HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

“It’s alright if you love me/It’s alright if you don’t/I’m not afraid of you running away/Honey, I get the feeling you won’t.” Who wrote better first lines than Tom Petty? I remember being completely enthralled by “Breakdown” when I was 16, driving to school in my ’72 Impala. His vocal cadence on that song reminded me of Peter Sellers as Inspector Closeau in the Pink Panther movies—a blast to sing along with while high, skiing on ice and rocks in the Poconos. I quickly claimed “American Girl” as MY song when my friends and I first heard it; it was important to have “signature” songs at that age.

My love of Tom Petty’s music never wavered, even at my most “indie.” As much as I hated arena shows, it was an unforgettable thrill to see two bands I was close to, The Del Fuegos and The Replacements, open shows for Petty. Nobody in my group was ever too indie or too punk to appreciate Tom Petty. Neil Young was the only other artist who was equally untouchable. “Even the Losers,” “The Waiting,” “Free Fallin’” and “Walls” helped me work through some dark times.

I became familiar with “Walls” fairly recently, when The Lumineers were asked to perform it at last year’s MusiCares dinner honoring Petty, which I attended as the band’s guest. The highlight was the six-song set Petty performed, ending with “Running Down a Dream.” I’ve listened to his music nonstop since Oct. 2, and this is the lyric I can’t get out of my brain: “Out in the great wide open, a rebel without a clue.” RIP…

Lesley James has been PD at WWCD in Columbus since 2010, after her first civilian guest-DJ shot in 2004. Last week, Lesley called her nearest and dearest to let them know that she was resigning as PD, due to reasons beyond her control, but would be retaining her afternoon airshift. Mase, formerly of WKZQ and current CD1025 staffer, will be taking on the PD gig soon. Lesley stepped into the seemingly impossible-to-fill shoes of Andyman following his untimely passing, and built the station upon his legacy to even greater heights, including sold-out shows in Columbus’s biggest venues, and having a series of A-list bands AND new talent performing in the “Big Room” for their loyal listeners. When Lesley jumped on a record, I trusted her research as a barometer of the song’s potential success in bigger markets: Her metrics on Tame Impala’s “Elephant” gave me the confidence to work the song at Modern Rock, where it reached Top 10. Whatever Lesley chooses to do next, wherever she chooses to go, she will be a star…

While you PDs are complaining about the lack of “hits” currently available to you, you might want to consider these, which are truly bona fide: 1) Alice Merton’s “No Roots.” This song is a certifiable smash, generating Top 10 Shazam stats in every market within the first week of airplay. It’s currently #13 on the iTunes Alternative chart—consider this your gift of the year, because “No Roots” is only going to get bigger. Please call David Jacobs at Mom + Pop and thank him profusely. 2) AJR “Sober Up." Gotta hand it to Nerf on this one—this single has been Top 10 in sales, streams and Shazams since he added it. Now, Nerf is 250 spins in, and WRFF PD John Allers has such confidence in this record that I anticipate an iHeart chainwide reaction to happen very soon. Whatever preconceived notions you may or may not have about this band, abandon them now. The same can be said about 3) Post Malone “rockstar.” The #1 streaming song on the planet hasn’t had a radio format “claim” it yet. Every millennial knows this song—what’s the risk in giving it a shot? The song is called “rockstar,” and isn’t that just what you claim the format is missing?...

Belated congrats to KNDD PD Leslie Scott on being selected as the inaugural “mentee” for the MIW-Nielsen Music Mentoring Program! This one-year mentorship matches Leslie with key mentors from both the MIW Radio Group and Nielsen Music. Leslie was selected from a field of 40 candidates. Go forth and kick ass, Leslie!


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