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RIC OCASEK,
1944-2019
Bandleader, producer, A&R exec—an extraordinary career (9/16a)
RIHANNA FOLLOWS PLATT TO SONY/ATV
Loyalty in action (9/16a)
TAYLOR SWIFT JOINS THE VOICE AS MEGA MENTOR
Tay knows how to pick her spots. (9/16a)
BEYONCÉ ROARS IN PRIME TIME
So does Bey. (9/16a)
PTX UNWRAPS XMAS BEST OF, TOUR
Fa-la-la-la-la...cha-ching (9/16a)
MORE RAINMAKERS
The players who made it happen.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE LEAKS?
Even funnier in French.
RIHANNA'S ETA
And about $50m in funding.
THE BUNDLE BUNGLE
When will the rules change?
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POST TOASTED
LIFE IN THE CITY

By Karen Glauber

Every morning before the sun rises, I read my email and look at my Facebook “Memories” from years past. On this day, as with every early September during the past decade, I reread my post promising to take a summer vacation the following year. So, in lieu of reporting on what I did this summer, let’s take a look at the songs that were #1 at Alternative from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Billie Eilish’s “bury a friend” was #1 coming out of Memorial Day, followed by Shaed’s week in the top spot with “Trampoline.” Although records are now moving up and off the chart at lightning speed, Shaed has stayed in the Top 10 all summer (the song has been on the chart for 40 weeks), bolstered by support from other formats. Marni and Marisa deserve infinite credit for their work on this project. On 6/6, The Lumineers’ “Gloria” began its SIX-WEEK tenure at #1; it’s the band’s fifth #1 song at Alternative, as well as their sixth consecutive song to go Top 3. The new album III will be out on Friday, 9/13 (a lucky day!), and the new single “Life in the City” is going for adds on 9/24. On 7/21, The Head and the Heart’s “Missed Connection” made its move to #1, while Billie reclaimed her throne on 7/27, this time with “bad guy,” which held the top spot for three weeks (the song was also #1 at Top 40 by 8/11). Matt Maeson ended the summer at #1 with “Cringe,” and his fourth week atop the chart is expected this week.

So five artists reached the pinnacle of Alternative excellence this summer—two format veterans and three new acts. Two of these newcomers also experienced success at other formats, and the die was cast for Matt Maeson’s steady climb to the top following SiriusXM Alt Nation’s immediate metrics on the song.

Which record will lead us into autumn—it’s a jump ball between Dominic Fike’s “3 Nights,” currently at 227 million global Spotify streams, or Of Monsters and Men’s “Alligator,” which is at a very respectable 9m Spotify streams, and the band just sold out Radio City Music Hall last night!... In this week’s episode of Trading Spaces, former KNDD APD/MD/on-air talent Jon Manley is en route to Chicago, where he’ll be the APD/MD/night talent for Cumulus’ powerhouse WKQX, replacing Walt Flakus, who is now the APD/afternoon host at, you guessed it, KNDD! If anyone wants to trade jobs with me, please let me know. Hawaii would be ideal.

I heard that “Dance Monkey” song on Alt Nation the other day. I know it’s a massive viral hit (over 112m Spotify streams), but for fuck’s sake, “Baby Shark” sounds more alternative than Tones and I. It’s awesome that radio is embracing viral hits—if I was programming a station, I’d play a block of the best and biggest viral hits at least weekly—but why not play songs by artists who are meaningful to your audience, like Tyler, The Creator, Clairo, Post Malone (“Circles” should be an Alt hit), Sub Urban, Blood Orange, etc.? It’s crazy that it’s taken this long for Lana Del Rey to have a hit at the format! I’m not even a fan, but I get how deeply she matters to people.

The new AJR single “Dear Winter” has listeners (and an APD or two) calling the station and crying over how much the song moves them. “Winter” is a boy’s name, for those who haven’t heard it. I always say that the most impactful songs are about “longing,” and this one is no exception (time to listen to “Wichita Lineman” and sob in my lunch).

