After decades in the radio promotion trenches, my fight-or-flight response is highly calibrated to take on nearly all bullshit thrown my way. Although, watching the Kavanaugh hearings was enough to make me pack an overnight bag and check myself into a hotel this past weekend. For self-protection, I had to get away from the media onslaught. Once settled in my lovely room-with-a-view, of course I found myself glued to MSNBC, yelling, “Are you fucking kidding me?” in the general direction of the room-service cloche protecting my uneaten club sandwich. Trigger. Trigger. Trigger. The accusations that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had somehow mistaken the identity of her assailant were particularly appalling. You remember every detail. Those memories, no matter how skilled you are at suppressing them, remain forever. By tomorrow, Kavanaugh will be pushed through as the next member of the Supreme Court, and the bravery of those women who risked everything to come forward will be invalidated.

This shit is exhausting. Still, as my fearless leader Lenny always says, “There are still 10 records in the Top 10,” so we do our best to go forth and kick ass, hoping to break new artists and be the mentor you wish you had when you were “coming up.” By every measure, AJR is the biggest story of 2018 at Modern Rock: A band of three brothers that was mistakenly launched as a Pop band before releasing the song “Sober Up,” featuring Rivers Cuomo, which immediately became a massive hit for Nerf at KTCL. Despite the notion that these guys aren’t “Alternative,” which seems especially adorable now that Marshmello f/Bastille and Dennis Lloyd are currently Top 10 at the format, a few stations were persuaded to add “Sober Up,” and the song reacted wherever it was played. Fast-forward to 3/6, when the song peaked at #1, despite the juggernaut that is Imagine Dragons. The current single, “Burn the House Down,” now sits at #2 (behind Imagine Dragons, of course), making AJR the only new band to have two Top 5 (and Top 10) songs this year. iHeart just bumped “Burn” up to Custom Power, which means this song is an even bigger hit than “Sober Up.” It’s worth mentioning that AJR is signed to an indie, S-Curve Records, as are lovelytheband (RED) and Alice Merton (Mom + Pop), who also had #1 songs this year. lovelytheband’s “Broken” is currently the most-played song of 2018 at Modern Rock—it’s this year’s “Feel It Still”—no burn after 105k format spins.

Speaking of iHeart, by the time you read this, the 2nd Annual Alter Ego show, booked by Lisa Worden, will be sold-out! Lisa said the pre-sale sold out in record time, bolstered by a lineup that includes format favorites twenty one pilots, The Killers, Muse, Weezer, Rise Against, Bishop Briggs and The Revivalists. If you build it, they will come.

On the other hand, many stations are struggling to build their Xmas shows, and those who have put together a compelling lineup are finding that tickets aren’t moving at the pace they expected. It doesn’t help that most of the bands occupying the most on-air real estate are unavailable this year, either out of the country (by design), or, because the shelf life of a Modern Rock hit can extend beyond a calendar year, already played the station’s show the year before. Maybe NOW is the time to reinvent what a radio show looks like in this climate.

How much do you love Mumford and Sons’ “Guiding Light?” I don’t know if Marcus is singing about Jesus, his wife, or Nick Petropoulos, but it’s such a pleasure to hear his voice on the radio right now. The band just announced their 60-city Delta Tour (also the name of the upcoming album), with each member of Nick’s promotion staff slated to play tambourine onstage with the band in their designated markets…. KROQ’s only add this week is L.A. band Badflower, whose “Ghost” is at the top spot on the Active Rock chart. This band is My Chemical Romance for the next generation. Massive congrats to Heather Luke!

Unsigned artist Jagwar Twin had another 5 adds at Modern Rock this week. “Loser” is worth your undivided attention.

Vote, please.