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NEVER NOT TOGETHER

By Karen Glauber

A big “I feel your pain” shout-out to my fellow single moms out there! I’m not saying that my 11-year-old son and I are beginning to morph into the same person, but in the past two weeks, I’ve learned that I’m quite proficient at Legos and fifth-grade math, while Julian’s two favorite TV shows are now Love Is Blind and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Meanwhile, I’ve spoken to many radio programmers from the “comfort” of their at-home broadcasting closets, and we’re all doing our best to navigate the “new normal.” iHeart and Entercom are being proactive about bringing artists into the homes of their listeners, with interviews and performances being offered through the iHeart and Radio.com apps.

Alternative radio, as I’ve expressed before, is in a unique position to provide comfort, entertainment and a sense of community to an expanding audience. If I’m a fan of an artist (AJR, for example), and their social media tells me that they’re going to be doing a session for a radio group, then this presents an opportunity for me (their fan) to sample my local station online. “This AJR session is brought to you by your friends at [insert call letters here]!” Jon Manley at WKQX has initiated Instagram live interviews with artists—I love his interviews, so this should be a lot of fun to watch.

What originally started as an in-house joke during my A&M days—“There are a lot of records in the Top 10”—has evolved into Lenny’s “There are still 10 records in the Top 10.” It’s my mantra. And although the #1 Most Added song may now only get a dozen adds, I’m here to help you identify which songs are destined to be your future Top 10. Of the new records, there are two clear overachievers: Powfu’s “Coffee for Your Head” f/Beabadoobee and Ashe’s “Moral of the Story.”

The Powfu radio story at Alternative is incredible: #2 Most Added and chartbound this week (already in Power at ALT 98.7) under the guidance of Columbia’s Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee, garnering 7.4m streams this week! The song has over 150m combined audio/video streams to date worldwide. “Coffee for Your Head” features Dirty Hit artist Beabadoobee’s “Coffee,” which is currently streaming 160k per day(!), and she currently has 18.75m monthly listeners on Spotify. Powfu is an artist that the format can OWN, even as the Top 40 campaign evolves.

Ashe’s “Moral of the Story,” David Jacobs and Mom+Pop’s newest triumph, surpassed 1m Shazams today! This smash is already trending Top 25, including a new add today at KNDD, plus moves to Subpower at WLUM and WLKK. KITS, WNYL, KYSR, Alt Nation, KUCD and KROQ are leading the charge at radio. You want hits? There you go.

Without question, “Caution” by The Killers and Bang!” by AJR will be a #1 song for each of those bands. The Lumineers’ “Life in the City” continues to build because their music is truly the “warm blanket” that the format needs right now.

The “next ups,” as I call them, are the songs you should be paying particular attention to right now: Bakar’s “Hell N Back,” which KKDO’s Andy Hawk says is one of the most reactive songs he’s EVER played. 070 Shake’s “Guilty Conscience” was first identified by Michael Martin, Aaron and Jayn as an Alt smash, and the rest of the format, plus key Triple A stations, is beginning to pay attention. I adore this song.

Another record that should have grabbed your attention is Guardin’s “alive” on Photo Finish/Caroline, with KROQ, WNYL and WRMR leading the way. Bleeker’s “Give a Little Bit More” has a Bowie vibe that immediately caught my attention, as did the double-digit add week! Joji’s “Run” is a clear winner, as well—streaming and Shazams follow every spin on the radio. KennyHoopla had a breakthrough week at radio, as “How Will I Rest in Peace…” remains a programmers’ favorite.

The songs I want to hear on repeat right now are Shallou’s “Fading,” BENEE’s “Supalonely” and Major Lazer f/Marus Mumford’s “Lay Your Head on Me.” Nada Surf’s Never Not Together is the album that reminds me that we’re all in this together. Be well, friends.


 
 
SUB URBAN #1 AT ALT RADIO

Warner’s Sub Urban has landed in the #1 spot at Alternative radio this week with his breakout track “Cradles.” The TikTok fueled hit garnered over 1b uses on the app and is the lead single from his debut EP, Thrill Seeker, which dropped on 3/13.

