Staff

The Planetary Group staff is a blend of people who all bring their unique experiences and talents to the table. In fact, our staff is just unique as your music. No matter your style or genre you will find that you will feel right at home working with our high energy and dynamic team.

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Adam Lewis

Adam Lewis

Founder

One of Planetary’s founding members, Adam Lewis has demonstrated commitment to music promotion from the get-go. While at college, Adam acted as the Chairman of the Activities Board, as well as the Music Director & Arts Editor of the radio station and newspaper. Adam also produced and promoted an independent EP, which charted on CMJ for 9 weeks.

The Summer of 1990 found Adam with yet another task — tour managing the Aquanettas (IRS) on their North American tour opening for Nine Inch Nails and Meat Beat Manifesto. Upon graduating he worked for Harris Goldberg at Concert Ideas in Woodstock, NY, and opened a satellite office of Concert Ideas here in Boston. In between the move from Woodstock to Boston, Adam hit the road again — this time as Tour Manager for Alien Sex Fiend (Mechanic).

So, what’s Adam been up to these days? Besides leading Planetary into the new millennium, he spent five years as the New England Sales Manager for TVT Records, where he played an integral part in the promotion of such acts as Sevendust, Guided By Voices, and Snoop Doggy Dogg. Adam also does all of the publicity, promotion, and media buying for Great Northeast Productions. Great Northeast produces over 50 (club level to stadium-sized) shows a year throughout New England. They have also been responsible for all of the large-scale Phish shows for the last few years, including The Clifford Ball, The Great Went, Lemonwheel, Oswego, It, Coventry, and the 2000 New Year’s Eve show in Florida, which was the largest millennium rock show in the world. For several years, Adam also managed Blackbird/Atlantic recording artists, Angry Salad.

Luke Phillips

Luke Phillips

Radio Promoter

Luke “Diamond” Phillips was born and raised in and around Flint, Michigan. As a youth, he voraciously consumed all of the pop culture and random history he could possibly handle, which makes him great at trivia. All of that obsession finally culminated when, at 16, Luke read Our Band Could Be Your Life for the first time. That settled it — young LDP was now obsessed with music culture almost exclusively.

Our hero attended Oakland University in Auburn Hills, MI, where in his first week he stepped inside the doors of WXOU Radio. Thereafter, he pretty much never left the station’s walls until graduation, becoming a student DJ in the process. Fellow DJs and staffers soon took notice of Luke’s wide-ranging, all-encompassing, super-inclusive taste, encyclopedic knowledge of bands and artists, and willingness to animatedly discuss these and various other subjects with anyone and everyone.

Freshly graduated, Luke has transplanted to LA, where he’s joined the radio department at Planetary. He’s just as excited to talk to YOU about records and the minutiae of life as he is everyone else.

Cristina Ramirez

Cristina Ramirez

Office/Project Manager

Cristina Ramirez is a Los Angeles based multimedia artist and music enthusiast, originally from Pearblossom, CA. After moving to LA in 2009 to attend Loyola Marymount University, Cristina began volunteering at the on campus radio station, KXLU 88.9 FM, as part of the video crew filming and editing live performances. Her creative endeavors extended to DJing a weekly show and handling promotions and publicity for the radio station. She graduated in 2012 with a BA in Studio Arts with an emphasis in Screen Printing.

Cristina currently works as a Project Manager for The Planetary Group, manages several LA musical groups, and exhibits her artwork and zines in local art spaces and galleries. Her interests include petting cats, using Domino’s Pizza Tracker, and watching Bob’s Burgers.

Ben Zalman

George Chammas

Online and Tour Publicity
George has come a long way from booking local punk bands in his hometown of Pittsburgh, but his love of all things DIY has never changed.  After majoring in TV/Radio at Ithaca College in idyllic upstate New York, he moved to Los Angeles and spent the first four years working in reality TV where he acquired a wealth of great party stories.
Nestled in the neighborhood of Studio City, George took on several musical projects.  He founded an autumn-themed music festival, LA FALL FEST.  He manages and plays in a psychedelic rock band, The Mosaics, and helped start a local recording studio.  Now George is an Online Publicist at the Planetary Group where he is living the dream working with amazing bands every day.
George is the resident Deadhead in the office.  He loves cruising in his 1990 VW Vanagon with his girlfriend, chilling with his Russian Blue cat, frequenting music festivals, binging TV shows, (i.e. Twin Peaks), and scouring the Internet for new tunes to add to his Spotify playlists.
Ben Zalman

Ben Zalman

Director of Promotion

As a music industry professional and attorney with over 15 years of experience in the music and entertainment industries, Ben started off as the music director at WMVL Radio. Soon after, Ben joined the Planetary Group and has led successful campaigns with artists including The Decemberists, Interpol, Bob Mould, Passion Pit, Gogol Bordello, Kings of Leon, Sun Kil Moon, Gaslight Anthem, DeVotchKa, and many others. Ben is passionate about developing new artists and creating opportunities for them to thrive.

Ben is also passionate about National League Baseball, craft beer, the intersection of music and the law, 90’s emo and punk rock, all things Larry David, Point Break, Spaceballs, and, of course, making themed playlists.

Kristen Walters

Nikolas Soelter

Press

Nik is an LA native who loves coffee, spicy food, his cat Loti, and collecting music equipment. He spent the last 8 years living in the Bay where he studied Cognitive Science & Music at UC Berkeley. He got his first taste of DIY by booking tours through MySpace, and has traveled the states and Japan, all organized mostly through instant messaging. After graduating, he started working in a lab studying emotion, but quickly realized that life on the road was where his heart was at.

