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PRIMARY WAVE CHECKS INTO
THE FOUR SEASONS
Mestel walks like a man. (10/22a)
UMG IPO SET FOR '22
And Q3 figures look good as well. (10/21a)
TOP 20: TAY'S FOLKLORIC RUN CONTINUES
A Swift return to #1. (10/21a)
REVENUE CHART: “LEMONADE” AND OCEAN SPRAY
The Rumours are true. (10/23a)
GRAMMY PREVIEW:
PHOEBE BRIDGERS
Could she be this year's left-field anointed one? (10/23a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
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POST TOASTED
FAKE IT FLOWERS

By Karen Glauber

Every Monday, I read my fearless leader Lenny’s positive take on the new normal: Workouts! Haircut! Golf! Conversations! Confidence! Such leadership! I can do this, I think, and then the kid starts freaking out because the Wi-Fi isn’t working and Trump just tweeted yet another thing that triggers my anxiety, and then it’s off to the races. I’ve read every article on “doomscrolling” (of which I am guilty), and maybe I should just accept that there’s nothing more I can do right now to change the outcome on Nov. 3, except maybe pray to my higher power (aka Patti Smith). I take a deep breath: The kid and I are healthy, and I’ll always have your back, my label and radio friends, no matter what.

In Sunday’s New York Times, beabadoobee offers her solution for dealing with stress: “I do this thing every night that I feel everyone has to do: Dance in front of your mirror in your underpants,” she said. “It’s an amazing way to make yourself feel happy. I put on Veruca Salt and I rock out.” She nodded toward the mirror on the sliding doors of her own bedroom closet. “I wanted to make something like that so girls can do the exact same thing.” What makes me happy is seeing how well “Care” is doing at Alternative radio—almost Top 20, with weekly U.S. artist streams nearing 2 million a week! Her debut album, Fake It Flowers, is out on 10/16, and, without question, 20-year-old beabadoobee is one of the most visible new Alternative artists on a global scale. At some point in 2021 (please, Patti Smith, make it happen), Bea will be on tour with The 1975, and I can’t wait for you to meet her.

My other favorite song right now is “Fire for You” by Cannons, which is already Top 20, thanks to Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee’s passion, as well as an extraordinary Shazam story. Massive props to KKDO’s Andy Hawk for being the first programmer to recognize this song’s potential—he’s become one of the true tastemakers for the format. “What does Andy think?” is a question I hear daily from promotion people. Lisa and Darice are also Top 10 in audience with 24kGldn, and they have another streaming phenom on their hands with Ritt Momney’s cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On.”

The song I want to dance (clothed) in front of the mirror to is Romy’s “Lifetime,” which Risa Matsuki and BT have just launched. Romy, for the unaware, is the singer of The xx, and “Lifetime” is the best musical mood-changer I’ve heard since March.

Marisa DiFrisco at Caroline, whom I adore, is Top 10 with Judah & the Lion’s “Beautiful Anyway,” which is a fantastic achievement for both the band and the label. As Ted and I constantly assure our promo partners: Great songs will find an audience. “Just work the record,” Ted advises, while I adhere to Lenny’s wisdom: “There are 10 records in the Top 10.” Why shouldn’t your record be one of them? This week, Clairo’s new smash, “Sofia,” is going for adds at Alternative. The song is already over 8 million streams per week, so this is a veritable GIFT to programmers. You can thank your Caroline friends by adding it this week. Also on deck is new music from Shaed—“Trampoline” is still averaging 1,000 weekly spins at the format, so the new single will be an automatic.

I’ve been thinking about music that makes me happy, and, besides the Pippin soundtrack from 1972 (John Rubinstein singing “Corner of the Sky”—what is better than that?), I can’t stop listening to Phoenix’s “Identical.” On the rare occasion when I venture out of the house, I need this song, as well as Glass Animals’ “Tangerine” to guide me.

The promotion story of this endless year is Bakar’s “Hell N Back,” which finally went Top 10 after 439 weeks on the chart. Maybe it’s “only” been 39 weeks, but Epic’s Rick Sackheim and his team refused to give up, including taking the song to #1 at Triple A. Bravo!

SONG TO HEAR: AJR’s “Bummerland”… And please, friends, VOTE!


 
 
THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING

By Karen Glauber

We have ourselves a ticket for 2020: Biden/Harris. For the first time since March, my shoulders relaxed with the announcement of Kamala Harris as Biden’s VP pick. “We’ve got this,” was my initial reaction. And then, as always happens when I look at Twitter after my son is finally asleep, I started to panic about the same thing I panicked about in 2016: How do we get the 18-34 demo to care about voting in this election?

I’ve been having conversations with radio programmers about this topic—how can they galvanize their audience to show up to vote on Nov. 3? Billie Eilish is among the (virtual) performers this week at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. This is newsworthy, of course. In past elections, Rock the Vote had a huge presence on radio and MTV and in live venues. Now, especially, radio has the power to influence its audience toward action.

AJR have been using their social media to encourage fans to vote. How can radio/managers/artists come together to promote this life-changing cause? How can radio use its relationship with artists to bring out the 18-34-year-olds on Election Day in record numbers? We must do everything in our power to end this national nightmare. Maybe Biden isn’t your ideal candidate, but your precious idealism or third-party posturing aren’t worth my time. In the immortal words of The Chicks, “I’m not ready to make nice,” and neither should you.

Back in May, I heard a song while watching Mindy Kaling’s Netflix hit Never Have I Ever that Shazam revealed to be Cannons’ “Fire for You.” KKDO’s brilliant Andy Hawk was also watching the show that weekend, and he promptly added “Fire for You” on 5/19, as did SiriusXM’s Chill channel. Fast-forward three months, and the band has been signed to Columbia Records, with the song already at 8.1 million streams! “Fire for You” remains a Shazam and research monster in Sacramento: #1 or #2 call-out and currently #12 Shazam in Sacto and #3 in Folsom, which is KKDO’s P1 market. Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee are going for adds this week, bolstered by early support from Alt Nation, KROQ, KITS, KUCD, KRXP, Music Choice and WRMR. Andy Hawk had this to say about “Fire for You”: “Instant Reaction, power research. The audience has not been this positive about a song in the early spins since Shaed’s ‘Trampoline.’”

My favorite artist name to say is “beabadoobee.” Seriously—everything about her makes me smile. A 20-year-old from the UK who is signed to Dirty Hit Records in the U.S. and U.K., just released her first single, “Care,” from her upcoming debut album, but you’re already familiar with her voice because her song “Coffee” was used on the Powfu smash “deathbed (coffee for your head),” which is already at 987m global streams! If you’re keeping track, beabadoobee is the 60th-most-streamed artist on Spotify, which is incredible, considering “Care” is her first “radio” single. Jeff Regan at Alt Nation has been a huge supporter, and beabadoobee was set to headline the Alt Nation Advanced Placement Tour in March (sigh). Jeff Morad and Luke at WEQX are also big fans, as are Gabby from WSFS and the KRBZ gang. After Lisa Worden and Harms chose “Care” as ALT 98.7’s “New Music Feature,” Harms did the most wonderful IG Live on Wednesday with her. Bea’s favorite bands are Pavement and Veruca Salt, and “Care” will remind you (in the best possible way) of Belly’s “Feed the Tree.”

The best-selling single on the iTunes Alt Chart is AJR’s “Bang”—more than SIX MONTHS after the song’s release. Perhaps some of you missed the boat here?

After slugging it out at radio for many months, Ashe’s “Moral of the Story” is crossing to Pop in a big way, just as David Jacobs launches her second single, “Save Myself.” Cannons, REZZ, Phoebe Bridgers, Ashe, Tessa Violet, beabadoobee and Billie Eilish are the future of the format because beyond their incredible talent and meaningfulness to your audience, the future is female.


 
 
PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER

By Karen Glauber

Day after day, night after night, I’m stunned by the words that come out of our feckless leader’s mouth. Unrestrained by any measure of civility or empathy, this festering ass pimple, in the span of minutes, tweets praise for a pizza restaurant in Long Island AND a demand to move the election to a later time. Meanwhile, the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 surpasses 150,000, and the execrable, contemptuous behavior of his lackeys (his son-in-law especially) should be considered treasonous by every possible definition.

So, here’s what I want to know—what are we doing about it? By “we,” I mean my beloved Alternative radio format, label peers and artists included. As I write this, the election is in 94 days—what are we doing to make sure that the format’s target audience votes this time around? What are our artists doing to support Biden? Maybe he’s not their ideal candidate, but who the fuck has the mental capacity for idealism right now?

“Too many protest singers, not enough protest songs” is a line from Edwyn Collins’ “A Girl Like You” that has been stuck on repeat in whatever is left of my brain since an earthquake jolted me out of bed at 4:29am Thursday morning. WHERE ARE THE PROTEST SONGS? Sure, some of you added Run the Jewels and played it for a hot minute, and I guess you still play Rage Against the Machine on the regular.

The #1 bestselling book in the country right now is On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder (which I recommend). We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is just peachy. Besides, we’re not allowed at the beach right now (I haven’t left the house for months). Artist managers: Instead of having your artists record cover songs, challenge them to be a VOICE FOR CHANGE. We have 94 days, people! Be the fucking difference.

I am angry, sad and deeply disheartened by the recent avalanche of charges about musicians’ (and others in our business) alleged inexcusable treatment of young girls. Burger Records, Joey Armstrong, The Killers’ crew (although the band was implicated, they have strongly denied any involvement/awareness), the manager of New Politics—that’s just in the past week. Plus there’s an ever-expanding Google doc making the rounds on Twitter that calls out musicians (by name) for their alleged behavior toward their female fans. Arrow de Wilde from Starcrawler just shared her experience claiming The Growlers locked her in a dressing room with a male stripper. Has #metoo taught men nothing about power dynamics and consent?

I’ve written about my experiences at A&M Records in the ’80s, and I’m hoping that male executives have evolved beyond the shit that was done to me (my then-boss telling me I’d be better at my job if I had bigger breasts, which he demonstrated by cupping mine from behind, is just one example), but it appears that men, musicians or otherwise, are “grooming” young girls, musicians or fans, far more than ever. Showering a girl with attention, texts, gifts and backstage passes with the endgame of sex is a sample of the tactics employed. Only one person in this dynamic is an adult, and they should fucking know better.

I’m outraged by this, but not surprised, if that makes any sense. I was groomed when I was in high school, and it took me until this week to realize it. Thankfully, the moment he crossed the line, I was gone.

WHERE ARE THE ANGRY WOMEN? God bless The Chicks for being at the forefront of the musical #WallofMoms, while Sharon Van Etten, Phoebe Bridgers, HAIM, whose latest is titled Women in Music Pt. III (sarcasm noted), CHVRCHES and my beloved Jehnny Beth are also making music that matters. Jehnny’s single “Heroine” is about the ability to find the heroine within ourselves and is an Alternative radio ANTHEM. The new Bully single “Where to Start” details a toxic relationship.

Women in radio, records, management, musicians, WE HAVE TO PROMOTE, PROTECT AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER. It’s going to take more than a black-and-white selfie to get this done. Join me: Karen.Glauber@hitsmagazine.com.

 


 
 
ALWAYS LOVE

By Karen Glauber


As I sat down to write this in my office (also known as my bed), I realized I haven’t left the house, except to take out the garbage, in the past two weeks. We all deal with our anxiety in our own ways, and I take comfort in music, episodes of The Good Fight, endless loads of laundry and the security of my house. It’s a holiday weekend, whatever that means, and Alternative radio is marking the beginning of summer with specialty programming, whether it’s The Top 500 Bands with the Word “The” in their Name or The Top 500 Songs A-Z by Bands Who Played Our Radio Show Side Stage (and were never heard from again). The options are limitless.

The Tuesday after Memorial Day is a little-known holiday we’ve always called the Day the Playlists Froze, also known as the Day Jeff Deane Makes Bank. Take Monday AND Tuesday off, label friends, and we’ll start over on Wednesday.

The topics on everybody’s lips this past week included James Kurdziel’s segue from WEDG Buffalo to the PD gig at legendary Classic Rock station KQRS in Minneapolis. He’ll stay on as PD and on-air talent at WEDG for the time being, which, in radio parlance, could mean either next week or permanently. In other Cumulus news, Troy Hanson has been promoted to VP/Corporate Programming-Rock Formats. His new role will include oversight of the Classic Rock format in addition to his current portfolio of Active and Alternative stations, as well as VP of Operations for Cumulus Chicago and PD of WKQX. Congrats, Troy!

My radio and label friends were also shocked by the timing of an article called “It’s the End of the World Famous KROQ as We Know It,” which seemed unnecessary, misleading and mostly unkind, although I respect the writer’s work. During this pandemic, most music stations have taken a big hit in the ratings. Did KROQ lose a point-plus in the ratings because management fired the last vestiges of its morning show? There is no argument that the abrupt dismissal of Kevin Ryder and his staff was inelegant, but we also don’t know if the tenor of the morning show had changed following the ascension of Mike Kaplan as the station’s new PD.

Without question, Kevin Weatherly should be regarded as the GOAT of our format. He, along with a handful of others, including Lisa Worden, Gene Sandbloom, Tom Calderone, Leslie Fram, Richard Sands, etc., made the Alternative format a viable business, and breaking new artists was an important part of their programming mission. Whether it’s the programs that Lisa has implemented to increase the visibility of new artists at iHeart or the new-music-intensive playlists of Lazlo, Mase and Jeff Morad, the desire to break new artists is still a priority. However, PPM, MScores and call-out research, not to mention format-killing consultants, have contributed to most Alternative programmers cutting back to as little as 8% current music.

The Classic Rock format has adopted “our” ’90s gold as their own, and Alternative stations have taken a ratings hit because the uppermost-demo listener (34+) would rather hear Nirvana segued into Rush than into Powfu. So KROQ, and most stations, really, have the choice of becoming Classic Alternative, or trying something new. Jeff Regan has always programmed Alt Nation to focus on new music, and he can tell you whether or not a song is a hit after 100 spins. Michael Martin has reinvigorated KITS by playing more currents, and that is what Mike Kaplan did when he started programming Alt 92.3 in NYC, and what he’s doing now at KROQ. In a fucking pandemic, when radio is doing its best to entertain and provide a sense of community for their anxious audience, no programmer should be put on the defensive for trying something different.

If there was ever a time to shake things up at radio, it’s now. Programmers who are still treating their station as their own personal “Spite Store” (thank you, Larry David) have zero leverage right now—and how wonderful is that?...

SONG TO HEAR: Cannons, “Fire for You”

THOUGHT: #VOTE


 
 
Post Toasted Index
posted 10/12/20
posted 5/26/20
posted 5/9/20
posted 4/27/20
posted 3/30/20
posted 3/16/20