Understanding Radio Formats:Triple A (AAA)

Despite new technologies making radio seemingly less relevant these days, it is still one of the most influential outlets for “breaking a new artist.” So, no matter what part of the music business you want to work in, you should have a good understanding of all of the major radio station formats and what kind of artists are likely to get played on each. I’ve posted before about CHR , one of the most popular formats. Today’s post is about a lesser known one called Triple A. Triple A stations are a bit freer in their music choices but if you spend a few days listening to one you will certainly pick up on the vibe of that station. AAA stands for adult album alternative, meaning that it is targeted to adults, is less focused on singles and more willing to play any song from an album, and tends to play more alternative music. Some still have special programs targeted specifically to younger audiences, like the Y-Rock program on Philadelphia’s WXPN, and a lot of them still break new artists because they may be more willing to take risks than other stations. Some artists you might hear on a Triple A station include The Beatles, Bonnie Raitt, Hall and Oates, Queen, John Mayer, Hoots & Hellmouth, Adele, Wilco, Death Cab, Ingrid Michaelson,R.E.M., Dave Matthews Band, Neil Young, Vampire Weekend, Billy Joel, Radiohead and Ray Lamontagne. The listeners of these stations tend to be older and affluent. Many of these stations are actually public and supported by donations from their listeners. This means they are non-commercial. A lot of these stations are also associated with National Public Radio (NPR) and you might hear popular programs like World Cafe and All Things Considered on them.

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