The streaming monster has also surpassed 500m streams across all platforms and was pushed to #1 thanks to Warners’ Mike Chester (EVP Promotion), Rob Goldklang (SVP Alternative & Rock Promotions), Stefan Max (SVP A&R), TJ Landig (VP Marketing), Yash Zadeh (VP Publicity), Warren Gesin (SVP Artist Development), Devin Sarno (VP Creative Services), Kristine Ripley (VP Artist Development & Touring), Mark Flaherty (SVP Marketing), Mike Sherwood (SVP, Streaming & Revenue), Ben Larsen (SVP International Marketing), Haley Spencer (Manager, Fan Engagement & Digital Marketing), Ben Farber (Director, Streaming & Revenue), David Ravikoff (Sr. Dir., Alternative & Rock Promotion), Jen Darmafall (Manager, Influencer Marketing), Ramsey Kouri (Sr. Director, Ad Supported Content Partnerships & Promotion), James Garrigus (VP, Ad Supported Streaming) and Mollie Chen (International Marketing).

The New Jersey native also recently dropped a music video for his single “Freak” f/REMI AMI, which amassed nearly 10m streams during the first week of release. Check out the video here.


 
 
HERE COMES THE FLOOD

By Karen Glauber

I just offered a roll of toilet paper to a PD for an add. On Amazon, most paper products, if you can find them, are going for more than a Jeff Deane overnight five-spin special. I was joking (sorta), and yes, I’ll probably get the add, but it’s indicative of how much the world has changed in the past week.

Just a week ago, we were celebrating Kevin Weatherly’s last days at KROQ, hiding our tears as air-talent extraordinaire Nicole Alvarez shared her gratitude for growing and thriving under Kevin’s tutelage. If there were ever a remake of To Sir With Love, Nicole’s speech, followed by a performance of an original song from Chris Martin, would have to be included in this movie.

Just a week ago, Mike Kaplan and Michael Martin began to reshape KROQ to be more reflective of what WNYL and KITS have been doing for the past year: Embracing songs that are streaming and are hitting the sweet spot of a certain truly “Alternative” sound: Powfu, Ashe (which was first heard on 98.7), AJR, Glass Animals, Tame Impala, MGK, Post Malone, 24KGoldn, and KennyHoopla are among the artists now being heard on 106.7. Lisa Worden has 98.7 sounding modern and buoyant—these two L.A. stations can revitalize what has been considered an increasingly irrelevant format. This is a huge shift, and you should absolutely pay attention to what these stations are doing... Now, more than ever, local radio has the power to inform, entertain and provide a sense of community for anxious listeners.

Just a week ago, I’d never heard of “social distancing.” I practiced it, unknowingly, as part of my inherent dislike of people, but now, as it’s become a mandate, radio can provide a connection by offering reliable information regarding this health crisis, as well as a soothing voice and the sense that their audience is sharing this same scary experience. I would take on-air requests, offer listener-generated Top 10s every night and provide constant online updates. I’d have artists FaceTime online with DJs to mitigate some of the FOMO that the audience (especially in L.A.) is feeling about the cancellation of Coachella.

In two brief updates, Tom Hanks has connected the coronavirus to his millions of fans. Seeing how he and Rita Wilson are handling their illness is the, well, “kindest” reality check we could have. What is radio doing to quell the anxiety of their audience?

Just a week ago, I was canceling my flight to SXSW. I blamed my edginess on Mercury being in retrograde (adorable) and had no idea that the music business would be working remotely for the foreseeable future. My son’s school will be shutting down on Monday for two weeks, and I’m grateful that he’ll be home. Unlike the days of Mike Jacobs putting his son David on the phone to programmers, Julian will not be calling you. Anyway, it worked out well for David, who has the most exciting record in the market right now with Ashe. This song is a smash, and Mom+Pop earned its #1 Most Added status this week.

The incredibly reactive song by Powfu (featuring Beabadoobee) will now be called “Coffee for Your Head (death bed)” (rather than “death bed”). Beabadoobee’s “Coffee” is the sample on the track, and you’ll be hearing infinitely more about this beautiful artist in the months ahead. Her first radio single will be released in May, and I’m looking forward to her tour as an opener for The 1975 (along with the spectacular Phoebe Bridgers).

