Whatever happened to artist development? (9/29a)
Change is in the air. (9/29a)
Clash of the UMG titans (9/27a)
A seven-minute gospel epic (9/28a)
Sykes is networking. (9/28a)
How the biz might use this powerful new tech—and the threats it could pose.
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By Karen Glauber

Ted and I have enjoyed playing the new Bleachers’ record to radio these past few weeks. The response to the single “Modern Girl” has been fantastic, with the initial response of “FUN!” coming from the lips of most programmers. It’s all gone swimmingly, except for the reaction of a couple of nameless PDs, who tend to be averse to most things “fun.” I get it, guys. Fun hasn’t been high on the agenda for the past four years. Still, I’ve been bouncing around to “Modern Girl” in my office, looking forward to working this project and hanging with Jack Antonoff. I grew up across the border from New Jersey (I collected tolls on the bridge crossing the Delaware River heading into Pennsylvania), and I’m pretty sure our musical DNA is similar.

The single came out on 9/20, but we held it back because of the newest from juggernaut blink-182, “One More Time,” a musical journey through the bandmembers’ most impactful moments. It’s emotionally heavy and a quick trip to #1 at the format, once Foo Fighters enjoy their stay at the top with “Under You.” This is good for the format: Huge artists with new music—can’t beat it. You know what else helps the format? Hit songs. Måneskin’s latest, “HONEY (ARE U COMING?),” is another in a series of hit songs that have elevated the band to “core” level in a few years’ time. They played the Palladium the last time they were in L.A. In a few weeks, they’ll play a sold-out show at the Forum! Madison Square Garden in NYC last Thursday night!

It took Ted and me four attempts to give The 1975 a big hit in the U.S. We came close with “I’m in Love With You.” The band is returning for another arena tour, and one song has stood out since day one. “About You” is the closest song in terms of crowd reaction and consumption that the band has had since “Somebody Else”—let’s go!

Congrats to Buddy Deal on Hollywood’s first #1 of this millennium with Little Image’s “Out of My Mind.” Buddy promised us a parade… Soon, once all the BIG RECORDS have been added, there will be time for you to look back on records you missed or just didn’t have room for. For example, Royel Otis’ “Sofa King” on AWAL—I love this song so much! Another record to dig into is the latest from Arlo Parks, “Devotion,” which will likely get a Grammy nod or two (or three). Also, I can’t imagine the Grammys ignoring The National, who have the biggest Triple A record of the year. Have you looked at the consumption on Zach Bryan? Have you heard “Spotless,” his collaboration with The Lumineers? It sounds, well, just like The Lumineers. As deep as everybody has gone this year into the pop-punk-emo realm, there’s a massive part of your audience that loves The Lumineers, Noah Kahan, Zach Bryan, etc.

Congrats to Mike Kaplan on his new gig as PD at WRFF, where he and Amber Miller will be working together. Cue “Phillies Fever” as he enters the building!

Many have written condolences about Jonathan L. this week. I met Jonathan in Phoenix in the late ’80s at QFest, which I remember vividly because Tim Finn tried to tell me that his girlfriend didn’t look too great in the morning, not realizing that I knew that Greta Scacchi, one of the most gorgeous women on the planet, was the one he was throwing under the bus for my attention. Jonathan rescued me and we had the first of many conversations about bands we loved. Even when Jonathan and I worked for competing trade magazines, I always rooted for him. He and his wife Gaby dropped by HITS pre-pandemic—he saw the sign outside and decided to say hello. He found someone and lived the life he wanted to have. Only happy thoughts.

SONG TO HEAR: AJR’s “Yes I’m a Mess.” (out on 9/29).


By Karen Glauber

From left, Concord’s Angelo Scrobe, iHeart’s Lisa Worden, Warner Records’ Rob Goldklang and Karen, with iHeart’s Tom Poleman and Ted Volk in the background

After a long week of being an unexpected kitten rescuer—Gary Gorman adopted Shiv, one of the five kittens and their teen mom who sought shelter on my patio—it was time to venture beyond the confines of my cat condo and interact with humans. iHeart was hosting roundtable label meetings in Burbank, so Rob Goldklang chose a spot near his house for us to gather. It was deeply moving to see colleagues I hadn’t seen in ages, especially Lisa Worden (the belle of the ball), iHeart EVP Alissa Pollack, iHeart VP of Artist Relations Marissa Morris, Jacqueline Saturn, Marisa DiFrisco, Marlee Ehrlich, Gaby Skolnek, Island’s Ayelet Schiffman and a cadre of other women who are slaying at every level. Congratulations to Concord’s Angelo Scrobe were in order that evening, as we celebrated his birthday and the achievement of having two songs—from Pierce the Veil and Thirty Seconds to Mars—in the Top 5 at Alt. We bestowed upon him a nickname and a complimentary beverage. I was home by 9pm.

