The Top 22 Players and Stories in Triple A and Adult Rock 2017: #22-#18

Our annual countdown of the people, organizations, ideas, and stories that had impact in 2017 begins with number 22 to 18…

By Paul Marszalek
TheTop22.com

#22 Reasons to be Fearful – The Church Wants Your Signal

WNKU logoIn 2017 we said goodbye to non-comms WNKU, WBRU, and commercial KSWD/The Sound. The buyer in each case was a religious broadcaster.

The issue isn’t so much that religious broadcasters continue to snap up signals – they certainly have the right to do that. The issue is that there are no other buyers (especially for the non-comms), and the religious broadcasters know it. Thus their brokers whisper in the ear of every college president that the school’s FM license is well past its peak value, and if the school doesn’t sell it now, it’ll only be worth less down the road. Even worse, at least one broker is known to sell against radio, telling schools that FM is “over.” Which is nice.

#21 Reasons to be Cheerful – Alternative Sign-ons

Alt 92.3Upon completion of its merger with CBS, Entercom led the charge with format flips to Alternative in New York, Dallas, and Orlando. iHeart added another in Detroit.

That’s pretty great news.

Worth watching in 2018 will be whether or not the current execution of many Alternative stations continues along the path of what might best be called Alt40. We hear this execution as discordant, often off-brand, and likely good for a 2-share.

An execution that takes a page from the historical branding perspective of Alternative, however, has a much better chance of building a mother-daughter-father-son coalition – and community – that will bring in better numbers and revenue.

#20 Jessie Scott/WMOT Middle Tennessee State

Jessie ScottSure it’s not the biggest station out there, but we need to celebrate passion-projects that actually happen.

Veteran Jessie Scott started out at WDVE/Pittsburgh, jumped call letters in New York, LA, and elsewhere before landing at XM Satellite Radio, where she became known as a champion for Americana. Bought out in 2009, Jessie hit the web with her Americana site Music Fog.

In late 2016 she flipped the format at Middle Tennessee State University’s 100,000-watt, yes, by definition, flamethrower, to Roots.

While licensed to Murfreesboro, the trend is .3 -.4 -.6 in Nashville. Not a bad start.

#19 Beck, or a Whole New Way of Releasing an Album

BeckFor nearly two years, Beck teased a new album, releasing singles in the form of Dreams,Wow, Dear Life, and Up All Night. Two hit #1 at both formats. All got airplay, commercial placements, or both. All before the album Colors arrived.

When Colors did come out, it was like buying a greatest hits album.

Honestly, we don’t know if this was an accident or on purpose, but it was not lost on us what might have happened if Beck had released the album in a traditional manner: Advance Single, Single, done. Instead, we’re getting ready for single #5.

While this strategy may not work with baby bands (but it might – watch Lo Moon), it’s worth thinking about. Everyone knows it’s all about singles and streaming playlists. So what, exactly, is the role of an album moving forward?

#18 WYMS/Radio Milwaukee

WYMS logoAs WYMS reached its 10th Anniversary this year, it was knocking on the door of a 100k cume.  The station also arrived as a true tastemaker within the format.

As we say in the business, Tarik Moody has ears. So does Matt Barney. So does Jordan Lee. Much larger stations are looking at what these guys are finding.

And here’s a kicker: 88-9’s HD2 station, an all-local format called 414music.fm, actually pulls a .2 in Nielsen. Sweet.

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