creative heydays.

It’s almost old school now, but Demery knows how to build loyal communities with radio, and the company he works for, Alpha, “gets” it.

This year at KINK, the station came thisclose to cracking a 5-share.



Filed Under: Actual NewsFeaturedNewsRadio and Records


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