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By Karen Glauber

beabadoobee (photo by Jules Moskovtchenko)

On the mend from bout #5 of COVID. Ten days of quarantine, two days of Paxlovid (which helped the first burst of symptoms) and, thankfully (so far), no rebound. Flying home from NYC after Indie Week, I had the feeling I wouldn’t be spared. On the upside, it doesn’t appear I infected anyone, and still managed to see Illinoise and Stereophonic on Broadway, as well as spend quality time with Audacy’s Christine Malovetz, Universal Music Publishing’s Erin Blankstein, super-lawyer Gillian Bar, talent-booker extraordinaire Sandy Alouete and ADA chief Cat Kreidich. My best friend from college had two tickets to see Patti Smith and Joan Baez in conversation at Symphony Space, both promoting their latest books. It felt truly empowering to be around so many incredible women during my weekend in NYC.

Once home, I stayed in bed, with season three of Bridgerton as my companion. The first season coincided with my first bout of COVID, in December, 2020. When Bridgerton ended, I watched way too many episodes of Love Island, pausing to tape the part where Rob extols the virtues of beabadoobee to his island girl, while insulting her affection for Ed Sheeran. Ask Ted—I sent him whatever I taped. I also read a new cookbook called Open Wide by Benny Bianco. I mostly know Benny as the adoring boyfriend of Selena Gomez, whom I know from Only Murders in the Building. This cookbook is a really fun read, kind of like reading fantasy or science fiction for those of us who can’t cook, and definitely worth acquiring.

My taste has always been far to the left of pop music, but I love that KNDD Seattle added Chappell Roan’s “Good Luck, Babe!” While they’ll never “own” the artist in the market, Chappell is wildly talented and a fantastic role model for the station’s audience, especially the post-40-year-old men who make up the station’s core. I’m being slightly facetious, but I love that the station embraces songs that go beyond the third single by aging ’90s artists. Credit to Christine Malovetz and Christy Taylor for keeping things interesting!

So many incredible female artists are available for airplay, including Clairo, whose “Sexy to Someone” is already an iHeart favorite. I also have lots of affection for girl in red’s “Too Much,” The Marias’ “Run Your Mouth,” The Last Dinner Party’s “Sinner” and Billie Eilish’s “Lunch.” We’re waiting for our slot with beabadoobee, whose Rick Rubin-produced album will be out in August. Dave Lombardi is readying another Beaches track, and one should also pay attention to the Blondshell/Bully single “Docket.”

Very happy for Papa Roach who scored their first Top 10 Alternative single in 15 years! “Leave a Light On,” a song dedicated to mental health, first hit #1 at Rock four months ago, which led the way to its success at Alt. Jacoby Shaddix is still beloved by the Alternative audience, as evidenced by a recent promo tour.

Big congrats to Dave Lombardi and his team for reaching #1 on Royel Otis’ “Murder on the Dance Floor.” It’s truly an extraordinary achievement, especially for a new band. Rather than pivoting to “Linger,” they return to “Sofa King” as their next single—which means I get to hear Ted sing the lyric, “You’re so fucking gorgeous,” again to anyone who will listen (me).

Happiness for Columbia’s Lisa Sonkin, who will be heading into the holiday with Hozier’s “Too Sweet” at #1. Amazing song, and this is well deserved!

Sum 41, whose “Landmines” may never leave the Top 10, is back with a new single called “Dopamine,” already added at Audacy last week. This song will go everywhere post-holidays.

How much do you love Myles Smith’s “Stargazing”? This song is everywhere in pop culture—lean heavily into the zeitgeist.

Dave Barbis is doing exceedingly well with Blame My Youth’s “The Break” on Big Loud Rock. His other act, Letdown, is Top 25. I’m always impressed with Dave’s efforts.

My kid wants to see Beck at the Hollywood Bowl next week. I haven’t told them that I got “Loser” added at KROQ when it was a white-label single on Bongload (before DGC). Those were fun days.

SONG TO HEAR: Been Stellar’s “Pumpkin” (added this week at SiriusXM’s Alt Nation!)


By Karen Glauber

Happy summer to you all. I’m feeling a bit of “June gloom” right now, but there’s something to be said for turning on the radio and hearing a song that “lilts,” which is defined by, “a rhythmical swing, flow, or cadence.” Summer just hits different. My favorite example of a song that “lilts” is Good Neighbours’ “Home,” which is nearing 200m on Spotify. I’m obsessed with hearing this one on the radio—it changes my mood immediately.

Also in that category is Royel Otis’ “Murder on the Dance Floor,” which should be #1 at Alt, were it not for Green Day and Imagine Dragons. In a short time, Royel Otis has established itself as the band for the next generation of alternative listeners. Glass Animals is another band that should be considered “core” for the format, and “Creatures in Heaven” is another smash for them.

