As 2021 strides into its final stretch, a few things are coming more and more into focus. COVID kept us from recognizing the up from the down, but helped us recognize how music has always been there for us. Over the past year, a few radio stations have stepped up their game to not only play great music, but to become a part of our lives the way radio once was. A station that is proving they care is ALT987 in Los Angeles.
Over the last couple years, radio has been re-emerging as a source for new music and entertainment. The entertainment part is one angle many online streamers can’t seem to keep up with. Radio has always been a place where music drives listeners, but it’s the on-air voices that keep them coming back. Familiar voices become a friend; they are there when we need a laugh or to get news straight, and in a crisis, they tell us what we need to know. It is hard to believe that as simple as that concept is, many radio stations around the world forgot that. But ALT987 did not forget; in fact, they’ve embraced that concept.
With that as the backdrop to this story, last week ALT987 announced their annual concert. The station has put on larger-than-life show before, but after COVID’s Summer of Bummer, this year’s ALTer EGO is special. Not only do they have some of the biggest names in music performing, fans throughout Southern California are excited about this show.
The next ALTer EGO show will be held at The Forum on January 22, 2022, and features alt rock heavyweights Coldplay, Twenty One Pilots, Kings of Leon, Imagine Dragons, All Time Low, Willow, and more.
Many large radio stations put on shows, but for this one, fans are genuinely excited in a way that goes beyond the boundaries of a show at someone’s favorite radio station. OC Music News wanted to find out why fans are so devoted to this event, so we reached out to Lisa Worden, Vice President of Programing at ALT987 and iHeartRadio.
The first thing that stands out is at ALT987 you can hear a variety of what’s considered alt rock from different eras, and an array from the alt rock umbrella of genres. You can hear everything from Coldplay to Twenty One Pilots to The Interrupters; that’s not something you can get from all radio stations across the dial.
That variety is where Worden stands out, so we asked her about the programming at the station. Worden told us, “If it’s good and it fits our alternative format, there’s a very good chance you’ll hear it here.” She went on to say, “It’s important to us to hear what our listeners want. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be in this business, and we’ve never lost sight of that.”
We discussed how the past year and a half has been challenging – and at times heartbreaking – for so many people, and how the radio industry has had to deal with adversity. We were curious how Worden and the staff dealt with the COVID landscape, and after careful thought, Worden said…
“Everyone at the station loves what they do, and we all care about our listeners. When the world went sideways, everyone from the Woody show, Hudson, Booker and Danica all stayed here at the station and did their shows live. We didn’t take time off, and we continued to take phone calls and listened to anyone who needed an ear. We make sure we answer all tweets, emails, and any questions anyone has. It’s important we be there for them. Bottom line is we give a shit about what’s going on and I think our listeners are responding to that.”
Worden is right; fans are excited about the show, but they are just as appreciative at how approachable members of the staff have been.
In the end, radio stations throughout the country are starting to do the right thing; they are playing great new music and songs with a guitar-driven sonic signature. Luckily for us in Southern California, we have a few of those stations in our own backyard. For Lisa Worden and crew, 2020-21 did not change who they are – it highlighted who they are. For that, ALTer EGO should be more of a celebration. If you want to have a great time checking out some kickass music, you might want to get your tickets now to ALTer EGO.
Many people believe that bigger is not better, and smaller is not inferior… it’s how you treat people that earns respect. For that, much respect to Worden and the ALT987 staff.