The ground (playlist) is overly saturated, says radio, so we’ll just wait for a break in the clouds, unable to point out that the reservoir is only
half full.


Since When Does an Outpouring of Exceptional Music Constitute an “Intrusion” of "Balance"?
POWER OUT: Next to my birthday, Presidents Day is my favorite holiday since it’s the one day I almost have an excuse to celebrate being President of my desk and its contents (as well as the space underneath!). This year’s planned festivities of spending the day having unfulfilling one-sided conversations with radio were abruptly truncated by the appearance of a swift and steady leak inside my house, thereby necessitating the shift of focus from my laptop to a mop. The unrelenting rain in L.A. is causing mudslides, leaks and other problems associated with the ground being unable to endure any additional water. It’s become my metaphor for working new artists at PoMo. There has been a recent outpouring of truly exceptional music, which is as vital to sustaining the format as this endless downpour of rain is needed to alleviate L.A.’s ongoing drought. In the short term, radio regards each new song as an intrusion on the “balance” they’re desperate to maintain. The format’s total audience is diminishing, thusly rendering 150 spins a woefully insufficient way to gauge an existing song’s status on a playlist. And with another “storm” of songs hovering close behind, there certainly isn’t time to reflect on the potential benefit of the first onslaught of new music—proverbial sandbags of proven hits are being piled on as barriers to the unknown, unfamiliar and unexpected. The ground (playlist) is overly saturated, says radio, so we’ll just wait for a break in the clouds, unable to point out that the reservoir is only half full. While this analogy may be less coherent than others I’ve offered (Sisyphus, et al.), bear in mind I spent an hour this morning navigating through mudslides in my neighborhood. Eventually, someone plowed a path down my street—something I’ve never had to deal with since I moved to L.A. in 1987. And I thought, it could be so much worse than this—like an earthquake. Or a format that still only played “rap rock.”…

I’m hopping on a plane first thing tomorrow to visit Lynn Barstow in his new KROX environs. Since his arrival, Lynn has begun to integrate some “blue state” music into the KROX mix, including Interpol (“Evil” is #3 phones!) and Arcade Fire, balancing “passion” bands intended to strike a chord with Austin’s progressive music scene with the songs the target demo expects to hear. I have less than 24 hours to balance spending time at KROX (and KGSR) with either a quick visit to Waterloo or Las Manitas (By George will have to hold until SXSW)… Lynn segued to KROX from KMYZ Tulsa, where the MD, Corbin Pierce, has been given the official PD nod. We hail him…

Word has it that KRZQ PD Jeremy Smith will be leaving radio to pursue his PhD. in Latin American Immigration Issues, or some similarly noble and fascinating field of study. Just one lone “h” stands between his radio career and the future Dr. Smith. Mat Diablo is the interim PD, with a mere “interim” in the way of future glory… As you know by now, Mark Czarra is the newly minted VP of promotion at Universal Records. In lieu of a drum roll heralding this announcement, his employers offered up a Kaiser roll, heavy on the voltaKurt Steffek has landed at Razor & Tie, home of Kidz Bop. He is now a parent’s best friend…

Without question, radio is still the #1 way people hear new music. Its impact on a project’s success is formidable. Take Interpol and KROQ, for instance. Because of the station’s support of the band (“Evil” is the fourth Interpol song they’ve added), L.A. is their #1 sales market (nearly 50,000 copies of Antics sold in L.A. since late September). Last week, Interpol played two shows at the Grand Olympic Auditorium, to a sold-out crowd of 6,000 each night. Every station forges a meaningful relationship with a group of artists that helps define the “fabric” of that station. Whether it’s Mudvayne or Pinback, a station’s obvious support and enthusiasm for a band can exponentially increase market sales for CDs and tickets. That’s why we push as hard as we push—because we know it matters.

Airplay can’t be the sole means to breaking a new artist—this rarely works. Other means of exposure are critical, especially when programmers are collectively proclaiming “no room at the inn.” The buzz on Island’s The Bravery began with U.K. mania for the band, where they’ve already performed at the NME Awards, on Later With Jools Holland, before countless sold-out crowds, and “Honest Mistake” is #3 on iTunes U.K. The awareness in the U.S. is growing, with the video already #1 Most Played on MTV2. In a landscape with very few genuine ROCK STARS, the Bravery has charisma and star-quality to burn, not to mention a wealth of SMASHES. Did I mention they’re also on the COVER of L’uomo Vogue this month? (That’s Italian Men’s Vogue, for those of you whose sartorial taste doesn’t extend beyond your promotion director’s swag closet). The Bravery will be playing multiple gigs at SXSW, so you’ll have ample opportunity to join the ever-growing radio fan club for this band… How awesome is it that Kings of Leon landed the beyond-coveted opening slot on the U2 tour! Think of the exposure! Talk about cume! This should help kick “The Bucket” to the next level… Sanctuary arranged a free Tegan & Sara download on iTunes from 2/8-2/14. In that brief time, there were 42,954 downloads of “Walking With a Ghost.” This song is magic. Ask Max Tolkoff

SONG TO HEAR: Blonde Redhead’s “Equus” (the last song on the new CD—ask Jeremy Goldstein for a copy)… STATIONS TO WATCH: KPNT, WPBZ, KQXR, WXRK, WEDG, WCYY and WKZQ—all #1 18-34 in the Fall book!