Over the last three years he’s toured in various bands, booked countless shows, moonlit as a music journalist, learned from the pros at Zeitgeist Artist Management, and by some wild stroke of fate ended up tour managing the South Korean indie stars Hyukoh. Now he’s back where it all started, ready for the next chapter in this wild ride we call life. What a story Mark. In this picture, he is probably listening to Preoccupations. No, he does not listen to Phish. He probably took this picture 10 times.

Kristen Walters

CJ Simonson

Radio Promoter

Hailing from the sometimes great state of Arizona, CJ spent his youth fully immersed in the worlds of both film and music before eventually moving to Orange County. After graduating from Chapman University in 2014 with degrees in Film Studies and Public Relations & Advertising, he worked for his alma mater in their marketing department before joining the Planetary Group to put both his past as a Program Manager for Chapman Radio and his passion for music to the test.

CJ spends his free time as a culture writer, with bylines at Collider and OC Weekly. He considers himself the Sultan of Skittles, the Baron of Bagels, and loves craft beer, Costco Pizza, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s masterstroke E•MO•TION.
Kristen Walters

Tim Gagnon

Press
Tim Gagnon is a recent transplant to the radio team and Los Angeles at large after spending his initial post-college years dabbling in every career path the East Coast has to offer in the music industry. Starting off as a general manager of WKNH at Keene State, Tim eventually relocated down to Boston, where he found himself covering Pile, Krill, Guerilla Toss, and many DJ sets for Allston Pudding. He eventually started working at a few venues and quickly earned the title of Least Intimidating Door Guy/Security Guard in Boston, all while serving as a staff writer for Scout Magazines and writing for Noisey, Consequence of Sound, and Vinyl Me, Please.
Tim is now with us in LA, eager to discuss whatever you’re listening to, power rankings of candy bars, and anything related to the greatest basketball team in America, the Boston Celtics. Yes, he’s fully aware of how Celtics fans are treated in Los Angeles. No, he’s not afraid.
Kristen Walters

Max Datner

Radio Promoter

Max Datner grew up in Philadelphia, where the culture of music and broadcasting has as rich a history as throwing objects at professional athletes. Max chose to be passionate about two of these things, starting his first radio show at his high-school station, WHHS, and interning as a production assistant on NPR’s World Cafe radio show.

At WPTS Radio in Pittsburgh, he hosted programs that featured music from Spanish and Portuguese speaking parts of the world, new music releases, and commentary on current events. Max spent a year as the Music Director at WPTS, the highlight of which was talking on the phone with the promoters at Planetary.

Now that he is on the other side of those calls, Max is working to make musicians’ dreams come true. Among his other LA endeavors are recording his own music as a singer-songwriter and growing his Top 200 Burger Chart.

Kristen Walters

Karolyn Jaranilla

Press

Born in LA and raised just outside it, Karolyn first discovered her passion for music when her dad bought the family’s first satellite radio. Scanning through hundreds of stations ignited her addiction for finding new music. It wasn’t until the end of her second year at UC Riverside when she started actively pursuing her passion. She first joined KUCR as a DJ and later became their Music Director.

After graduating in 2017 with a degree in Media and Cultural Studies, Karolyn interned for Planetary Group in their Radio Department and experienced college promotion from the other side. Now she’s learning the ropes of publicity and living the dream sharing all types of music.

In her spare time, Karolyn lurks on Reddit, solves Rubik’s cubes and compiles a weekly playlist of recently discovered music to share with anyone willing to sit through her excessive Instagram stories.

Kristen Walters

Devyn McHugh

Digital Assets Manager/Radio Team

Devyn’s love for all things indie and DIY led her into the incredibly unfortunate career choice of working in the music industry, and she couldn’t be happier to get her start at Planetary as the Digital Assets Manager. Hailing from Northshore Massachusetts, she considers herself a Boston girl at heart, but that hasn’t stopped her from also finding a home in NYC and now in LA (much to the concern and wonder of her entire Boston bred family).

In school, Dev lived the liberal arts dream of creating her own major, Digital Media, mostly so that she could take all of the music production classes, but skip the theory. After much convincing, this was incredibly successful, and also allowed her to get to know other passions like photography and collage. A recent alum of Holy Cross back on the east coast, Dev misses her friends, the radio station—WCHC— and waitressing at the local Italian restaurant. She does not miss much else, and is excited to be out in the world talking music full time. Feel free to creep her Spotify, where Mistki is almost always on her recently played. Other hobbies include astrology, movies & tv, exploring the city, and talking about each of these things incessantly. Catch her at the next Lana Del Rey show, (crying) with a Stella Artois in hand.

Kristen Walters

Rusty Roberts

Radio Promoter

Rusty Roberts is currently on his second tour of duty with the Planetary Group in their radio department. After his first run ended in 2009, he left the industry altogether and ended up in retail management for several years while still having the itch to be in the game. He started his own tiny little side gig called Locale Music, offering up tour and band management services, publicity and other industry-related consulting. He also missed being involved in radio from his college days where he was General Manager and Music Director of WSYC at Shippensburg University in Central Pennsylvania. He returned to the airwaves in January 2016 with This Is Not A Show, a weekly program on WERA featuring the best new music and sessions with some of the best up and coming acts in the independent music scene while also assisting with the overall music programming of the Arlington based low power FM station. Rusty returned to Planetary in 2018 who he now works for from outside of Washington, DC where he resides with his partner and their four-legged child, Gracie J. Puppy Dog.