With every bit of my heart, I believe that Bleachers’ “Tiny Moves” is a radio hit, even if you guys and your ridiculous call-out tell me otherwise. MScores for this song have been incredible, especially as time progresses. None of you are playing songs enough to know what their real potential is, especially when there’s a myriad of “known” artists with new singles each week. Most of you admit that you’re not sure if the new songs by known artists are any good, but it’s easier for you to play them than take a risk on a new artist.

To make matters worse, you’re all a book away from flipping to “Classic Alternative,” which is why it’s imperative on the industry’s side to help radio look as healthy as possible. Artist engagement is key. Bleachers just did a session at 101X in Austin, and Lynn Barstow received 1,200 entries for the 35 slots. The fans loved it. Also, Papa Roach spent an evening on a boat in Washington, D.C., with DC101 listeners, playing songs for the 200+ attendees and presenting Elliot, the morning host, with a signed guitar. The night before Jacoby did the same for WRFF (on land) and began the week at WRRV. The week closed with a session at WKQX, and more happy fans were “meeted and greeted.” Every label and artist has to make the effort to show up for radio. I’ve been doing alternative promotion for 42 years, and I’ve watched the ebb and flow of the format. If the format moves to Classic Alternative, we’re all out of jobs. My intention is to die at my desk, whenever that might be.

If you’re looking for something to do on 9/21, might I suggest the HFStival? Yes, IMP and consultant Bob Waugh are bringing back the HFStival at Nationals Park. The lineup isn’t yet announced, but you can likely expect to see bands that have played the event in years past. I’ve been throwing out band names to Bob all week, but he won’t tell me. I spent every Memorial Day weekend at the HFStival from 1991 to 2006. I remember watching The New York Dolls from the side of the stage with my then-teen niece Emily. Now, she works at Domino Records in London, and will definitely hear the new Wet Leg before I do.

Speaking of Wet Leg, there’s a new Offspring single out today called “Make It All Right,” which features a female vocalist that everybody swears is Wet Leg. It isn’t, but we need Angelo Scrobe to tell us who it is!... This is also the time of year when female voices cut through on Alternative radio. What sounds more like summer than beabadoobee’s “Take a Bite?” It’s already Top 20 at AAA, and we’re going to take a swing at Alternative on 6/17. Rick Rubin produced this album, and you will love it.

Speaking of love, especially if you’re in the Heartland, the new Vacations song is called “Midwest.” Nick Bedding is impacting it on 6/25. This song was already a smash for XMU (the station I listen to the most), and some of you played their first single “Next Exit.”

In the meantime, I hope everybody carves out time for a vacation. It’s fun to see Nick Attaway’s photos from Iceland. Once home, he’ll impact Sum 41’s “Dopamine,” which everybody thinks is a smash. Ted and I have no idea what a vacation is, but I wish better for you.


By Karen Glauber

I’m listening to the deluxe of the just-released Bleachers album. “Tiny Moves” continues to slay me, listen after listen. If you haven’t seen the video, featuring Margaret Qualley, I suggest you do so immediately.

Contemplating whether I’m going to the Just Like Heaven festival Saturday; I already gave my ticket to Derek Madden, who is visiting with his sister. The lure of seeing Death Cab for Cutie perform “I Will Possess Your Heart” and the brilliant Phoenix is deeply tempting, even if my hip hasn’t recovered from last week’s Cruel World. Goldenvoice’s Paul Tollett has us locked in from cradle (Coachella) to grave (Cruel World). 70,000 showed up at Brookside Park in Pasadena to see their favorite bands from the ’80s and some more recent bands that fit the genre, like Interpol, whom I loveand had the honor of working with on their first two albums. What’s interesting about this festival is how many kids came to see Ministry perform their new wave hits, which the band has long eschewed, crowd-pleasers Duran Duran and supergroup Dreamcar, featuring three members of No Doubt and AFI singer Davey Havok.

My biggest priority was to see Simple Minds. We spent the ’80s together, back when Alternative radio was in its infancy and served as the launching pad to other formats. KROQ was located in a motel in Pasadena, and 91X was across the border in Mexico. The first thing Simple Minds’ singer Jim Kerr (pictured above) said onstage was “Hi, Karen.” Even after 40 years, we still have a connection. The crowd was enormous, and the feedback was extraordinarily effusive, especially after the announcement that Simple Minds would be back in the States in May for a proper tour. What fun!

But back to reality: Ted and I received the Tuesday call from Kevin and Miles at KROQ letting us know they’d added Papa Roach’s “Leave a Light On (Take Away the Dark”) into Select rotation. It’s a great call to get on a Tuesday—it had been a while! I did my happy dance and gave credit to Ted, who picked this song as a hit last year. It’s the band’s first alt hit since “Last Resort,” although they’ve had numerous rock hits since. Very happy to be part of this, especially during Mental Health Awareness Month, which is key to so many people.

