UMG chief is sitting on top of the world. (9/17a)
Let's be Frank. (9/17a)
Stars across the board (9/17a)
Will she be able to clean up the mess? (9/17a)
WMG snags a cornucopia of sound and vision. (9/16a)
A chronicle of the inexplicable.
We make yet more predictions, which you are free to ignore.
2022 TOURS
May we all be vaxxed by then.
Power pop, global glam and the return of the loud.

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By Karen Glauber

It was National Radio Day last week, so I posted a photo of me hosting Mike Mills and Peter Buck from R.E.M. at my college radio station in 1982, a few months after the release of the Chronic Town EP. I’d first met the band after they released their single, “Radio Free Europe,” on Hib-Tone, and their first trip to Oberlin coincided with their first gig in Cleveland, opening for Steve Forbert (!) at the Agora. A year later, I booked them to open for The English Beat at my college, after which I started an internship at their label, I.R.S., which was soon followed by a part-time job at A&M in Cleveland, and then a full-time job in January 1984 at A&M’s NYC office. You’ve heard this before. You’ve seen the photo.

In relative isolation, the temptation toward nostalgia is something I fight, although (and if you were around, you know this) R.E.M. changed the course of College and Alternative radio, just as Nirvana did nearly 10 years later.

If you look at streaming for Alternative acts compared to other genres, the current school of thought is that Alternative DOESN’T MATTER. Why, then, is Alternative radio so important to artists like Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, Måneskin, Willow, Post Malone, etc.?

From a touring perspective, Alternative artists still comprise the majority of slots at most of the major festivals. From a career perspective, Alternative radio leans heavily on its gold and recurrent songs, and airplay definitely translates to ticket sales. Streaming also breathes new life into gold Alternative hits. Did you know that The Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather” is at over 1 BILLION Spotify streams? The Hella Mega Tour with Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy is a multi-generational success because the first-gen fans of those bands now have kids of their own, or at least younger brothers and sisters who now love the music. Cut the head off of Alternative music and it will always regenerate itself.

As my non-starter “Hot Alt Summer” ends with a whimper, I’m happy to say that my “Song of the Summer,” Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue,” is new this week at KROX and WWCD. As with most groundbreaking records, it’s been the women Alt programmers who “get” these songs at first listen: Christine Malovetz, Shawn Locero, Hilary Doneux, Michelle Rutkowski, Amber Miller, Leslie Scott, Laura Lee and honorary influencer Lynn Barstow are among the song’s early fans. Wet Leg hails from the Isle of Wight, and “Chaise Longue” is (in my mind) the indie-rock version of “WAP.” Is the song a radio hit? Of course it is!

Ted’s favorite song of the past few months is MOD SUN’s “Karma,” which is beginning to gain traction at radio in the weeks before his sold-out tour commences. Ted’s daughter Marley’s summer pick is single “Tattoo” from MOD’s opening act, girlfriends. Marley celebrated her new favorite band by getting a girlfriends tattoo on her arm. I do not have any R.E.M. tattoos.

AJR’s “Way Less Sad,” released on 2/17, has settled in as the fifth-most-played song of 2021, and a new song will be out this Tuesday—a collaboration with NYC band Daisy the Great, whose “The Record Player Song” was a viral hit. Jack from AJR discovered the song on TikTok and brought it to the attention of his manager, S-Curve kingpin Steve Greenberg, who was already in the process of signing Daisy the Great. Both bands reimagined the song, with AJR producing, and the new song, now called “The Record Player,” will be released on 8/31 via S-Curve/Hollywood. Daisy the Great are two women who met at art school, and, as struggling college grads do, they’ll be opening the AJR tour, commencing 9/5. I can’t wait for you to hear this record!

Congrats to Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee as the new Cannons single, “Bad Dream,” nears the Top 20. The research is there.

David Jacobs is now firmly Top 25 with Seb’s “seaside_demo,” which is Lenny Beer’s favorite song of the summer. What song helped you get through the past three months? E-mail me: [email protected]



By Karen Glauber

Måneskin, everybody’s favorite Continental heartthrobs (besides Nick Petropoulos), have two songs ruling the streaming world: “Beggin’,” which Audacy chose to add this week, and the rock anthem “I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE,” made even more anthemic with the addition of Iggy Pop’s vocals on a new version released last week. For some of us, any time Iggy joins the party, it’s a big fucking deal. Is it tragic or a fact of evolution that most Alt programmers have never heard The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” which was the inspiration for Måneskin’s global hit?

For a format that was built on punk rock, the current iteration only goes back as far as blink-182 and Green Day for its influences. Does history even matter? Does an encyclopedic knowledge of music mean anything other than as a catalyst to assemble a friend group of former rock critics and ’80s indie musicians? I was talking to a programmer about one of my favorite new songs, “Record Player” by Daisy the Great x AJR, remarking that it reminds me of The Roches. Papa Roach? No, The Roches. Like, “We are Maggie and Terre and Suzzy.” Blank stares.

