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A STAR-SPANGLED
HITS LIST
It's now or never. (7/1a)
BST HYDE PARK: BIGGER THAN EVER
It's the U.K. equivalent of July 4 fireworks. (7/1a)
SADDLE UP:
BEYONCÉ UNVEILS RENAISSANCE ART
She's not horsing around. (7/1a)
SONG REVENUE: DRAKE TAKES
THE CAKE
The rich get richer. (7/1a)
UMG ACQUIRES ALL THINGS ZAPPA
Who's gonna "Freak Out" over this acquisition? (7/1a)
SUPERSTAR RELEASES
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MUSIC BIZ SPECIAL
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
THE BIG CHEESE
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
THE NEXT GIANT DEAL
A&R in overdrive.
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POST TOASTED
LUCIFER ON THE SOFA

By Karen Glauber

Greetings from Day 437 of COVIDchella—it feels like forever. I tested positive on 4/13, four days after going to an indoor show, and now, after two weeks spent on my bed in a fetal position, I’m finally feeling much better. The one-year anniversary of my COVID/vaccination-related stroke is this Saturday, so I have a lot to celebrate, all things considered.

Last weekend, in lieu of being there, I watched many of the Coachella performances on my laptop. I wish I could’ve been there, but it was thrilling to watch the performances by beabdoobee, Rina Sawayama, Idles, Phoebe Bridgers, Japanese Breakfast, Arlo Parks, Bishop Briggs and, of course, Arcade Fire, whose brilliant set was yet ANOTHER reminder that they’re the MOST IMPORTANT and BEST band in Alternative music.

I have to make special mention of KROQ’s social-media coverage of Coachella, because Miles Anzaldo, Nicole Alvarez, Megan Holiday and the rest of the team captured the joy of being there with their photos, stories and interviews, all of which felt like KROQ in its prime. Phoebe Bridgers showed up to do an interview in the KROQ trailer close to midnight, following her career-defining mainstage set. That’s huge. I felt like I was being shown the highlights of Coachella by three friends who had absolute access. Their enthusiasm was infectious (and not in a COVID kind of way), and Miles and Co. should be hailed for their coverage.

A lot happened in the radio world while I was praying for the bed spins to stop: WKQX’s Jon Manley exited the station, which was a shock to many. Also, it feels like we’re moments away from finding out the who’s been selected as the new PD at KROQ. I hate to admit it, but I legit have no idea who it’s going to be. I remember vividly when Kevin Weatherly was hired for the job—we were AGHAST that someone who had never programmed an Alternative station was now PD at KROQ. Adorable, right?

The biggest stunner of the week was reading that Jim McGuinn, your friend and mine, was no longer the PD at KCMP Minneapolis, on the heels of the station being #1 18-34 in Minneapolis and having a 5.0 share in their most recent month. I refuse to speculate on what happened, and when I know, I won’t tell you. I’ve loved Jim since his days in high-school radio in the mid-’80s. He is a person of integrity, and he’s a huge reason why The Current is as impactful globally today as it has been for the past decade-plus.

If you can break away from Love Is Blind 2, Bridgerton 2 or The Ultimatum on Netflix (welcome to my watchlist), check out the latest Florence + the Machine video for “Free,” once again brilliantly directed by Autumn de Wilde, which features Bill Nighy as the embodiment of Florence’s anxiety. Every song I’ve heard from this record is spectacular. The embodiment of my anxiety is played by Ted Volk.

beabadoobee’s “Talk,” her best song yet, is currently streaming like an Alternative smash, while she is poised for another crowd-overflow performance at Coachella this weekend.

Wilderado’s “Head Right” is now entrenched in the Top 10, while The Lumineers’ “Where We Are” is days away from sharing that designation. Not to jinx it, but this will be The Lumineers ninth consecutive Top 10 single, on the heels of the 10th anniversary of the band’s first record. I love celebrating milestones, even the ones that remind me of, well, where we were (like my stroke, for example).

