HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

Even without pretending I’m essential (I know better), I was able to procure my first Pfizer shot last Saturday, which left me sore and feverish, but hopeful that my long-hauler days will soon be behind me. As much as I’d like to hug all (most) of you, or book travel to a festival, I’m still skittish about being out in the world. The media is predicting a post-pandemic phase comparable to the “Roaring Twenties”—my idea of a party will be going into the new Amoeba Records without panicking about getting reinfected.

Our collective behavior after this pandemic can be explained by basic physics: Think about the path of a pendulum—a swing to the farthest left results in a similar swing to the right. Eventually, the momentum decreases, aided by gravity, and the pendulum will find its way back to the middle. As a 35-year student/participant in the world of Alternative radio, I can say the same about patterns in programming, although the impact of the pandemic has made it infinitely more challenging to break artists. It’s a non-negotiable fact that stations with the strongest ratings all have long-established morning shows to anchor the rest of their programming. The absence of in-person artist engagement has been a massive disservice to both radio and the artist! Ted and I lament daily that MOD SUN’s “Flames” would be in the Top 10 by now if PDs and the radio audience had the opportunity to see him in concert or hear him playing acoustic on-air. It’s no wonder that stations are clamoring, possibly prematurely, to book Xmas or even fall shows, just as artists are figuring out when it will be safe to go back on tour.

As artists book paid tours, promoters will likely prohibit them from doing radio shows unless their show is already sold-out—this is a challenge that both the labels being asked to provide bands and PDs should be anticipating. Maybe sponsored studio-space performances will be a solution. After 13 months at home, these are problems we should all be grateful to tackle.

With the recent release of singles by some of the format’s biggest artists, slots for new artists are likely to diminish for the next few weeks. Artists like MOD SUN, The Kid LAROI, KennyHoopla, Black Pumas, Clairo, girl in red, Foushee and carolesdaughter have clearly broken through, but I expect the format will be comfortable playing the artists they know work for them right now, along with Glass Animals, who can now be considered a core band for the format (yay!) Think about the songs YOU want to hear right now—upbeat, optimistic songs have the best shot at radio. You know, the ones that are “way less sad.” Beach Bunny’s “Cloud 9,” Illenium’s “First Time” and the upcoming CHVRCHES single should be automatics, along with Area21’s “La La La,” which Buddy Deal launched today. Listen to Japanese Breakfast’s “Be Sweet,” Cannons’ single “Bad Dreams” and beabadoobee’s “Last Day on Earth” on your AirPods right now—that’s the sound of spring that we’ve been craving!

The record I’m listening to on repeat is Arlo ParksCollapsed in Sunbeams on PIAS. Know this artist—she’s been nominated for three BRIT Awards, and her first Alt single, “Hurt,” is nearing 20 million streams and has been a big hit for the Non-Comm station (with the huge ratings) in your market… Pay super-close attention to Marisa DiFrisco’s “Sticky,” the latest single from Photo Finish/Virgin act The Maine. The band already has a significant touring business (remember concerts?), and this is the song that will break them.

Happy Rex Manning Day to those who celebrate! What an insane after-life Empire Records has sustained…

beabadoobee photographed by Callum Harrison

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