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HITS LIST IS
IN THE MAIL
A not-so-subtle reminder to fill out that ballot. (10/15a)
NEAR TRUTHS: THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD
The lives behind live music. (10/14a)
HARVEY MASON JR.:
THE HITS INTERVIEW
The Grammy chief takes our call. (10/14a)
RAINMAKERS 2020: COMING SOON
It will rain again this fall--we guarantee it. (10/13a)
STEVIE WONDER PARTNERS WITH REPUBLIC
First music in 15 years. (10/14a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
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POST TOASTED
ROAD TO NOWHERE

By Karen Glauber

I’m in NYC for the two sold-out Lumineers shows at the Barclays Center (capacity 19,000). Thursday night’s show, which I attended with my “adventure buddy,” Brady Bedard, was an emphatic reminder of the power of radio. The surge of audience recognition from the first notes of “Gloria,” “Ophelia,” “Life in the City” and, of course, “Ho Hey,” helped abate the anxiety I’d been feeling after the last few weeks of hearing my peers chatter about radio’s imminent demise. When “Life in the City” finally closes in on Top 5, they will be the only band to have their first SEVEN consecutive singles go Top 5 at Modern Rock. Not even Green Day, the most successful chart band in the history of the format, can claim that. This “achievement,” as such, may only be meaningful to a handful of colleagues, but, as long as there are “10 records in the top 10” (to quote my fearless leader), I want to take up as much of that chart real estate as possible.

Last night, I brought my niece to see David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway, which was even more inspiring the second time around. There’s a reason why NME had called the tour that preceded the Broadway run “the best live show of all time.” I’ve always said that the single best concert of my life was Talking Heads at Forest Hills Stadium during the Stop Making Sense tour in 1983, and I’m grateful that the next generation has had this opportunity to discover Byrne’s brilliance. At the onset of the show, he (somewhat) optimistically referred to the “plateau of stupidity,” suggesting that at some point a person will reach their “level” of lost brain capacity, which should more or less guide them through adulthood.

My take is (slightly) more cynical when it comes to my beloved Modern Rock format, because most programmers still think it’s 10 years ago, refusing to adapt to the realities of today’s marketplace. The question I ask myself every morning is, “How can I make what I do matter?” First and foremost, my job is to bring money into my company. Can it be assumed that we all share that priority? The next part of the equation is how do we invest our time and hearts into our jobs in a way that makes us feel fulfilled and, well, useful? Two words I tend to use more often these days with regard to some of my interactions with radio are “counterintuitive” and “futile.” My goals are (1) keep my job and (2) break artists.

I was having lunch with SiriusXM programming guru Steve Blatter, and he agreed with my theory that it’s absolutely critical to be dead-right at least twice/year. I mean from zero to 100 on the scale of rightness, with 100% conviction. For me, it’s about picking the artists to champion and helping them forge a path to success. Or we can define it as hiring the next superstar, or mentoring the potential superstars in the intern pool. We’re all working around the clock—I get that—but our focus and intention should be rebooted every day.

I’m truly excited by the bounty of exceptional music that has just been released or will be available for you momentarily. This week, all ears were on FINNEAS’ single, “Let’s Fall in Love for the Night,” bolstered by iHeart choosing it for “On the Verge.” The biggest buzz record of the week is KennyHoopla’s “How Will I Rest in Peace If I’m Buried by a Highway” on Arista, which is already on KITS, Alt Nation, WNYL, WQMP, KRBZ, etc. Could THIS be the song that radio gets “right”?

Our friends in AJR released a new single on Wednesday called “Bang!” to coincide with the announcement of their summer amphitheater tour. Two years ago, the band was playing 500-seat clubs. Alternative radio will have plenty of opportunities to be involved with this tour, and jump they should: In 24 hours, “Bang!” has had 600k Spotify streams, 600k video views and has been #3 on the iTunes Alternative single sales chart since release. No other song has launched this year with this kind of immediate reaction. So “Let’s go out with a bang!”

SONG TO HEAR: Alex Lahey, “Sucker for Punishment”


 
 
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