Marisa DiFrisco, whom I want to be just like when I grow up, is slaying with The Maine’s “Loved You a Little” and is now charting with Surfaces’ “I Can’t Help but Feel,” which is my kid’s favorite song.

We’re so used to seeing Rob Goldklang dominating the chart that we won’t be the least bit surprised when Red Hot Chili Peppers is replaced by The Black Keys in the top spot. Rob and Ravikoff currently have three songs in the Top 10, but pay close attention to The Head and the Heart’s “Virginia (Wind in the Night)” because that’s also going to be a Top 10 song for them.


 
 
BE SWEET

By Karen Glauber

After two major anniversaries (my 30th sober birthday and my 32nd year at HITS), the only notable occasion last week was Rex Manning Day on 4/8 (for those who celebrate). It’s always fun to hear from Audacy’s Christy Taylor on this day, which, for the gratefully uninformed, commemorates the date of the Rex Manning (Maxwell Caufield) in-store in the 1995 movie Empire Records. It was the first soundtrack I’d ever worked on, and I’m grateful for my tiny contribution to an ongoing pop-culture phenomenon. I’ll be celebrating by taking Julian to see Cavetown, accompanied by Rob Goldklang and KROQ’s Miles Anzaldo. I’ll be the one in a mask.

Congrats to St. Vincent for winning the Grammy for Alternative Album of the Year, a category she shared with Fleet Foxes, Halsey, Japanese Breakfast and Arlo Parks. One might surmise that the dominance of female voices in the Alternative category reflects a similar shift in Alternative radio. Currently, seven of the 40 most-played songs at Alternative have female lead singers. That’s an improvement from the usual 10% or less on a typical chart, but hardly reflective of the streaming power of female artists vs. male artists.

I’m beyond “grateful” to The Sands Report for enlisting a male PD this week to tell other male PDs that it’s OK to play female artists. I’m a fan of the male PD, and it should be noted that he has supported songs by Snail Mail, Mitski, etc., but it felt like the female artists we champion on the radio and label sides can only be validated if a man does the talking.

The biggest song in the world right now is “As It Was” by Harry Styles, which was added this week by Lisa Worden in Los Angeles and Laura Lee in Columbus. I’m rarely awake by the time the headliner is onstage at Coachella, but even if I’m nowhere near the stage, I’ll be there for Harry.

Massive congratulations to Dan Connelly at Capitol for nearing Top 5 at Alternative with Bob Moses’ “Love Brand New.” Considering how packed the chart is with core artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Imagine Dragons, Muse, The Black Keys, Weezer, etc., this accomplishment feels especially extraordinary. Bravo!

 Props are also due Team Wilderado and our friends at Bright Antenna, as “Head Right” ascends to the Top 10.  We love this song, and we love this team. 

Happy Wet Leg Day! Everybody’s favorite new band’s debut album, Wet Leg, is finally out! Last June, “Chaise Longue” was our collective answer to the question, “What new music should I be listening to?” The album’s other standout, “Wet Dream,” will be the next radio single, impacting 4/18.

A song I’m obsessed with, Winder’s “Memory,” is this week’s Audacy “Pick of the Week,” hence its Top 35 debut. Looking at the boosted streams and Shazams from this exposure, this song should stick around beyond the feature.

Next week’s “Pick of the Week” will be “Talk” by beabadoobee, which has over 3 million streams since release, and I know you’ll be with me when she plays Coachella on Sunday.

Bishop Briggs, newly signed to Arista, has returned with a new song, “High Water,” written after the passing of her beloved sister Kate, whom many of us knew and adored. I cried at first listen. And second listen. And every listen since.

DC101’s morning powerhouse, Elliot in the Morning, will now be heard on multiple Audacy stations, including WNYL NYC, beginning 4/11. Elliot, in addition to being a ratings juggernaut, has exceptional taste in music. The format needs to survive, by whatever means necessary, and I think it’s very clever of Mike Kaplan to incorporate a proven talent into his mix.