Just a week ago, Patti Smith played at the Disney Concert Hall. Seeing Patti in concert helps me reconnect with my higher power (which happens to be her), and I loved when she said, “I read that it’s the month of the woman. That’s really nice and all, but being a girl myself, I thought, one fucking month?” Thank you, Patti.

We need to talk about Jehnny Beth, who, in my informed option, is the artist who will inspire the Modern Rock generation, just as Patti was the artist who defined mine.

The new Killers’ single, presciently titled “Caution,” is their masterpiece. This song deserves a swift ascendance to #1.

ALBUM TO HEAR: KALEO’s Surface Sounds (“I Want More” is my favorite song they’ve ever done). Be safe. Stay healthy. Take care of each other!


 
 
MORAL OF THE STORY

By Karen Glauber

In 1992, I was trying to kick Klonopin, and Kevin Weatherly was named PD at KROQ. I vividly remember the first time Kevin called me at HITS. He was angry that I had speculated in this very column about whether or not a former Top 40 PD was a good fit for an (even then) legendary Alternative station. I promised to keep an open mind (who the fuck did I think I was?) and offered to introduce him to the Alternative community.

Not long after, I arranged a 30th birthday celebration for Kevin at Tokyo Delve (the Chuck E. Cheese of sushi restaurants) in North Hollywood, attended by at least 40 of his new Alternative promo friends. Once Kevin assembled his dream team of Gene Sandbloom and Lisa Worden, the Tuesday afternoon phone call from “Kevin, Gene and Lisa” to tell us they added one of our records became the single greatest call we could ever hope for. As an Alternative promotion person, there is no bigger “high” than that call, and my reaction is always the same: I giggle, thank them effusively, dance around my office, and then yell it to the world.

Earlier this week, Kevin announced he was leaving KROQ, without the as-yet-to-be-official word about where he’s headed next (but we know it’s a very exciting opportunity for him), and I think we can all agree that when a book about the history of Alternative radio is written (1990-2020), he’ll be acknowledged as the GOAT. Also, in that book, I will be acknowledged as the “dowager,” or perhaps the “cockroach” of Modern Rock. Thank you.

While we spent Wednesday night speculating about who would be chosen as Kevin’s replacement, the news we’d hoped to hear was soon confirmed: Mike Kaplan would be the new Brand Manager for KROQ, while also retaining his SVP programming and WNYL Brand Manager gig. We always knew Mike was destined to return to L.A.! Congratulations to all!

In the last column, I recommended that the key to career longevity included being absolutely right at least two times per year. Luckily for you, three of those completely magical records happened to be released this week: Ashe’s “Moral of the Story” on Mom+Pop is poised to be the biggest record of the year. First embraced by 98.7 in L.A., the TikTok video of Ashe hearing her song for the first time when Andrew Harms played it last Friday got 2.5m streams over the weekend! Currently, “Moral of the Story” is #21 on the U.S. Spotify chart and #26 on the U.S. Apple chart, with 98.7, KITS and SiriusXM Alt Nation adding it this week. The song is co-written and produced by FINNEAS, whose “Let’s Fall in Love…” is currently Top 20 at Alternative. The format needs to embrace artists like Ashe in order to reinforce our position as a format that can truly break artist

Another record to focus your attention on is Joji’s “Run,” which has 28m Spotify plays since its release three weeks ago, and another 15 million YouTube streams on top of that. I love this song—his voice just kills me. This is another record that will make it seem like you know what you’re doing… Canadian artist Powfu is a new Columbia signing whose single “death bed,” which samples Beabadoobee’s “Coffee,” is another must-add song for your arsenal. Of course, KITS and Alt Nation are already on this track (what do they know that you don’t?), and this is another record that will make you look like the genius we know you are.

Speaking of Beabadoobee, come see her with me on Wednesday night at SXSW, along with Jehnny Beth (formerly of Savages) and Irish buzz band The Murder Capital (drinks are on Warren). I’m also excited to see KennyHoopla in Austin—his “How Will I Rest in Peace…” is radio’s first consensus song of 2020.

SONG TO HEAR: Grimes“Delete Forever”


 
 
Post Toasted Index
posted 3/30/20
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posted 11/4/19
posted 10/18/19