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THE YEAR IN ALTERNATIVE: YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN

2018 was proclaimed the Year of the Woman, which was heralded by the inclusion and elevation of a significant number of women to programming positions in Alternative radio. Lisa Worden continued her reign as iHeart’s Alternative Rock Brand Manager/VP of Programming for ALT 98.7 in Los Angeles, while Miles Anzaldo made the move from KQGO Minneapolis to the MD chair at KROQ. His departure enabled Christy Taylor to segue from her radio tenure in the Southwest into the PD gig at KQGO, joining WLUM Milwaukee’s PD Michelle Rutkowski as another programming force of nature in the Midwest. As KFOG San Francisco joined the Alt panel, under the stewardship of PD Jacent Jackson and VP Doug Harvill—both from CBS San Francisco—Alicia Tyler continued to shine as station MD. Further south, in San Diego, longtime market star Hilary Doneux was appointed MD at 91X. In Seattle, Leslie Scott, PD at KNDD, reached ratings gold this summer, while station cume continues to rise (take that, you Alt radio naysayers!) Nancy Stevens remains an Alternative radio icon as PD of KDKB Phoenix, with ratings to match. Last year’s Entercom sign-on in Dallas, KVIL, has Lindsey Martin at the MD helm, while other new Entercom sign-on, WQMP Orlando, gave Melissa Sorrentino the MD nod. Jeriney, the beloved MD at KRBZ, is our go-to person for all the coolest records, along with Rachael Gordon at WWCD.

We hail the dynamic programming duo of Aly Young and Wendy Rollins at WRDA Atlanta, and welcome our friend Laura Duncan into the Alt realm as PD of WAJI-F2 Ft. Wayne. KTCL Denver 
has been a market force 
for years, in no small part due to the talent of MD Bailey, with Shelby Taylor-Thorn holding down the MD fort at KMAX Ft. Collins (home of the original KTCL, you may recall). WXDX Pittsburgh MD Abby Krizner has been the spokesperson for PD and man-behind-the-curtain John Moschitta for many years, while WLKK Buffalo MD Emily Wild works countless, thankless hours covering for PD Nik Rivers, while he lives the life we wish we had. We kid, we kid.

Across town, Bentley is the MD at WEDG, and in Rochester, radio veteran Violet Woods makes the rest of us look like slackers with our (only) 60-hour weeks. WRFF Philadelphia MD Amber Miller, the “Cher” to John Allers’ “Sonny,” is a source of inspiration for all. Without question, WSUN Tampa APD Jenna Kesneck, WRMR Greenville PD Laura Lee and WJMZ-F2 APD Latina Karpinsky are also programming stars on the rise.

It’s no small coincidence that the increase in the number of women making programming decisions led to a record number of women artists having their songs played on Alternative radio. On Feb. 25, 2018, Alice Merton’s “No Roots” was the first indie-label (Mom+Pop) female to have a #1 song at the format. Other women in the indie world who made an impact this year included The Interrupters on Hellcat/Epitaph, whose “She’s Kerosene” was a Top 5 smash, CHVRCHES and Jade Bird on Glassnote, superorganism, Sofi Tukker, St. Vincent, Mitski and Meg Myers. Flora Cash, a husband/wife duo on Bee & El/RCA, ended the year with “You’re Somebody Else” at #1 at Triple A and #5 at Alternative. By the time January rolls around, Billie Eilish, one of the biggest breakthrough artists of the year, should be sitting (in her crown) at Top 5. Her ascent to the top started with her young female fans, a massive presence on Spotify, and the early support of SiriusXM. Please never forget this: It’s the girls who decide which records matter.

King Princess is another exciting artist whose star is on the rise. Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee at Columbia will have new music from her early next year. Florence Welch retained her status as one of the truly great live performers in music, while Florence & The Machine’s “Hunger” and “Patricia” (her ode to Patti Smith) were two of the year’s best singles. Bishop Briggs had three charted singles this year, and K. Flay also had multiple chart appearances, both as a solo artist and as a guest vocalist for Mike Shinoda and Robert DeLong. St. Vincent should win the Best Alternative Album Grammy for her latest release—she is this generation’s Patti Smith. Also, Elle King returned with her sophomore release, while newcomers Amy Shark, Donna Missal and Shaed give us hope for the format’s next wave of female voices.

As my fearless leader Lenny Beer says, “There are still 10 records in the Top 10,” regardless of the perceived relevance of the Alternative format. In 2018, two of the format’s biggest success stories came from new indie-label artists: lovelytheband’s “Broken,” from RED, was the #1 song of the year, and has crossed to other formats. S-Curve’s AJR had TWO massive hits this year: “Sober Up,” which peaked at #1, and “Burn the House Down,” which peaked at #2, making them the only new band to have two Top 5 songs this year. We’re looking forward to new music from Judah & the Lion, Vampire Weekend, Sharon Van Etten and AJR in 2019, and the goal remains the same: Breaking new artists, no matter what.

GRAMMY CHEW: A BIG MIDDLE FINGER TO US ALL, FROM GRAMMY
It doesn't make sense. (11/25a)
TOP 100 WEEKLY MARKETSHARE:
THE TIGHTENING
Cue Archie Bell & the Drells. (11/24a)
STATE OF PLAY
IN THE U.K.
The first entry from our 2020 U.K. print special is now online. (11/25a)
AMAs TACKLED FOR LOSS BY SNF
Oof (11/24a)
MUSIC ORGS IMPLORE CONGRESS FOR HELP
The gang's all here. (11/24a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
ZOOM THANKSGIVING
We're virtually stuffing ourselves.
TRUMP'S LAWSUITS
He's lost 25 out of 26, and so tired of winning!
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