I was thrilled to read about this summer’s Interpol/Spoon co-headlining tour. On the heels of the announcement, Interpol has released a new song, “Toni,” which you will love, while Spoon’s genius single “Wild” was added this week at 101X and WLUM.

It was a big weekend of shows: Cavetown on Friday, Rina Sawayama on Saturday and Beach House on Sunday. I’ve been doing my best to feel “normal,” at least while I can.


 
 
THIS WOMAN’S WORK

By Karen Glauber

As Women’s History Month nears its conclusion, I’ve been thinking about the women whose success, talent, leadership and generosity have been a beacon of inspiration throughout my life. My childhood idols were Gloria Steinem, Golda Meir, Billie Jean King and Patti Smith, who has been my self-designated “Higher Power” during my sobriety (which will be 30 years, as of 4/1). Once music emerged as my overwhelming passion (thank you, Patti and Todd Rundgren), my dream was to be either my favorite DJ, Meg Griffin (whom I still idolize, and am grateful to call a friend), or the late-great A&R genius Karin Berg, who not only introduced me to Alex Chilton in 1984 but was always generous with her time and stories, even though we worked at competing labels. 

My former A&M Records coworker Nancy Jeffries is a huge influence/guiding light, as are/were Rosemary Carroll, Barbara Skydel, Marsha Vlasic, Gail Colson Judy McGrath, Kate Bush, Lia Vollack, Michele Anthony, Jody Gerson, Michelle Jubelirer, Gillian Bar, Carole Kinzel, Solange, PJ Harvey, Gaby Skolnek, Amy Morgan, Jacqueline Saturn and many others. I’ve wondered, “What would (insert above name) do?” countless times during my career. During my tenure at a label, I’d wonder what my boss would do, and then do the exact opposite.

This week, there was a luncheon honoring iHeart’s Lisa Worden, whom I’ve known since her days at RCA Records and EMI (somewhere, there’s a 1992 photo of Lisa and me in baby-doll dresses, flanking Tasmin Archer). Lisa segued from radio promotion to radio programming, just as Amber Miller—who’s also spent time on both sides of the conversation—now rules the programming roost at WRFF Philly. Columbia’s Lisa Sonkin and Virgin’s Marisa DiFrisco had successful radio careers before making the leap to the label side, while some of us (namely, me) programmed their college-radio station for four years and are confident that they are qualified to be the PD at KROQ.

Listening to the Senate confirmation hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson for SCOTUS is a glaring reminder of how far we HAVEN’T come. Julian was in the car with me as I was screaming at the insulting and invasive questions (seriously, how dare they?) we were hearing, not to mention the pervasive mansplaining. Fuck those fucking fucks. I wanted the kid to hear it, since this is the world they will inherit.

Are we (women) better off in the workplace than we were when I was coming up? Despite the post-#MeToo promotion of women to positions of authority, my gut still tells me that this was primarily done by men for the optics. Forgive my cynicism, but we women all know that the true mentoring is being done among each other. The rest of it is just talk and bravado. Since I’ve chosen to devote my career to the questionable pursuit of airplay for alternative artists, I want to acknowledge some of the women I’m proud to share the Modern Rock trenches with, including (off the top of my head) the aforementioned Lisa Sonkin and Marisa DiFrisco, Darice Lee, Amanda Dobbins, Christine Chiappetta, Amy Kaplan, my beloved Bri Aab, Julie Muncy, Risa Matsuki, Carlyn Kessler, Jen Daunt, Karen Moran-Thomas, Michelle Feghali, Tami Morrissey and Tracy, Bee Bop and Patti from Amplify, who are in the throes of setting up this year’s The Gathering. I haven’t been back to Cleveland since I left Oberlin College at the end of 1983 (way to go, Ohio), but I think a return to the “Mistake on the Lake” is in order this summer. The attendance should be massive, since enough time has elapsed for us to actually miss each other.