With iHeart’s Alissa Pollack; with Island’s Ayelet Schiffman, Sam Hollander
and Sam’s manager Bret Disend

Still schvitzing after a few more sleepless nights with no AC, I met up with Ayelet, her high-school friend/songwriter extraordinaire Sam Hollander and his manager Bret Disend. This reminded me of the iHeart Rock Summit from 2019, when Panic! At the Disco’s “High Hopes,” a song co-written by Sam, was played between every presentation. Sam knows more about the Alt format than you do, so it was a blast to chat about the “state of the union,” such as it is. Ayelet has a lot of programmers excited about The Last Dinner Party’s “Nothing Matters,” plus new Island artist Olivia Dean, just nominated for the 2023 Mercury Prize, is out with a single called “The Hardest Part,” which features Leon Bridges. Soon, Ayelet will have new music from Brittany Howard, plus, soon-ish, new music from The Killers.

With Warner Records’ Mike Chester, Laura Swanson and Tom Corson;
with Cavetown manager Zack Zarrillo

I bought tickets to the Cavetown show at the Greek the moment they went on sale. The lineup for his Bittersweet Daze tour is exceptional: grentperez, Ricky Montgomery, mxmtoon and headliner Cavetown. I hadn’t heard of any of the openers, but based on the thunderous crowd reaction, I was alone in my ignorance. While waiting in line to get inside the venue, I ran into Warner Records bigwigs Tom Corson and Laura Swanson (co-workers from my halcyon days at A&M in the ’80s) and EVP Mike Chester. Both Ricky Montgomery and Cavetown are signed to Warners. My kid took it upon themself to school Mike on the importance of both Cavetown and their favorite band Lovejoy, later repeating their emphatic point of view to Amazon’s Andy Harms. This was our third time seeing Cavetown, whose song “Frog” kills me.

What radio doesn’t realize (and should) is how important tours like this are to your potential audience. Sure, you’re just trying to hang onto the listeners that you have, but, if a lineup like this can sell out the Greek (as have beabadoobee and Cigarettes After Sex for shows in August), you have to pay attention! When asked about the “value” of the Alternative format, managers never mention streaming. Sometimes, if the stars are aligned, an Alternative hit can cross over to Pop, and what a glorious thing that is. Mostly, the value to managers is the format’s ability to sell tickets. You guys are best at that. On the flipside, there are bands that sell tons of tickets—and you, dear PD, could enjoy the halo effect by playing their music.

It wasn’t just a crowd at the Cavetown show, it was a community of fans who could see themselves in other attendees. The mood was joyous, and I had tears in my eyes through most of it. Cavetown, aka Robin Skinner, transitioned when he was 14, but that isn’t the story—his music is brilliant, and his fans are the type who would be loyal to a radio station that played post-emo intelligent pop music that hundreds of artists are making. Phoebe Bridgers is at the apex of this genre—Taylor Swift, far smarter than you or I, knew to take Phoebe, beabadoobee, HAIM and Muna on tour with her.

My male friends love the Barbie movie. Pay attention.


By Karen Glauber

The solution is obvious: The Mediabase charts we use as our weekly report cards should be based on audience, weighted so that a spin in a Top 50 market is worth more than a spin in a market without a bus station. In their current state, a spin that has the impact of the sound of one hand clapping counts the same as a spin in L.A. There are stations on the Alternative panel that have no audience, while stations like WRIS and KJEE have a loyal and active listenership but fail to be added as reporters year after year. Why does the chart matter? Because it’s a snapshot of what our chosen format has chosen to support.

Does anybody care besides Ted and me that beabadoobee’s “The Perfect Pair” will peak at #11? Unlikely, but it makes me feel like a failure, especially since her profile couldn’t be bigger right now and she sold out L.A.’s Greek Theatre in five minutes. That’s also part of the problem—there’s never a consensus where the format collectively decides to support an artist who didn’t have their first hit in 2003 or doesn’t have a monstrous streaming story or can’t avail themselves of the endless rounds of promo most international artists are unavailable to participate in. STILL, and I believe this wholeheartedly, the best bands WILL win, but ONLY if programmers are willing to free themselves from the tyranny (habit) of call-out. NEW ARTISTS DON’T CALL OUT (unless there’s a massive sync or the song is a giant for other reasons).

I will continue to bring up Lovejoy’s “Call Me What You Like” as a prime example. The band’s singer, using the name Wilbur Soot, is a popular gamer, with over 9 million YouTube subscribers and 5 million Twitch subscribers. My kid started following his Minecraft livestreams and discovered Lovejoy soon after. The band is currently on a sold-out U.S. tour. Given Wilbur’s massive following, a smart programmer should be setting up a tour promotion to tap into that base—for the Alternative demo, gaming is a huge deal. Want to attract new listeners? They already know about Wilbur, even if you don’t. Dave Lombardi and his AWAL team WILL get this record.

