HITS Daily Double
I love my job so much that I can’t stop dreaming about it. I promote records in my sleep.


The High Priestess of Modern Rock, Who Also Answers to the Name Karen Glauber, Analyzes the Dysfunctional Relationship Between Programmers and Promotion People

THEY WANT MY SOUL: Oh, you radio programmers, with your mythic powers and inability to communicate. How we wish we could read your minds! If you only knew how much of our day is spent anticipating your reaction to a song that you still haven’t heard, even weeks after our official "impact" date.

This record is "so him," we IM to each other, confident that we know his taste and what will work on his station better than he does. What do you mean, he’s on vacation for two weeks? Who takes vacation in the summer? (Apparently everybody does, except for us). Is he trying to fuck up our campaign? Doesn’t he know that without his add, that other PD who looks at his playlist to figure out what songs are "happening" will never touch this song?

At least we found a few of his radio colleagues that have told one of our colleagues they like the song. Since we’re all friends at the end of the day, our colleagues will ask a programmer, "Are there any other songs you’re looking at? But only after they’ve procured the add they were seeking. "You know that (insert PD name here) really likes your (insert band name here) record," they’ll IM. They do this because they want to make you feel like: (1) they care—5%, (2) they’re genuinely rooting for your record and want it to do well—5%, (3) you’re light, because they know something that you don’t—40%, and (4) you now owe them a congratulations on their add—50%. If this were a reality show, we’d all be screaming, "I’m not here to make friends!" It’s just like reality, only worse.

So we rack up our Southwest points and try to meet with you, dear radio programmer, to peddle our wares in person. Over steaks and wine (we just noticed the price—is Oedipus the guest sommelier?), you tell us that "Corporate" is now "looking" at your playlist, and "they" won’t approve any adds unless the record is Top 20 on the charts. But wait, we ask, what about that record you added last week? That one’s different, you reply. How so? And then you give us the side-eye, while Eliot Spitzer comes over to the table to ask if we’d like to order the chocolate soufflé, which will take an additional 20 minutes to prepare. Check, please!…

I love my job so much that I can’t stop dreaming about it. I promote records in my sleep. Most mornings (my internal alarm clock is set for 4:30am), I wake up in a blind panic. What have I forgotten? What adds can I get today? Who needs tickets to Arcade Fire/Spoon/KONGOS, etc.? Who have I disappointed? What am I missing? Where did the summer go? Why am I thinking about Xmas shows in July? How is it possible that I’m turning 53 next Tuesday? Wait, I can get birthday adds! Is that even still a "thing?" Remember when 50 of your colleagues would show up at the HITS office for your birthday lunch? Remember when you had 50 colleagues? By 5:30am, the panic has subsided enough to update the to-do list and face the day. The one-sidedness of most of our communication with you, dear market-#120-or-lower-PD, is a challenge to those of us who just want to do our best for the artists whose radio success depends on our ability to convince you to play their music. Our goals and your goals only seem to coexist at your convenience—a brutal reality…

As long as there can only be one #1 at any given time, I hope that we all get a shot at it. Congrats to Dennis Blair and Jeff Gillis for this week’s #1 with Bleachers! Next week, it looks like Garrett Capone and Rob Goldklang are a lock for #1 with Big Data, with Vance Joy as the likely successor. What next? Will it be Weezer for the top spot? I’m betting on Hozier "for the win" in the next few months—"Take Me to Church" is magic!...

BEST SONG THIS WEEK: In the Valley Below "Peaches" (#12 in Shazam in Portland after KNRK’s "New Music Heaven" support!). BEST ALBUM THIS WEEK: Spoon’s They Want My Soul. BEST SONG YOU NEED TO HEAR: Banks’ "Beggin for Thread."

See you in Boulder next week?