My two favorite new songs this week are Beabadoobee’s “Talk” (excited to see her at Coachella) and Daisy the Great’s “Cry in the Mirror,” which Jenna was first to add at WSUN and WXXJ… I want to reiterate that Arcade Fire is the most important band Alternative radio will ever have the privilege to play. The shows last week in NYC reconfirmed this fact. On Saturday night, I finally met Brad Steiner, who will be moving to NYC from New Orleans to work with Mike Kaplan at Audacy. I have a new best friend.


 
 
LAST NIGHT A DJ SAVED MY LIFE

By Karen Glauber

A few weeks ago, I was on my way to pick my kid up at school, and I heard Windser’s “Memory” on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation. So what is this incredible song that reminds me of Peter Bjorn & John’s “Young Folks” but also is giving me the chills, like (and this is going way back) how I felt when I first heard Michael Penn’s “No Myth”? Turns out, Windser is a young band from Santa Cruz, and “Memory” is one of those extraordinary songs that Jeff Regan took a shot on that is now a hit for him. Because of this exposure, Windser’s agent was able to get them the first-of-three slot opening for alt-J and Portugal the Man. Nicole at KROQ played it during her show, and Jordan, the band’s singer and songwriter, was able to hear his song on the radio for the first time. Chills and thrills all the way around.

I just heard Arcade Fire’s “The Lightning” on the radio for the first time! That band changed my life 18 years ago when I started working with them. After more than two years of self-deprivation isolation, I flew myself to NYC for the secret Arcade Fire show Friday night (3/18). Their new music will remind everybody why Arcade Fire is one of the most important bands in the history of Modern Rock.

My last show before the pandemic was Patti Smith at the Disney Concert Hall on 3/6, 2020. Few performers are as quotable as Patti, and this was my favorite one from that night: “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?” So yes, Happy Women’s History Month! I will remind you, yet again, that it is the women in your audience who pick the hits. Also, the artists who shift culture, like Wet Leg and Phoebe Bridgers, were first championed by programmers like Lisa Worden, Jenna Kesneck, Amber Miller, Laura Lee, Michelle Rutkowski, Christine Malovetz, Shawn Lucero, Hilary Doneux, Christy Taylor, Tiffany Bentley, etc. (you know where I’m going with this).

In honor of the strong, influential and charismatic women who drive this format, please give your undivided attention to new music from Florence + the Machine (“My Love” is an instant classic), Mitski, Snail Mail, Wallice, Metric and Beabadoobee, whose new single is out next week. Cannons had two Top 5 smashes this year, and girl in red has also had a career-defining year.

It’s kind of terrifying to realize, but I’ve been promoting alternative music for almost 40 years. At no point, even when I was the only woman in the room (99% of the time), did it ever occur to me that I shouldn’t be there, ESPECIALLY when my presence unnerved the men (as it did during my tenure at a label). The advice I give to those half my age is “Be loud and take up space.” This is not a time for subtlety. Fuck that.

The Lumineers’ “Where We Are” has become a serenity prayer for my kid and me, especially as the Covid numbers start to creep up again and the horror in the Ukraine continues. Uncertainty wreaks havoc on the central nervous system, as you’ve all experienced, and the repetition of the song’s chorus, “Where we are/I don’t know where we are/but it will be OK,” has had a soothing effect on my stressed-out household. Streaming numbers support my belief that this is the perfect song for the moment, as does early research from KKDO.

By now, you’ve heard that Mike Kaplan is leaving his PD gig at KROQ to focus on WNYL and his role as Alternative Brand Manager at Audacy. Bravo to Mike for recognizing that his personal priorities carry weight. If anything, the pandemic has taught us that we are not defined by our jobs, no matter how hard we work or the gratification we feel from our successes. It’s the people in our lives who define who we are. Music is a vital outlet for our emotions, and this is an opportune time for programmers to focus on music that will make the audience feel something.


 
 
Post Toasted Index
posted 4/25/22
posted 4/11/22
posted 3/25/22
posted 2/11/22
posted 1/18/22
posted 11/8/21
posted 10/11/21