HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

I haven’t been isolated like this since I left rehab 28 years ago. I’m sleeping about the same as I did then (not much), but my focus is on my kid, my work, his schoolwork, keeping him healthy and (relatively) entertained and tempering my anxiety to a dull roar. “One day at a time” is the advice I was given 28 years ago, which has never been truer. In addition to my April sober birthday, another milestone was attained: My 30th anniversary at HITS—I’ve truly earned my self-appointed status as the “cockroach of Modern Rock.”

Despite what has been written about radio losing the plot during the pandemic, the opposite is true: Radio, in its purest sense, has never mattered more. Those of us who are in the promotion trenches have been able to do our jobs with a clarity we haven’t experienced in years. Nobody knows what the concert landscape will look like for the remainder of 2020, so radio shows are not the primary consideration for evaluating new music.

The format has been gifted with current singles from core artists that are unequivocal hits, such as “Caution” by The Killers, which will be locked at #1 for the foreseeable future, courtesy of the ace promo job by Ayelet Schiffman, Amanda Dobbins and Drew Hauser. Green Day also had a swift ascendance to #1 with “Oh Yeah!,” which was Rob Goldklang and David Ravikoff’s second #1 this month, following SubUrban’s “Cradles.” AJR’s fourth Top 10 Alternative song, “Bang!,” is streaming 3m/week from our format’s airplay! It’s also the only solely Alt song in the Shazam Top 100. While watching Jack from AJR’s IG Live Thursday with Kevan from Alt 92.3, I learned that the voice of “metronome” and “Here we go” on “Bang!” is of Charlie Pellett, the official voice of the N.Y. Subway System, whose “stand clear of the closing doors” is embedded in the brain of every commuter. That’s show prep you can use!

Speaking of the format’s core bands, Mike Kaplan added The Lumineers’ “Salt & the Sea” in both NYC and L.A. The song has always been his favorite, and the “warm blanket” effect of The Lumineers on the radio is especially heightened during this stressful time. As “Life in the City” moves into recurrent after 28 weeks on the chart, look for “Salt & the Sea” to be the band’s next hit.

I believe that radio airplay is still the #1 most-effective way to break an artist. In addition to the obvious—radio hits drive ticket sales and build an act’s base—airplay also means publishing income for the artist. With touring on hold, publishing income is an artist’s lifeline. AIRPLAY MATTERS.

The songs I’ve been screaming about the loudest are now between #11 and #20 in “real time,” ready to leap into the Top 10: Glass Animals’ brilliant “Your Love (Déjà vu)” on Republic, which is their biggest radio hit to-date; Powfu f/beabadoobee’s “Coffee for Your Head” on Columbia (smash, smash, smash); Ashe’s groundbreaking “Moral of the Story” on Mom+Pop; and KennyHoopla’s “How Will I Rest in Peace…” on Arista, masterfully promoted by John Boulos. Steered by Dave Lombardi, FINNEAS’ “Let’s Fall in Love…” had an incredible run at the format. FINNEAS has at least two other songs on his record that I think could be huge at Alt.

My Friday night plans include watching Chvrches perform “Forever” on Fallon. Without quarantine, my Friday night plans would be the same. Glassnote’s Nick, Michael and Marlee will be charted with “Forever” this week, with KKDO already on deck for Monday!

 Bakar’s “Hell and Back” is the hit you shouldn’t miss. The following should also be commanding your attention: Flume f/Toro Y Moi’s “The Difference,” guardin’s “Alive,” 24KGoldn, Major Lazer f/Marcus Mumford, 070 Shake (new this week at KRBZ!), Rezz & Grabbitz (another hit for Dennis Blair), Cheap Cuts w/Pete Wentz, Bleeker, Hoko, and Chaz Cardigan’s “Not OK!” on Capitol, which Gary Gorman is very excited about.

SONG TO HEAR: Car Seat Headrest’s “Hollywood” on Matador. Definitely the best song of the month!

THOUGHT: Now that we’ve pivoted into the “new normal,” let’s use this time to evolve into what we’ll become next.

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