The BIG EVENT is here: Today, 9/10—in an intricate rollout orchestrated by ringleader Capone and Crush Music—Crush clients Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy are simultaneously releasing new singles (Green Day in conjunction with Warner Records and Fall Out Boy through Island), while announcing a global stadium tour for the three bands to follow in summer 2020. The setup has been perfect, and it will be exciting to see how these songs fare once they’re on the radio. Well done, friends.

 


 
 
EVERYTHING HITS AT ONCE

By Karen Glauber

The biggest news of the week was the announcement of Walt Flakus as the new APD/Afternoons of KNDD Seattle, where he and PD Leslie Scott will undoubtedly rule supreme. Walt, as we all know, was most recently the wind beneath Troy Hanson’s wings at WKQX Chicago—his contribution to that station and to the elevation of Cumulus as a musical force in the Rock and Alt arenas has been formidable. Walt’s move to the PNW is personally motivated—it’s perfect that Leslie was waiting to hire a new APD until the ideal candidate became apparent to her. We look forward to visiting Walt in his new digs in August. In the meantime, Troy is being bombarded with candidates eager to fill the vacancy. Who wouldn’t want to be the APD/MD at this Market #3 powerhouse! Troy has an incredible track record for hiring the best and the brightest, and whomever he brings in to fill Walt’s position will undoubtedly be a star.

The Lumineers relinquished their six-week hold on #1 to their friends The Head and the Heart, whose “Missed Connection” marks the Warner Records band’s second Alt chart-topper. Rob Goldklang has competition this week, with juggernaut Billie Eilish likely to surge to #1 with “bad guy.” One thing that’s become abundantly clear this year is that unless a song has Pop or Hot AC support, like Shaed, Panic! At the Disco and Billie Eilish, radio stations are quick to bail on songs once they reach the Top 5.

“They topped the chart; why shouldn’t we move on?”—I hear that daily from my radio friends. Chart success is part of my weekly “report card,” so of course it’s important, but my #1 priority is to have the song I’m working become part of a station’s “library,” with a shelf life far beyond the first 500 spins. For a station to stop playing a song that has legitimately earned Power rotation—and we’re talking about spins going from Power to OFF THE RADIO—is short-sighted and mitigates the very real possibility that said song could continue to thrive on the station beyond its run to the top. There has to be a middle ground between the “format killer’s” predilection for keeping a song in rotation beyond its potency, thereby eliminating the possibility that a band could have a second hit, and the current programming attitude of up-and-off after 300 spins.

“Gloria” is the #2 Current in Mediabase’s overall call-out, hence this week’s move to iHeart’s Custom Power. The band’s song “Angela,” from two years ago, was #11 overall in call-out for Currents and Recurrents. Again, the goal is to have any band I work with become a “core” band for the format. Ted referred to it as the “nervous energy” of the chart.

We all know that a good chunk of summer airplay, especially for new artists, is what we might call “transactional,” based on the need for bands to complete summer-show lineups. As soon as the headliner says, “Thank you, goodnight,” the PD’s need to book the next one looms large. As many of you found out this summer, there weren’t many available “headliners” to satisfy the demands from radio. This is not the fault of the labels or the bands—the station expects loyalty from the label and band, but where is the reciprocity?

What band has consistently SHOWN UP for Alt radio more than Cold War Kids? (above)? They, along with Bastille and Bishop Briggs, and, oh yeah, my friends in Judah and the Lion, have new songs at the format that should be AUTOMATICS. Did Shaed play your summer show? Yep, you’re going to add the new single. You can hide behind your compliance horseshit, but the truth of the matter is that these artists’ new singles should be treated like the private-school application from a younger sibling whose older sibling is already a student at the school: on the top of the acceptance pile. CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE ARTISTS YOU CHOOSE TO SUPPORT, FOR THEY ARE YOUR FUTURE.

