HITS Daily Double


It’s been a tough week for a great many people in my circle. Most days feel the same—except for Monday and Tuesday—and virtually everyone I speak to is as exhausted by the evening as they were before the shutdown. But it’s Monday and Tuesday that we’ll be focusing on in this installment.

One highly positive fact has become evident: Promotion staffs are active and firing on all cylinders, breaking new songs swiftly and with precision. Why is the promo game so hot right now? Maybe because the teams have more time to work, unencumbered by the flow of meetings that encroach on office life. Maybe they’re energized by the rewards of doing work with such tangible rewards—how many other departments at music companies get to clock such clear wins?

Whatever the reasons, we seem to be entering a new Golden Era of Promotion. And since I don’t have any sports to watch or box scores to read these days, it’s a source of no small joy to follow their escapades on the Mediabase charts.

Sure, a lot of buzz has surrounded Gary Spangler’s Republic “Spangmania” team, which has been so dominant for the recent years. There is no hitch in their giddyup, and they continue to set new standards for excellence. And while breakout BENEE may be “Supalonely,” Spangler isn’t alone, by any means.

Greg Marella also seized plenty of headlines last year, as he developed a team that continuously overperformed and became a Tower of Power for Capitol. And now the revitalized Bunny team, under label newcomer Mike Chester, has clearly become a force to reckon with.

And the veterans are showing the skills they always have, keeping their squads calm, focused and scoring in these difficult times. Rick Sackheim, who has consistently delivered, is doing so again at Epic with difficult anti-format artists, new and established. And speaking of difficult artists for radio, endless kudos go to Brenda Romano and team Interscope for taking an artist named Billie with no format and transforming her into a multi-format automatic, with an airplay deluge that catapulted her Grammy visibility. Peter Gray is overseeing—and educating—a young Columbia team to play on the major stage, while simultaneously delivering major hits. We’ve also spilled a bit of ink lately about Joe Riccitelli and his Nippers, who took a leap of faith in this difficult time to strengthen his team with a major new hiring, while simultaneously putting a new Cat in the Top Ten.

And, it is not just the mega-majors who are making strides. Nicki Farag and Ayelet Schiffman are showing considerable poise, resolve and a swift learning curve in their transitions from Rhythm format superstars into team leaders developing big hits for their new label heads. Joel Klaiman is breaking Hitco’s first hit record with St Jhn, while John Boulos has taken on the unenviable task of breaking the JP Saxe ballad to establish Arista as one of the newest destinations to have real hits.

I love the action. I applaud all of you in your efforts to be safe and take care of your families while having lots of hit records. Can hits cure COVID-19 and stop the world’s suffering? Of course not. But hits have always brought joy in the hardest times, and the best promo people in the biz are making sure those hits reach our ears.

Now go wash your hands, buddy.