Have you heard Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue” on Domino? Doesn’t it remind you of Le Tigre’s 1999 song, “Deceptacon?” Actually, that comparison was pointed out to me by Garett Michaels, so yeah, there are times when I can still nerd out. What are the metrics? How about: Do you like it? Do you think it will appeal to the demo you’re targeting? Isn’t the unofficial official mandate to now target an older demo? If that’s the case, then it’s almost impossible for someone of a certain age, especially a fan of Alternative radio, to hear something new and not be reminded of something they’ve heard before. Still, if we’re going to move forward as a format, which I fear that I care about more than do most radio programmers, where’s the risk in playing new music?

One of the biggest hits of this summer could be this new Dirty Heads single, “Rage,” featuring Aimee Interrupter. There’s a new Dirty Heads smash every summer—the band has taken over the summer slot that used to be owned by Incubus and 311, and “Rage” will be another huge song for the band, just as their previous single, “Vacation,” is enjoying a resurgence at the format. The Dirty Heads/Sublime With Rome tour starts next week and goes through the end of October. I’ll be at home watching Bachelor in Paradise for the foreseeable future, but I can help you out with tickets, should your future plans include being out among people.

CONGRATS to our friend Leslie Scott on her promotion to VP/Audacy Exclusive Stations. Since I’ve known Leslie since she was in college, and as one of her self-appointed yenta aunts (along with Nan Fisher), I’m confident that she will absolutely slay in her new position. Who will fill her ALT RVP Programming/Band Manager position? Let the “names” begin.

The insanity of overnight airplay at small-market stations is a financial burden that could kill the format. Nobody thinks this is good business, but everybody is desperate for a way to start new records, especially if the metrics (that really only apply when a PD doesn’t like a song) aren’t there yet. Ted and I dream about the chart changing to an audience chart, which would truly reflect the success of a record, or weighting stations, or even eliminating overnight airplay from counting toward the chart. I know there are PDs who say the chart doesn’t matter, but, like their ratings (where one meter can make or break their month), it’s the report card by which our success is measured.

Nobody can diminish the achievement of a #1 record, so congrats to our friend Christine Chiappetta on her #1 success with Modest Mouse’s “We Are Between.” Her first project at Epic went to #1—major congrats!

SONG OF THE SUMMER 2.0: girlfriends’ “Tattoo” on Big Noise Records.


By Karen Glauber

I was 28 in 1990 when I began what I thought would be a one-year “stopover” at HITS (until my next major-label gig materialized). Next week, I can say that I’ve worked for Dennis and Lenny from 20-something to the age where my high school friends are posting pictures of travels with their grandchildren and purchases made with their senior discounts. I have a 12-year-old son (whose namesake is Julian Cope). I have a job I love. I am able to work with the absolute best artists while mentoring the next generation(s) of women in the business. Maybe someday I’ll even leave the house. There’s a lot to be grateful for as I near the next milestone birthday.

I’d hoped to be at Red Rocks last weekend for Guster’s sold-out show with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. I was their first music publisher, and during that era, they played on my back patio with my friends Semisonic (during the height of “Closing Time”). Remember that night? On Sunday, 23 years later, I was having a cathartic sob-fest while watching the livestream of my favorite Guster song, “Two Points for Honesty,” knowing that I played a small part in their career. Maybe I’ll write a book someday about the world of “alternative” music (working title: Goddess of the Unrecouped)—I’ve devoted my life to this genre.

Someone from R.E.M. headquarters reached out last week because Bertis Downs, the band’s manager, wants to send me the 40th anniversary pressing of “Radio Free Europe,” which was the single that started it all for many of us. R.E.M., The Violent Femmes and The Dream Syndicate were the bands that inspired me to pivot from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations to a $100/week gig at A&M Records. Best decision I ever made.

The sweetest part of the job has always been playing a role in an artist’s success. I’ve always said that every time I’m asked to listen to a new song, I hope that this is the song that changes the artist’s life. Or, better yet, YOUR life—wouldn’t that be amazing?

Since this issue is devoted to new and developing artists, let’s focus on that, shall we? Nick Petropoulos was #1 Most Added last week with Måneskin’s “I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE,” including at 98.7 and X96, and the band was named Audacy’s coveted “Pick of the Week.” Is a version of this global smash featuring Iggy Pop soon to be a reality—or did I conjure that up in a post-COVID fever dream? This record is as close to a no-brainer as exists right now. Please don’t overthink it.

The lure of Limp Bizkit and Journey performing at this year’s Lollapalooza wasn’t quite enough to get me to Chicago this week. For those who had FOMO while watching the Woodstock 99 documentary, Saturday night is for you; I’ll be home celebrating Kate Bush’s birthday (July 30) and watching Say Yes to the Dress. The band I would want to see is Cannons. “Fire for You” is having yet another moment after its return placement in Never Have I Ever, while their new single, “Bad Dream,” is a big fat smash at KKDO, whose PD, Andy Hawk, is always two steps (or months) ahead of everyone else.