Question to ponder: Which has the bigger impact, an “F3 station” or the sound of one hand clapping?... SONG TO HEAR: Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes’ “Crowbar” (added this week at KPNT!)


 
 
TWO POINTS FOR HONESTY

By Karen Glauber

Some of us haven’t spoken since The Gathering in Louisville, which remains the most impactful way to catch up with radio friends and get a snapshot of some of the best new bands releasing music this year. Without question, the hotel performance of Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes made the most lasting impression. When was the last time an artist left a mark—literally, a footprint on the ceiling of the ballroom—like he did? After his star turn in Kentucky, Frank and the band flew to Europe to open the Foo Fighters tour, with Dave Grohl joining Nerf among Frank’s famous fans.  I can’t fathom a scenario where “Crowbar” isn’t a huge hit for Alternative radio, so don’t disappoint me, friends.

There was an element to The Gathering that I described to Lynn Barstow and Andrew Harms as “fiddling while Rome burns.” The radio-and-record community was feeling its full “swagger,” but here’s what you need to know: If Modern Rock radio doesn’t strive to regain its status as a meaningful destination for new music, we’ll all be updating our résumés within the next two years. Despite what a certain consultant (aka “the format killer”) prescribes, you’re not going to win by playing songs until they’re wallpaper. Your ’90s library, which comprises 70% of your programming, has been co-opted by the latest iteration of the Classic Rock format, which already has the 40+ audience in its grip (and is gaining on the younger demo).

The Alternative stations that are focusing on the 18-34 demo are thriving far better than the stations that are still playing lovelytheband’s “broken” as a current. To ignore artists like Panic, Billie, AJR, Dominic Fike, etc., is to do so at your own peril. Only ONE Alternative album was in last week’s Top 200: Vampire Weekend’s latest. This band should be revered! Not only is Father of the Bride their best work, but their cultural impact in the rock world gives the Alternative format validity.

The advent of streaming has been very profitable to labels, and there’s seemingly endless money to be spent on radio promotion. The perception at record companies is that the Alternative format is a “loss leader”—our label friends are continuing to spend like drunken sailors on shore leave because the format will, on occasion, still recognize the “magic” of a song and create a platform from which to launch it to other formats. Shaed’s “Trampoline” is still #2 at Alternative BECAUSE there are 7k combined spins from Top 40 and Hot AC to prop up call-out at our format. The same holds true for Billie Eilish, who is the single most important artist currently making music and yet was ignored by Alternative programmers, with a handful of exceptions.

If the perception by our bosses is that the Alternative format doesn’t matter, how do we turn that around? I’ve spent my career focused on breaking new artists, using radio as the catalyst to achieve that goal. Where is your passion? What are YOU doing as an INFLUENCER? I refuse to accept that you’re all too sated by the status quo to allow the format we’ve cared about for so long to collapse around us. Was it always your dream to program FM sports? If so, that could be the next chapter in your career.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got bands to break: Badflower, Cigarettes After Sex, Fontaines D.C., Sharon Van Etten, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, a new Flora Cash, AJR, etc. Not to mention that two of my favorite bands, Spoon and Cold War Kids, are out with career-defining songs. Think about the incredible artists you saw in Louisville, including Cherry Glazerr, The Regrettes and Upsahl— build their careers now for YOUR future. Thank you for your time.


 
 
THIS LIFE

By Karen Glauber

At every moment of the day, someone else’s lyrics are running through my head. More often than not, as I recently told Todd Rundgren, they’re his words (“Same here” was his not-unexpected response).

