HITS Daily Double
Want to be inspired by radio again? Listen to what Rob Cross is programming on Sirius XM’s XMU.


When HITS’ PoMo Goddess Calls, You’d Best Pick Up; She Doesn’t Want to Chat With You About the Weather
Despite what you claim, you’re not too busy to talk to me. Nor is it remotely possible that your schedule is busier than mine, unless you’re Warren Christensen. When you return my call, your life will be better for it. I know to not waste your time and god knows I’m not calling “to chat.” Especially last Tuesday, when I was sniffling and sneezing after surprisingly unseasonable weather at Coachella’s first weekend (which I would later pine for when the thermometer hit triple digits on weekend two), and being ill on a Tuesday is definitely cause for distemper! But ahead we forge, grateful to have a place to forge through. Ted said I should’ve stayed home under the covers, pointing to the mountain of crumpled Kleenex on my desk. Play hooky and send my hologram to the office like Tupac at Coachella, and miss the fun of Rob Goldklang closing almost the entire panel on Linkin Park in one swell foop, I’m mean fell swoop? I can’t remember ever having a week like that during my many decades of promotion, not even during the era of hot reports and conversion factors (i.e. hookers & blow). So there he’ll remain at the top of the chart, Rob the Puppet Master, deciding when to alternate his #1 Linkin Park song with his #1 Black Keys song, letting each commandeer the top spot until (drum roll please) Rob releases the Muse single. And then the three songs will have a play date at the pinnacle, while the rest of us try to explain to our bosses that Top 6 is the new #1… As I keep bleating, the arrival of new music from CORE Modern Rock bands like Linkin Park, Garbage, Soundgarden, etc., enables programmers to take chances on passion records—already selling and a presence in the marketplace, but not exactly “in the pocket” in terms of sound. Take last week’s poster child, Alabama Shakes, whose sales have gone UP 60% in the second week of release (hear that, Madonna?) Kudos to ATO for rolling out the record with finesse and patience. Given the huge buzz surrounding the first tour dates (this band is UNBELIEVABLE live), it would’ve been easy to jump the gun and try to jam it at radio. Instead, they held back and focused on building the base with a Top 10 song at Triple A and a #1 song at Non-comm, plus two incredible retail weeks, and NOW it’s time to pull the trigger at Modern Rock: WEQX, WFNX, KRBZ, WWCD, WROX and WRMR, among others, are already in, and they’re always the first stations you want on this type of record. For those who’ve dared question the validity of Alabama Shakes because people seem to be too excited about this band (seriously? wtf?), look at the sales in your market. When programmers claim that the people who bought the record or buy tickets to the shows aren’t their audience, then they’re perpetuating the belief that music fans don’t listen to the radio. Want to be inspired by radio again? Listen to what Rob Cross is programming on Sirius XM’s XMU. While a lot of it may be initially unfamiliar, he schedules the music in a way that makes it all sound like big hit songs. I first heard Electric Guest’s “This Head I Hold” on XMU and I’m obsessed with it. Another one-listen from XMU was the Kimbra single, “Warrior,” which features Mark Foster and A-Trak. The oft-mentioned Rob Goldklang is now working it, and my dearest Lazlo added it last week… At heart, I’m a sucker for a great power-pop song, hence my deepest love for Real Estate’s “It’s Real,” which you will definitely add soon-ish (timing is everything) and Oberhofer’s “Away FRM U,” added by Amber at WEQX this week, because she has a knack for picking the songs you’re going to add next month. Like Morning Parade’s “Headlights," for example. When we finally chat, I’ll explain why the song is a hit. It’s because of the way the singer phrases one word that differentiates it from being a great song to a hit song...