Sometimes you just need to be right. While I persevere with Cigarettes After Sex, which seems so damn OBVIOUS, I’d love to have an “automatic” to work at radio, at least as a palate cleanser, while we gear up for the next challenge. Will the new Beabadoobee be that record, or new Dirty Hit act Been Stellar, who remind me of early Interpol? Admittedly, Interpol was a huge challenge, and that’s the reward, I guess. How many radio programmers wake up and think, “Let’s shift culture today!” That’s not their gig, although it’s mine. There are days when we’re all bitching about how hard it is and how pointless (to our bosses) our efforts are viewed. But then you see bands like Royel Otis have hit after hit at the Alt format, with great callout and a sold-out tour! These guys are supremely talented and will have many hits in the coming years. I just love them so! Dave Lombardi and his team have done a masterful job breaking this band!

I pretty much only feel like myself when I’m at a show. I share that with KROQ’s Nicole Alvarez, whose passion for Arcade Fire I do my best to indulge. Assuming I’m not going to Just Like Heaven, the week ahead includes Jacob Collier at the Greek (I saw him during the pre-show at the Grammys years ago and fell in love), Kraftwerk at the Disney Concert Hall (doing Autobahn, my favorite) and Bleachers in Chicago next Saturday at the Salt Shed, following a Friday session at WKQX. My kid will be joining me, excited by deep-dish pizza and another chance to see Jack Antonoff. Let’s try to have a good summer. We could all use it.

Today, though, I’m listening to the new Billie Eilish single, “Lunch,” featured on both KROQ and ALT98.7. Oh, to be 22 and brilliant! She can do no wrong.

SONG TO HEAR: Blondshell’s cover of Talking Heads’ “Thank You for Sending Me an Angel,” from A24’s 40th anniversary Stop Making Sense tribute album.


By Karen Glauber

It’s been an interesting few weeks musically, at least for me. My dream/vision quest of having Peter Frampton in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame came true, although when I met him recently, the news was still a secret. I haven’t been to Cleveland since 1983—I’ll be back for his induction into the Hall of Fame in October.

Post-pandemic, I’m still skittish about being in crowded places, like, say, Coachella, but the kid wanted to go, and I wanted to see The Japanese House and Bleachers. I think it was overwhelming for both of us, but just as we were hitting our stride (I was able to see Blur), it was time to head home. My kid wants to go again next year. We’ll see.

Many of us who have attended Coachella since the first year have thought to ourselves, “I might be too old for this shit.” After you’ve attended 10 or more Coachellas, do they hand you a golden wristband and ask you to move on? Retire your bandana and segue into next week’s Cruel World? For the uninitiated, Cruel World is a Goldenvoice festival in Pasadena that features early KROQ bands and others that fit into the genre, like Interpol and DREAMCAR. I’m most excited to see Simple Minds, a band I brought to KROQ in the ’80s.

The following weekend, Goldenvoice is presenting the Just Like Heaven festival on the same site, with newer alt bands including Phoenix, Death Cab for Cutie, The War on Drugs, Alvvays and Be Your Own Pet, etc.; something for the indie kids who used to go to Coachella. This is my dream alternative lineup—basically the playlist for WWCD, may they rest in peace. Owner Randy Malloy pulled the plug on the station after 24 years. We did everything possible to keep the station on the air—the only thing missing was $1 million to keep it going. You can’t take these stations for granted—who else was making bands like IDLES and Fontaines D.C. as big as blink-182 and Green Day in Columbus? PD Laura Lee did an incredible job of programming, and MD Tom Butler was truly the heart and soul of the station. If you continue to play the best new music, your audience evolves with you, and the bands that might seem too left-field for a mainstream audience are already part of the fabric of the station, thanks to generations of programmers that included Andyman, Lesley James, Mase and Laura. I have to believe that Randy will rise again. Sigh.

Ted and I spend a lot of time talking to our label peers—the ones who are left, anyway—about the lack of room for new music and the frustrations of hitting a wall when you know you have a hit song. “There’s always next week” is the advice I’ve often given. No matter how defeated you are on a Tuesday, it starts up again on Wednesday. The key to one’s sanity, I believe, is staying interested in the process. What if PDs have lost interest in the process, we all ask each other? What if they all decide that Classic Alternative is the way to go? Smart for our promo friends to explore other formats.

I envy my friends who do Non-Comm radio. What fun to talk to people like Jim McGuinn and Matt Donohue about new music! How great to spend time in Philly next week at the Non-Commvention, seeing artists like beabadoobee, Lo Moon, Been Stellar and Red Clay Strays, all on the same night! I’m going down with the ship—I started at the beginning of the Alternative format and I’ll be rearranging the deck chairs when it all falls apart. Just give me another five years, please.

On the latest Taylor Swift record, there’s a song called “Guilty as Sin,” which begins with this lyric: “Drowning in the Blue Nile/ He sent me ‘Downtown Lights’/ I hadn’t heard it in a while... Am I allowed to cry?” My all-time favorite (albeit obscure) band is mentioned in a Taylor song! If I was a Non-Comm or Triple A programmer, I’d play the Blue Nile’s “The Downtown Lights,” which has had a million new streams since Taylor’s album release. Wild!

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