David Jacobs is about to break SEB’s “seaside_demo” wide open. If you’re nice, maybe he’ll also play you the new Courtney Barnett!

My favorite songs are always the ones with swagger, and the best ones right now are by female artists: The Linda Lindas’ “Oh!,” beabadoobee’s “Cologne,” Willow’s “transparentsoul,” and, of course, AURORA’s “Cure for Me” and CHVRCHES’ “He Said She Said.” The new song I can’t wait for you to hear is Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue” on Domino. I’m completely obsessed.

All Time Low made the smartest move of their career by including Pale Waves on their new single, “PMA” (“Post Modern Anxiety”)… Wouldn’t it be fantastic if girl in red’s “Serotonin” went to #1?

SONG TO HEAR: MOD SUN’s “Karma”—20 million streams and counting!



By Karen Glauber

This is supposed to be our “Hot Alt Summer,” dammit, but masks are mandatory again in L.A. (fine by me), and the Foo Fighters’ 7/17 show at the Forum was postponed because of COVID. Also, there was a show at the Whisky a few weeks ago that resulted in dozens of cases, regardless of vaccination status.

After limiting myself to having meetings on my back patio, Ted and I returned to KROQ for MOD SUN’s on-air hang with talent extraordinaire Kevan Kenney. Ted’s daughter Marley joined us, plus MD Miles Anzaldo, Mod’s sister Danielle and MOD’s girlfriend Avril (yep, that Avril), and it was like being at Nobu Malibu on a Saturday night, except I was allowed to be there. MOD and Kevan chatted about their favorite emo records (yeah, I’d worked all of them), MOD’s upcoming sold-out tour, and his new single, “Karma,” which is already at 14m streams. Avril even joined the conversation, and Kevan’s IG story of her five minutes on the Audacy Alt stations racked up over 100k views in 24 hours!

These pop-culture moments, utilizing both on-air exposure and social media, are what will keep our format moving forward. Look at what a force Woody is on Alt 98.7—he rules the L.A. market.

If we’re facing another shutdown, pop culture will be more important than ever… Thankfully, we aren’t where we were last summer, when the horror of Trump and the pending election was the overwhelming focus. While the Alt audience might not be as interested in the vintage Chanel skirt and jacket that Olivia Rodrigo wore to the White House this week, everybody in the demo watched Italy’s victory over England in Euro 2020, and have also heard of Italian rock band Måneskin’s triumphant win in the Eurovision Song Competition with “Zitte e Buoni.” Måneskin is now signed to Arista, and the band’s first Alt single is “I Wanna Be Your Slave” (a clear homage to The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog”), with streams exceeding 200m—this is a global smash! Look for Nick Petropoulos and the Arista team to make Måneskin a huge summer hit at Alt…

Speaking of summer hits, my fearless leader Lenny has already declared SEB’s “seaside_demo” the HIT OF THE SUMMER. This viral hit—which has been picked up by Mom+Pop—is the summer vibe you’ve been seeking.

Speaking of viral/pop culture, Willow’s “transparentsoul” is yet another Travis Barker-featured Alt record that the kids adore. Not a day goes by when a label person doesn’t tell me of an upcoming record they’ll be working that features Barker. Respect to the elders, of which I am one… Never Have I Ever, the Netflix show that first launched Cannons’ “Fire for You,” returned for a second season on 7/16 and featured “Fire for You” again. Tiesto is such a massive fan of that song that he did a newly released remix, and “Bad Dream,” the latest single, is nearing Top 20 at Alt. Time to be all in on this band, people! Also, let’s congratulate Columbia’s Darice Lee on her promotion to VP! You may now refer to her as Madam Vice President…

AURORA is the embodiment of pop culture right now—her song “Runaway” is now gold, and her new single, “Cure for Me,” is her best song so far, with that perfect summer “lilt” that makes your one-minute commute from your bedroom to your office an absolute pleasure. Wait, you’re back in a real office? You’re wearing pants with a zipper? What is that like?

 Weezer’s “All My Favorite Songs” exploded once AJR was added to the song. Isn’t it ironic that AJR’s “Way Less Sad” will peak at #2 because Weezer (featuring AJR) jumped it to #1?

 Dennis Blair and Artie Gentile are off to the most-added races with Walk the Moon’s “Can You Handle My Love?” I really like this song, don’t you?

 My favorite song right now is beabadoobee’s “Cologne.” She is the epitome of pop culture, with millions of IG followers, not to mention she’s the “face” of Ray-Bans and Crocs in the U.K. and should be the true face of Alternative in the U.S.! Her sold-out tour here starts in November. Let’s hope we’ll feel safe to go to shows by then.

 SONG TO HEAR: Girlfriends’ “Tattoo.” Love, love, love!