Although many (most) of you program in opposition to the possibility that women could (should) be loyal listeners of your radio station, there are songs women have decided they love that are too big for you to ignore. Rosa Linn’s “SNAP” was a great example of a song that became an Alt hit because of the tenacity of Lisa Sonkin and Lisa Worden. Now, Marisa DiFrisco has a GLOBAL SMASH with David Kushner’s “Daylight,” and you’re absolutely missing out on a massive hit if you can’t figure out a way to play this song. You want call-out? Here you go.

A few weeks ago, Christy Taylor hit me up about Yves Tumor. Her timing was perfect—I just got a new mix of “Echolalia,” which will be serviced next week, and I was able to offer her a spot on the artist’s guest list for the sold-out show this weekend. I’m not sure there’s a more exciting artist in the world right now than Yves Tumor.

You know what it’s like to hear a song and just KNOW it’s going to be a big hit? I was listening to the upcoming Arlo Parks album, landed on the song “Devotion” and had to play it five times in a row. This is the song. The lyrics mention both Deftones and Kim Deal, adding format-friendly relevance to the best song of the summer. Very excited for you to hear it.

Happiness is a weekend of music, including the Cruel World Festival in Pasadena on Saturday. I’ll be bouncing among Gang of Four, ABC, Adam Ant and Echo and the Bunnymen—but most excited for Iggy Pop, of course. This is Coachella for those of us who did college radio in the ’80s.


By Karen Glauber

We are the sum of our influences, even the bad ones (thanks, Mom). Radio programmers have airplay as the ultimate expression of their fandom and gratitude for the artists who inspired them—obviously, not as their “own personal jukeboxes” but as true influencers.

My allegiance to artists runs deep—last night in Philadelphia, I was able to guestlist Garett Michaels, Jim McGuinn and Amber Hoback for a show by Hoodoo Gurus, a band I first worked with in 1984. My first #1 record during my A&M years was the Gurus’ “I Want You Back”—a girl never forgets her first.

While in college, I was deeply in the Violent Femmes’ orbit. The band is playing sold-out shows in the area this week in celebration of the 40th anniversary of their game-changing debut. I’ve got my kid this weekend, so I’ll unfortunately have to miss it, but I’ll be at the Crowded House show on Monday, decades after working with Split Enz and being on most of the first Crowded House tour with opener/A&M artist Paul Kelly.

In a few weeks, I’ll be in Montclair, N.J., to see Todd Rundgren and Daryl Hall in concert—it’s like chasing a fix. What makes us feel like our truest selves, especially after ongoing health issues for those of us with long COVID, and what makes us happy? How do we show gratitude for the artists who defined our lives?

If you’re reading this, you have the wherewithal to help an artist’s career, even if it’s as basic as buying merch after a show. We know that nothing new you play is going to call out unless it’s a novelty record (like Weezer’s cover of “Africa”) or a new single from a band you supported in 2003 (long live Foo Fighters). Collectively, we can break artists and create cultural moments—or at least respond to pop culture and acknowledge the “hot topics” with your audience. Like, for example, whomever Taylor Swift “might” be dating, or Rage Against the Machine being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame (as I often do), I was on the phone with Kate Bush’s manager yesterday, sharing with him the countless times that Kate’s music made me feel like I wasn’t the weirdest kid in the world, starting when I first heard “Wuthering Heights” in 1979. I’m hardly alone—so many of my friends, male and female, consider Kate to be an important influence. To hear that Kate is “overjoyed” to be voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame made me tear up. By my estimation, Kate, Dusty Springfield, Christine McVie and Annie Lennox will be the only British women in the R&RHOF. God bless the Queens.

Congrats to our old friend Marco Collins on his new gig doing afternoon drive at Seattle Triple-A WPNW. We hope he thrives there for many years!

Also, massive huzzahs to our new friend Christen Limon on being named music coordinator for ALT 98.7!

Shawn Lucero, our heroine during her years at KRXP and KILO, has joined Willobee at NonComm powerhouse Indie 102.3 in Denver, where former WHFS programmer/air talent Dana Meyers has been slaying as the morning-show talent extraordinaire. Sisterhood is POWERFUL!

Thundercat’s “No More Lies” (featuring Tame Impala, as all songs should) is streaming more than almost anything on your playlist. PLUS, he was featured on Gorillaz’s recent #1 Modern Rock smash, “Cracker Island.” If there was such a thing as an indie rock layup for the format, this is it.My kid first played Peter McPoland for me. He’s signed to Columbia and is originally from Vermont. I’ve been fangirl-ing over his music all week, especially “Digital Silence,” which reminds me of Arctic Monkeys’ “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” (which I worked). Michelle Rutkowski’s niece told her about Peter, and she added “Digital Silence” this week at WLUM! It’s the summer. Add records because they make you feel something!

So excited to see the plethora of adds that came in for Lovejoy this week. This one is undeniable, even for cynics like you. Lovejoy will be playing sold-out shows in the States all summer, including Lollapalooza and Outside Lands. Wherever they go, you’ll see me and my kid.

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