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And then Nash Kato drunk-dialed my cell phone at 3:30 a.m., before the alarm went off at 6:30 a.m.
IVANA'S JACKHAMMER SUITE
With the Format Facing Changes, Our PoMo Queen Gets Philosophical on Your Ass
There’s a city construction crew jackhammering Ventura Blvd. directly below my office window, and rather than allowing it to distract me, I’ve decided to pretend that Erika is playing a mix CD of her favorite Einstürzende Neubauten and Throbbing Gristle tunes, while Lenac blasts Rammstein from his office down the hall. Far be it for me to suppress my department’s (imagined) musical expression!

There was a question posed on a magazine cover a few weeks ago: “Have Sales Finally Hit Bottom?” I don’t think anyone really knows the answer, but this week’s chart, with no CD selling more than 100k, is mighty sobering. So what do we do? Panic? Duck and cover? Go sell wine or real estate? Or, as a wise man said, “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” There are no guarantees that any of us will be where we are right now in a year (except for Oedipus and Mary Shuminas, of course).

I’ll admit I was a little unnerved by Bob Waugh’s departure from WHFS after 13 years, as I considered our relationship among the few immutable ones in my own career. But after speaking to him and hearing how excited he is by the array of opportunities presenting themselves, it’s assured that he’ll be great. So maybe the best course of action we can take is to extend our focus beyond the realm of daily responsibilities and stress, to allow for future possibilities.

Anyone paying the least bit attention knows that a change is gonna come. If you want an example, look at how the PoMo format has shifted in the past month. We’re all at an unprecedented level of uncertainty (anxiety) with regards to our careers, which is as good a reason as any to try new things, and take an active role as the new world order turns. Be a fan, a cheerleader and an instigator. It doesn’t mean we won’t wind up in a HR office filling out Cobra insurance forms, but at least we’ll know we gave it our best shot.

 While the fall ratings books have been mostly unkind to those toiling in PoMo radio, there have been a few exceptions, most notably WPBZ, where PD John O’Connell should be hailed for his 2.7-3.9 12+ increase and #2 18-34, leaping 5.5-9.2! The secret to the station is obviously Jonathan Lev, whose mere presence in the market for the Buzz Bake Sale was the tipping point. Congrats to 99X, KRBZ, KPNT and WRZX, among others, on their upward books. As the aforementioned wise man once said, “Up is good.”

Did our dear friend Lynn McDonnell time the add date for The Living End’s “Who’s Gonna Save Us” to coincide with her birthday (few can resist the request for a “birthday add,” especially from Lynn)? Possibly, although response to the song has been so universally enthusiastic that she and her Reprise team would’ve been #1 Most Added, milestone birthday or not. Too bad she was just one shy of an add for every birth year, with the final total of 24 PoMo stations, including KROQ, WXTM, KPNT, WBRU, WZNE, WFNX and lots more. The Living End will be touring with The Vines and Jet, calling it “Oz Fest,” of course. What an incredible line-up!

 Some parents-to-be might prepare for the impending arrival by decorating the nursery or attending pre-natal yoga classes. Epic’s Jacqueline Saturn is getting ready for her early February due date by making sure Phantom Planet’s “Big Brat” is all over PoMo radio! What an amazing week they had: KROQ, Q101, WHFS, Live105, CIMX, KPNT, WZTA, KRZQ and WJSE! MTV2 added the AV Club-directed video this week. It’s time to STAND BACK and watch this record explode!

This week we were ecstatic to see WXTM add The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” because: a) It’s a genius song by a genius band; b) Ron, Bonnie and Kris deserve a shot now that the song is Top 20; c) Permission to Land has sold nearly 200k—there are no excuses not to play this record; d) How can this band be denied a chance to go into the market and shout, “Hello, Cleveland!” in front of a huge audience? I may have to plan a road trip around the band’s first Cleveland gig—now there’s a hall-of-fame-worthy appearance!

 Next week, Howie and Christine at Island are going for Hoobastank’s “The Reason” at PoMo (with WXRK, WSUN, WARQ and WZTA joining those who couldn’t wait). The song is already Top 5 phones and #2 call-out at KWOD, and the CD is Top 20 sales in Sacramento! Airplay on the track at KUCD and KPOI in Honolulu resulted in the CD ranking #12 in the market! This is lightning in a bottle… Although I missed Friday’s IMA Robot gig in L.A. due to a previous commitment, those in attendance said it was insane, with more than 800 kids dressed just like the band, singing along with every word. Nothing will keep me from this Friday’s Virgin extravaganza with The Thrills, whose “One Horse Town” is quickly finding passionate fans at PoMo. Steve Leeds will be making the scene, while Jenni Sperandeo may be tied up with her first feature film, Finding Neo (an homage to Dave Beasing). Halloran has been cast in the Willem Dafoe part, while I have a call-back for the Albert Brooks role.

As we predicted, it was a spectacular launch week for Lo-Pro’s “Sunday,” as Gary Spivack added WXDX, WJRR, KROX, KTZO, WXEG, WDYL, KROX and more to the rapidly expanding list of believers. This is a perfect record for those who rock, and those who would like to, but need a little help. I have no idea what that means, since I stayed up past my bedtime to watch the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Kimmel. And then Nash Kato drunk-dialed my cell phone at 3:30 a.m., before the alarm went off at 6:30 a.m.

So I will segue into the Strokes record, “Reptilia,” which had a spectacular week at PoMo, including WOCL, WHFS, WPBZ, WBRU, KPNT, KEDJ, KCPX and KFRR! In my new world order, The Strokes reign supreme!

Another big week for Courtney Love’s “Mono,” including Live105, WPLA, KQXR and WNFZ. While you were overthinking this record, the Virgin gang already have the song Top 25 PoMo. Where’s the risk? How many faceless stiffs did you play last year? Everybody in your audience knows who she is—let them hear the song and decide for themselves. By the way, the response will be infinitely better than you anticipated.

The biggest reaction record you aren’t playing is “Mad World” by Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules. Adds this week from Live105 (where they are already spinning it 31x/week), WFNX, CD101, KENZ and WOXY prove that it isn’t just a “West Coast hype record.” Call if you need a copy. Play or perish.

SONG TO HEAR: Dizzee Rascal’s “Fix Up, Look Sharp” (Billy Squier is PoMo!).

PEOPLE TO WATCH: Matt Smith, Bill Carroll, John Cook, Garret Michaels, Steve Blatter, Sherri Trahan, Jim McGuinn, Alan Galbraith, Chris Woltman, Laura Curtin and Harms.

 

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What drugs will help us get there?
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