HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

It was National Radio Day last week, so I posted a photo of me hosting Mike Mills and Peter Buck from R.E.M. at my college radio station in 1982, a few months after the release of the Chronic Town EP. I’d first met the band after they released their single, “Radio Free Europe,” on Hib-Tone, and their first trip to Oberlin coincided with their first gig in Cleveland, opening for Steve Forbert (!) at the Agora. A year later, I booked them to open for The English Beat at my college, after which I started an internship at their label, I.R.S., which was soon followed by a part-time job at A&M in Cleveland, and then a full-time job in January 1984 at A&M’s NYC office. You’ve heard this before. You’ve seen the photo.

In relative isolation, the temptation toward nostalgia is something I fight, although (and if you were around, you know this) R.E.M. changed the course of College and Alternative radio, just as Nirvana did nearly 10 years later.

If you look at streaming for Alternative acts compared to other genres, the current school of thought is that Alternative DOESN’T MATTER. Why, then, is Alternative radio so important to artists like Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, Måneskin, Willow, Post Malone, etc.?

From a touring perspective, Alternative artists still comprise the majority of slots at most of the major festivals. From a career perspective, Alternative radio leans heavily on its gold and recurrent songs, and airplay definitely translates to ticket sales. Streaming also breathes new life into gold Alternative hits. Did you know that The Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather” is at over 1 BILLION Spotify streams? The Hella Mega Tour with Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy is a multi-generational success because the first-gen fans of those bands now have kids of their own, or at least younger brothers and sisters who now love the music. Cut the head off of Alternative music and it will always regenerate itself.

As my non-starter “Hot Alt Summer” ends with a whimper, I’m happy to say that my “Song of the Summer,” