A question mark at #1. (3/20a)
Looks like XXXtentacion translates to the Brits. (3/19a)
Two rumors. Are they related? (3/19a)
The biggest acts in the biz dominate without much help from album sales. (3/19a)
How that works.
Why are several prime consumer demos seemingly unaware of streaming?
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By Karen Glauber

No, I’m not. Well, not really. It’s the mantra I adopted at the beginning of the year when yet another conversation with a programmer commenced with, “Will [insert band name here] play my summer show?” A reasonable request if the station was already supporting the band, but not quite as welcome if said programmer had heretofore asserted that airplay would happen “over their dead body.”

I get it—there aren’t dozens of radio-show headliners falling from the skies this year. Or even two or three, if my sleuthing is correct. As months tick by, the quest for available bands that can sell tickets and aren’t bound by the radius clauses imposed by summer festivals is a panic-ridden proposition. There’s little comfort in knowing that your best-ever Christmas show is ahead of you, based on your label friends’ promises of what will be available in Q4.

Driven by an unrelenting desire to make YOUR life easier (hence the self-ascribed unicorn designation), I am in your corner, always. The role of “the messenger” isn’t a day at the beach either—we’re at the mercy of the worldwide schedules of the artists whose music we promote. Whatever influence we have is used to advocate on radio’s behalf. Don’t kill the messenger, please…

Correct me if I’m mistaken, but I am willing to assert that AJR’s #1 this week with “Sober Up,” following Alice Merton’s two-week reign at #1 with “No Roots” is the FIRST TIME two independent-label releases have had back-to-back #1s at Modern Rock! AJR’s success, which Ted writes about this week in his column, happened because YOUR AUDIENCE mandated the song’s success. They didn’t care about AJR’s previous at-bats at Pop radio. They weren’t overthinking the band’s “place” at Modern Rock (like you were). They just liked “Sober Up” and decided that it fit on their favorite radio station (yours). As someone who makes infinitely more money than I do once said in a playback session I attended, “Sometimes the best song is just the best song.”

We are infinitely grateful to our radio partners who helped AJR reach #1 this week—last Saturday was one of the most stressful (unnecessarily so) days of Ted’s career or my own—and we couldn’t have done it without you. Ted and I were raised in the major-label system to believe that “#2, #6, #11 = failure,” meaning that peaking at any of those chart positions is unacceptable. Imagine Dragons can sit at #1 for the rest of the year, for all I care, but the narrative is now in stone: For the past three weeks, independent label artists were #1 at Modern Rock…

The last time I sat in the KROQ music meeting, I played them Veruca Salt’s “Seether” on Minty Fresh Records, which they added that day. Yeah, it’s been a minute. This past Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to wrangle an invite to participate in the process. There is no better call on Tuesday afternoon than the KROQ call with an add. I was in the room when Kevin Weatherly called Amanda Dobbins to let her know they were adding Greta Van Fleet’s “Safari Song” (smash!), and when he called Gary Gorman with the news of an add on Cold War Kids’ “Can We Hang On?” (my favorite from their new record).

The highlight, however, was Kevin calling my cellphone (I was in the room, remember?) to inform me that KROQ was adding Cigarettes After Sex’s “Apocalypse,” which had scored more Top 5 votes in the music meeting than any other song. The other attendees in the room weren’t necessarily aware that the metrics for “Apocalypse” from Sirius Alt Nation and XMU airplay were huge, or that the band had already sold out two late-April shows in L.A. (the Ace Theater and the Fonda). Spotify streams of the song already exceeding 17.5 million without much terrestrial airplay wasn’t a factor, either. From mid-20s to mid-50s, everybody in the room agreed that “Apocalypse” was the best song of the week. This is Partisan Records’ first add at KROQ, and I hope there will be many “firsts” ahead for the label and the band!...

Will you be at SXSW? Tell me which band playing in Austin will change my life: Karen.Glauber@hitsmagazine.com


By Karen Glauber

One year ago, two nights before the Grammy Awards, Dualtone’s Lori Kampa and I were prepping for KROQ’s Grammy Museum event with The Lumineers. I was wearing a Dries Van Noten dress (my favorite designer) and the Prada shoes that I “won” from the band’s manager after betting him that “Ophelia” would reach #1 at Modern Rock. There have been two guiding principles in my life: (1) Don’t get mad, get even; and (2) The only bet worth making is the one you know you’ll win. After the KROQ set, we ran through the rain to the Convention Center for the MusiCares gala honoring Tom Petty, where The Lumineers played his song “Walls,” which the honoree told the band was one of his favorite performances of the night. This year, I hope that Arcade Fire and Chris Cornell both win the Grammy in their respective categories—I’ll be watching online in my Target loungewear, wearing a white rose to support the #timesup and #metoo movements…

It was lovely to see many of my iHeart friends at last week’s ALTer Ego show. AJR opened the evening with two songs, their soon-to-be-#1 smash “Sober Up” and “Weak.” Ted Volk and I were intent on having the band meet Nerf, since it was his support at KTCL that set the campaign in motion. Running backstage, up ramps, through crowds, up and down elevators and crashing into people in the Forum Club (sorry, Dennis Blair), I felt like I was reenacting the car chase in The French Connection, minus Gene Hackman and a Pontiac. During Spoon’s incredible set—their “Vegas 25,” as they called it, singer Britt Daniel proved for the millionth time why he’s the standard by which all other singers should be compared. Did you hear him yell “KA-REN” over and over during “Rent I Pay”? Yep, that was for me. The other highlight of the evening was seeing Lisa Worden reign supreme in her new iHeart role. She has earned her executive position and all the decision-making authority that comes with it, especially now that she’s also PD of 98.7

Although there hasn’t been an official announcement yet, it’s no secret that Mike Kaplan will be heading to NYC in May for the PD gig at Entercom’s ALT 92.3, where he’ll be an hour train ride away from his beloved Phillies. Without question, Mike is perfectly suited for this gig… My favorite song of 2018 is Jack White’s “Connected by Love.” Brady continues to stun me with stories of programmers who are overthinking the record. “Are you fucking kidding me?” has been my hair-trigger response to nearly EVERYTHING in the past year—and is certainly an appropriate reaction to anyone who might WRONGLY think that one of the most ICONIC singers in the format isn’t worthy of airplay. BESIDES, the song is in 6/8, which means you can waltz to it. “Connected by Love” is the first radio single from Jack’s third solo album, Boarding House Reach, slated for release on 3/23 on Third Man/Columbia

The buzz is strong on new music from James Bay, who personally greeted the radio elite on hand for a playback of his upcoming record in L.A. and NYC. Republic’s Amanda Dobbins and Drew Hauser hosted these well-attended gatherings. This is just one of many marquee releases the label will have this year, including new signing Lord Huron (swoon), Two Feet and watt, among others…

I heard that Vince Richards is replacing Jim Fox in Sacramento, overseeing KRXQ and KKDO. As Ted always says, “Once a name, always a threat.” Hopefully, Andy Hawk will still have the biggest voice in the music selection for KKDO, which has thrived since he was brought back into the programming mix…

Alice Merton’s “No Roots” is on course to becoming the highest-charting song by a woman since Bishop Briggs’ “River.” Nick Petropoulos played me the new CHVRCHES single, and I’m thrilled that it will be months, rather than years, between female-voiced Top 5 songs!...

SONG TO HEAR: Mt. Joy’s “Silver Lining.” Same pick as last time—I’m obsessed!


Just when I’d resigned myself to writing yet another column admonishing the Modern Rock format for its lack of commitment to new artists, Lenny appeared in my office with news of Lisa Worden’s new gig. “I have the biggest scoop in the world,” was his intro, which caught my attention even while I was searching online for a presale code to the upcoming Ian Anderson Presents: JETHRO TULL 50th Anniversary Tour. He told me that Lisa, my dear friend, was leaving KROQ to be the National Alternative Brand Manager for iHeart and VP of Programming for Alt 98.7 Los Angeles! This is a newly created position for the company, which gives Lisa oversight of 25 iHeart Alternative stations.

To say this is a game-changer for the format AND for women in the music business is a vast understatement.

Let’s acknowledge Lisa’s 22-year tenure at KROQ, where her loyalty to the station and to Kevin Weatherly was irrefutable. She, Kevin and now-departed APD Gene Sandbloom were radio’s strongest team, and the toughest to impress. The Tuesday afternoon call with the three of them on a speakerphone, informing you of your add at KROQ, was the single best call in the business. The power of KROQ is undeniable, and Lisa played a critical role in keeping the station’s brand at the forefront of the industry: She rightfully insisted that KROQ always deserved the seat at the head of the table and worked tirelessly on the station’s behalf—another vast understatement.

Tom Poleman and his fellow executives have often spoken about the impact of iHeart Alternative on music, culture and lifestyle, yet, in my opinion, a large chunk of those stations have been responsible (irresponsible?) for thwarting the success of artists who would’ve (should’ve) had #1 songs at Modern Rock. When Lenny asks me why a song didn’t go Top 10/Top 5/#1 at the format, the answer is always the same: There were 8-10 iHeart guys who wouldn’t play it. This is a format without a consensus—there is never that point where a song is a big enough hit to warrant format-wide support. iHeart’s On the Verge platform ensures support on a national level, and their success rate of picking hits is unparalleled. It’s just one of the many national platforms the radio group has in its arsenal, plus an incredible roster of exceptionally talented programming superstars like John Allers, Mike Kaplan, Nerf, Aly Young and Dustin Matthews, among others. I am so excited to see what Lisa will do in her new role, although not nearly as excited as she is! Did I happen to mention what a game-changer this is for the format?

This morning, Entercom proclaimed, “I’m back, bitch,” with the launch of TWO major market Modern Rock stations! ALT 92.3, New York’s New Alternative, flipped from AMP at 10:00 AM EST commencing with a playlist of 10,000 songs commercial-free. An hour later, ALT 103.7, DFW’s New Alternative launched in Dallas, also playing 10,000 songs commercial-free. I’ve heard Alice Merton, AJR, Bishop Briggs and The Lumineers’ “Angela,” among the currents being played. All hail Entercom’s David Field for his belief in the Modern Rock format! Will Boston be next? The other question that needs answering is who will be the PDs for NYC and Dallas? Also, who will replace Lisa at KROQ? Matt Smith occupied the chair when Lisa left to program WHFS for two years, but that was many years ago. Who is capable of stepping into the most coveted MD/APD gig in radio? Who among us hasn’t fantasized about having that job?

DO YOU APPRECIATE HOW MUCH THE LANDSCAPE HAS CHANGED THIS WEEK? Seriously, last week we were being told by our bosses that our format doesn’t matter—our “hits” don’t stream like hip-hop and pop, our bands don’t cross over (Portugal. The Man and Imagine Dragons were ALWAYS pop bands, in their revisionist view), we are the bastard stepchildren of radio, etc. It’s a new ballgame today: Two of the biggest radio groups have made a big investment in the format’s future, while Cumulus has been expanding its Alternative footprint for the past few years. ALSO, SiriusXM has named Chris Muckley PD of XMU, which is my absolute favorite radio station. So much more will be revealed in the days ahead…


If it’s a blustery Monday in October, and Arcade Fire is playing at the United Center in Chicago, then I must be there.

It’s been 13 years and a few weeks since my first Arcade Fire show at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. The occasion for the show was CMJ, but I had stopped going to the conference a few years prior after decades of perfect attendance. I was invited to see them by Mac and Laura from Merge Records because I had worked the Superchunk single “Hyper Enough” to Modern Rock radio, with some commercial success.

Since that night in 2004, Arcade Fire has been my favorite band. Mac said I could work the record at radio, and I picked “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” as the first single. I’m pretty sure I didn’t charge him (don’t tell my bosses), since indie bands weren’t having much success at the format during that time—Linkin Park, Green Day, our then-management clients Hoobastank, Three Days Grace, U2 and Incubus were the bands that dominated the airwaves. Nevertheless, we persisted (as the saying goes), and I will always credit Live105 PD Sean Demery, along with Aaron Axelsen, plus staffers Miles Anzaldo and Derek Madden, for loving this band enough to make “Rebellion (Lies)” the station’s most-played song of that year.

The signature song from Funeral, “Wake Up,” had little success as a radio single in real time. Rather, it became an “anthem” after its use in the trailer for Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are in 2009. The band’s biggest radio hits have been “Ready to Start” from The Suburbs (2011 Grammy winner for Album of the Year) and “Everything Now,” the title song from the band’s Columbia Records debut. I’ve worked at least 15 of their singles to radio and it’s always disheartening (heartbreaking, really) that Arcade Fire isn’t considered an “automatic” at the format. Radio matters. Failure to recognize bands that matter makes radio less vital. The new single “Creature Comfort” should get its due at radio because it’s fucking incredible, and, as WXRT MD John Farneda proclaimed to me at the show, one of the standout songs of the night. I joke with Brady Bedard that the radio guys are waiting for an engraved invitation before they play a record. Let me know to whom that invitation should be addressed, and I’ll send it out immediately.

After Ted or I have a particularly frustrating conversation with a PD, we’ll walk into the other’s office and express how we should find a station to program. Boston would be an opportune market to make an impression, while I’ve always wanted to run a Modern Rock station in the Chapel Hill/Durham area. Programming my non-existent station is comparable to my friends who play in fantasy football leagues, except I use the Mediabase chart to determine my stats. Unlike sports fans, I can “game” the system a bit by choosing the right songs to work/bet on.

 if you’re absolutely, on-the-money, unequivocally RIGHT at least three times
per year, your career will prosper.

Like I always tell you, if you’re absolutely, on-the-money, unequivocally RIGHT at least three times per year, your career will prosper. For the last few months, I’ve declared Alice Merton’s “No Roots” and AJR’s “Sober Up” to be the two singles by new artists that are smashes. The metrics are there: Shazam, streams and sales. “No Roots” is nearing Top 10 and “Sober Up” is touching Top 20, so yep, I’m right. I also told you that The Lumineers’ “Angela” was a fall song, and, sure enough, as temperatures dropped, call-out heated up. As of today, “Angela” is the #1 Greatest Gainer for the week, with a dozen bumps to Power. Ignore at your own peril…. Reading the tea leaves, I believe that Howard P. has a huge hit on his hands with Odesza’s “Line of Sight.” The group is currently playing multiple sold-out arena shows in every market. Ask yourself this: Would you rather have points on this record or the “radio” band that, even after months of airplay, can’t sell 300 tickets in your market?

The new Bishop Briggs single, “Dream,” which was co-written by one of my best friends (Dan Wilson), showcases her otherworldly talent and will be an even bigger hit than “River.”  Don’t doubt me.

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