HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

If you were alive in the ’70s, there was no escaping the oh-so-popular TV show Hollywood Squares, a B-list celebrity-extravaganza take on the game tic-tac-toe, featuring Mt. Vernon, Ohio’s hometown star Paul Lynde in the center square. In the course of the show, “I’ll take Paul Lynde for the block” was the contestants’ most frequent phrase, and I use that phrase to describe the strategy of how two stations in a competitive battle prevent each other from market “ownership” of an artist. I first applied “Paul Lynde for the block” to my advantage when working Bishop Briggs’ “River” in its infancy, and I frequently see KROQ and 98.7 add “buzz” records within a week of each other, securing their “seat at the table” when the artist blows up.

For a format that’s supposedly over (according to your boss’ boss, it’s Kaddish), we’re navigating 10 markets with more than one reporting Modern Rock station (I’m sorry, I refuse to refer to the format as “Alt” as long as the “Alt Right” signifies what it does). San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, Honolulu, Norfolk, Salt Lake City, Buffalo, Albany and Kansas City each have two reporting stations, not to mention the myriad markets with “spoiler” stations, or markets with a powerful Non-Comm or Triple-A station that is fighting for a piece of the audience.

Let’s go back to the elephant in the room: While you’re fighting with your label friends about “presents” (I promise you, your audience DOESN’T care) and taking up valuable playlist real estate with bands available to play your show (which, as we’re seeing, often results in a lineup that can’t compete with the other festivals and BIG NAME shows in your market), the heads of record companies are investing in hip-hop and pop acts, with far less emphasis on signing “alternative” bands. They don’t think you matter—Modern Rock is a “niche” format, and the bands you play are also niche, meaning their impact on the mainstream music market is negligible until the artist crosses to another format.

These are not the views expressed by me or my boss Lenny Beer—I’ve devoted my 35-plus-year career to this format—but I’ve never been more concerned about its future. You’ve got a consultant who seems hell-bent on turning the format into a mecca of “dad rock,” where new music doesn’t matter. If this is the approach that works for you, accept your position as a “Classic” station, and stop the charade of asking for bands to play your radio show for infinitely less than fair market value. Get your egos in check and stop torturing your label friends with your demands. It’s truly unnecessary and ruins our nights and holiday weekends. Our bosses DON’T know who you are, and frankly, my dear, don’t care.

I use whatever “power” I have (sometimes it feels like the sound of one hand clapping) to take care of those who do right by the artists I represent. If you’re not going to be part of the process, or, better yet, the PRIVILEGE, of breaking new acts, get the fuck out of my way.

Here are some of the new records deserving a TRUE SHOT AT MODERN ROCK RADIO: Flora Cash’s “You’re Somebody Else” is already #1 in research at KRBZ (I have always trusted their early data implicitly), and KKDO is reporting the BEST P1 RESEARCH THEY’VE EVER SEEN, with a 98% passion score! Interrupters’ “She’s Kerosene” is Brett Greenberg’s sure-fire hit of the summer. I believe that certain songs come alive when played in a car with the windows down—I can attest that “She’s Kerosene” makes traffic on the 101 seem almost fun. Chvrches’ “Miracle” is on its way to becoming the band’s biggest Modern Rock hit. They’re a band that’s already bigger than the format, so stop resisting. AJR’s “Burn the House Down” will be their second #1 Modern Rock hit. Nerf and Ted Volk are both honorary bandmembers. Donna Missal’s “Keep Lying” is the REAL DEAL. WWDC, WNYL, WSUN, KXTE, WEDG and KRBZ were among the dozen first-week adds. Interpol’s “The Rover” should be an automatic, or you should have your Modern Rock card revoked.

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