A new but familiar voice is coming to Los Angeles’ Alt 98.7. Starting Feb. 1, KROQ veteran Stryker is joining the station’s Chris Booker for “ALT Afternoons with Booker and Stryker,” airing weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Stryker (pictured at right and below) left KROQ in June 2021 and his amicable parting came with a noncompete, which officially expired today. Lisa Worden, vice president of rock and alternative at iHeartMedia and program director for Alt 98.7 — herself an alum of KROQ — put the pairing into motion, marking another bold move in the competitive SoCal radio market. The iHeart station has been inching away at the once influential KROQ’s audience, with Alt 98.7 earning a cume of 2.2 (representing just over 1 million listeners) versus 1.5 for KROQ in the latest ratings period.
“The second Lisa said it, I was in 100%,” Stryker tells Variety. “I thought it was a great idea. I love Booker; he is an incredible broadcaster and we get along great. This was, for me, such an obvious choice for my next chapter. It’s going to be fun.”
Adds Booker: “I’m very excited and ready to go! We’ve been sitting on this for a minute, and I just I can’t wait to get started. BS in the P.M. — that’s what our show is basically going to be.”
A release announcing the pairing describes the show as “conversations between friends that you’d hear at a bar, caught on tape and released for public ridicule… but live. Two local guys pulling the curtain back on their everyday life, mixed with Alternative musicology and discovery.”
The two are launching Afternoons without a playbook, opting instead to “read the room,” says Booker. “We want to ease into it.”
“Like any first day or first week on the job, there’s a little bit of a learning curve,” says Stryker. “We’re going to get to know each other on the air and build this thing. But I guarantee you, the first time we break in between songs, it’ll be entertaining.”
“Radio is about the relationships listeners have with the people between the records, and Stryker is as familiar as they come to Southern California and to people that like alternative rock,” Booker continues. “It’s a slam dunk.”
Booker and Stryker go back more than 20 years, when each appeared on opposite coasts — Booker on New York’s former KROCK — and the two have followed similar career paths, adding television and red carpet hosting gigs to their resumes in addition to their on-air day jobs. In fact, Howard Stern has referred to Stryker as “west coast Booker” in the past.
“I love radio, specifically Los Angeles radio,” says Stryker, an L.A. native. “And I love being a companion to people in Southern California in the car. And I love that Booker and I are only on Alt 98.7, so we can talk about being in and out of the Valley, or going to Dodger Stadium, or being on the 405 without having to worry about people in other cities. Over the last five years, Alt 98.7 has done an incredible job of cementing itself as a SoCal radio station. I mean, look at the AlterEgo festival that’s sold out at the forum. I’ve been so jealous that I haven’t been able to go — now I can!”
Both Booker and Stryker host podcasts (Booker’s “PHP” podcast with Perez Hilton recaps the week’s gossip; for “Tuna on Toast,” Stryker interviews key figures in music), which they will continue with the blessing of Worden and the iHeart brass in New York.
“Lisa and I worked together for roughly 20 years at KROQ and I respect her so much,” says Stryker. “She has been, in many people’s eyes, a superstar in this business, and it’s great to see her thrive with a clear vision on how she wants Alt 98.7 to sound. She plays bands that helped build what the alternative format is now. I love singing every word to the Killers and Muse and the Strokes and Blink-182 and Sum 41, but I still get so excited when we get to play a new band or a new song.”
Added Worden: “I’m so excited to be reunited with Stryker! He is a bonafide superstar with a proven ratings track record. The artists love him, the industry loves him, and most importantly, the listeners love him! The combination of two quarterbacks in ‘Afternoon Drive on ALT 98.7’ is a dream. Booker and Stryker together are going to change the game for L.A. radio, and I can’t wait to see what heights these guys are capable of reaching.”
With today’s announcement, iHeart has launched a new website and social channels for Booker and Stryker. Find them on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook at @BookerandStryker and on Twitter at @bookerstryker.