ALT 98.7 FM Revitalizes Radio as ALT Summer Camp Revitalizes Music Fests

ALT Summer Camp draws and act and a fan of other acts in Kristine Flaherty (k.flay). Photo by Michelle Alvarez/Green-Eyed Blonde Photography

Summer’s here and the music festivals that have hit us this year are proving to be just as hot as the weather. This weekend, ALT 98.7 FM ushers in the ALT Summer Camp at the Queen Mary festival grounds in Long Beach. Say what you want about radio supported events, but it’s shows like this that are making terrestrial radio relevant again.

For the past few years, people have migrated to online streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music instead of over-the-airwaves radio for their tunes. During that time, these streaming services have taken a big bite out of traditional radio’s listening audience. For a bit there, radio was starting to sound like a big iTunes program with little to no connection with their audiences. Radio identified what was missing in their music delivery; it was what separated them from pre-programmed musical outlets for so long. The juggernauts KLOS, KROQ and local OC generational alt rock innovators KX935 slowly started programming live deejays again–you know, the familiar voices who bring us music with a kick. ALT 98.7 was part of this radio revolution, too.

So, what did that master plan look like industrywide? It was simple: Play good new music, with a steady mix of classic songs their listeners know and love, and include live, entertaining deejays/radio personalities. Anyone can provide loops of great music, but having an actual person introduce and/or comment on it creates a connection between the audience and the platform. That’s the rub for music-only streaming services; they were the new shiny toy for a few years, but now people want more. They want to be entertained, and that’s proving a little harder for some of these services. In the end, playing great music with great deejays worked and BOOM!–radio became relevant again.

Who knew the simplicity of this concept would pay the dividends it has? ALT 98.7 Program Director Lisa Worden knew this, for one. She’s been a major catalyst in redefining how radio delivers music to the masses. In a recent chat, she told us about a few areas they’ve worked on. For example, The Woody Show has proven to be a very solid anchor. A great morning show is the nucleus of any great radio lineup, and ALT 98.7 connects big time with listeners as a result. With a great cast of weekday and weekend jocks, Worden and crew have bitten the online services back … and it’s being noticed.

“The thought was to put voices on the air that would entertain us,” Worden says. “You know, inform us, make us laugh and give us news at times when we need to hear news, and do it in a way that’s trustworthy and bottom line … we aimed to give listeners what they wanted.”

ALT 98.7 definitely gives listeners from all over the alternative music spectrum a connection to radio again. Worden and her staff have put together a dynamic delivery of music that captures various alternative sub-genres that people have simply fallen in love with.

Creating a seismic shift in radio was very hard and as you can imagine, it didn’t happen overnight. ALT98.7 has been part of the Southern California radio landscape since 1948. Over the decades, the station has had several evolutions. (The current owner is iHeart Media.) What stands out about the station is how it’s inserted itself in the music festival world.

One of the best festivals that showcases this diverse musical landscape is about to hit us. This year’s ALT Summer Camp features performances by Of Monsters and Men, Walk the Moon, The Head and the Heart, Phantogram, Cold War Kids, Grouplove, Lovelytheband, The Interrupters, k.flay, Shaed, Half Alive and Oliver Tree.

The Interrupters look forward to a hometown crowd. Photo by Michelle Alvarez/Green-Eyed Blonde Photography

In a recent interview, Grammy-nominated artists k.flay and The Interrupters both told us they were very excited to be part of this show.

Kristine Flaherty (a.k.a. k.flay) has been in high demand since being nominated for a Grammy for her 2017 album Every Where is Some Where, which featured her uber-hit “Blood in the Cut.” Interest has only compounded with her just-released album Solutions and its song “Sister” that is receiving heavy airplay.

The SoCal resident says  she can’t wait to play ALT Summer Camp and take in the other acts. Those include The Interrupters, which has been the toast of the fourth wave ska-punk movement for a few years now. They bring a high energy sound that electrifies with great songs from their current album, Fight the Good Fight. Bringing one of the most unique voices in the music biz to the stage, Aimee Interrupter has proven to be an entertainer that you just have to see. Members of the Interrupters say they love the diversity of the ALT Summer Camp lineup, and they agreed that there’s always something special about playing for a hometown crowd.

All and all, this lineup will do what the station has been doing the past few years, it will entertain you. Make sure you bring your dancing shoes, because this is going to be a very lively show.

ALT Summer Camp is at Queen Mary Events Park, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach; Sat., 3:45 p.m. $71-$113. All ages but must be 21 to drink.

ALT 98.7

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