I was thrilled to relinquish the role of my life’s music supervisor this past weekend to Chris Muckley, whose SiriusXM/Pandora “Indie 500” countdown on the XMU channel was the most compelling radio I’ve heard in years. The Top 500 was based on more than a decade of XMU airplay and “thumbs up” ratings from Pandora listeners (Pandora is now under the SiriusXM umbrella). I recognized about 90% of the songs on the countdown within the first 30 seconds and could easily warble along to the Top 100. Every time a song that I worked came on the radio, I excitedly told my son, “Mommy worked this song!” Julian, who thinks about Minecraft most of the time, ignored me (although he does recognize Britt Daniel’s voice by now). So many Spoon songs on this countdown—I’ve worked at least 15 Spoon songs since “I Turn My Camera On” was released in 2005.

Because I know you’re wondering, here is the Top 10 from the Indie 500 countdown: #10 Vampire Weekend “A Punk,” #9 Arctic Monkeys “Do I Wanna Know?” #8 Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Maps,” #7 LCD Soundsystem “All My Friends,” #6 The Strokes “Last Night,” #5 Pixies “Where Is My Mind,” #4 Franz Ferdinand “Take Me Out,” #3 The Shins “New Slang,” #2 Modest Mouse “Float On,” and #1 Arcade Fire “Wake Up.” You can listen to the countdown on the SiriusXM app, which I still haven’t figured out how to use.

This week’s race for #1 at Modern Rock will likely go to Shaed’s “Trampoline” by a photo finish (pun intended) over Catfish and the Bottlemen’s “Longshot.” Congrats to the Caroline team, especially Marisa DiFrisco, for a job well done! Capitol’s Gary Gorman repeatedly proves that he’s the best at what he does.

Ted is on his way to Philadelphia for John AllersWRRF 12th Birthday Celebration. Instead of ponies and cupcakes, WRFF has assembled its biggest lineup to date, with The Lumineers, Death Cab for Cutie, Grouplove, Phantogram, The Revivalists, and more (including current U.K. chart-topper Lewis Capaldi). Ticket prices ranged from $39.50 to $100, and the show will be a sell-out at 24,000 tickets by tomorrow. If you build it, they will come. It helps that The Lumineers, moments away from another #1 Alt song with “Gloria,” haven’t played the market in two years, not to mention an incredibly strong lineup. Tiered ticketing for radio shows is key. WKQX’s upcoming Picniq, which also has The Lumineers headlining, is at more than 20k tickets sold. Keep in mind that both shows are coexisting with huge festivals coming to their markets: Firefly in Philly and Lollapalooza in Chicago. Give your audience what they want.

Speaking of Phantogram, Republic’s Amanda Dobbins and Drew Hauser dropped their brand-new single, “Into Happiness,” this morning! It’s soooo good!

Why are there no direct flights from LAX to Louisville? On June 12, I’ll be on a 6am flight (connecting in Dallas) to join you at The Gathering, which has replaced SXSW as the must-attend radio powwow for programmers. As the alcohol flows, so does the conversation, although I’m not sure what anyone remembers at the confab’s conclusion. I’m most excited to see these two bands: Cherry Glazerr and Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. The latter's new single, “Crowbar,” is a one-listen smash. You will love them both. Last Wednesday, Andrew Harms, Chris Muckley, Spotify’s Allison Hagendorf and legend Matt Pinfield stood front-and-center with me at the sold-out Fonda Theatre to watch Ireland’s Fontaines D.C. open for recent Ivor Novello winners/Partisan Records labelmates Idles. Some of you might have seen Fontaines D.C. perform “Boys in the Better Land” on The Tonight Show, or, like Jeff Morad, caught them at SXSW and immediately added the song at WEQX. Remember seeing Arctic Monkeys on their first tour? The energy is comparable, and singer Grian Chatten is also a star, a la Alex Turner. They’ll be back in September for a headline tour.

SONGS IN MY HEAD: The Echo in the Canyon soundtrack from the Andy Slater-directed documentary of the same name. The Mamas & the Papas’ “Go Where You Wanna Go,” covered by Jakob Dylan f/Jade Castrinos, is one of the many highlights.

 


 
 
Post Toasted Index
posted 9/10/19
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posted 3/25/19
posted 3/8/19
posted 1/11/19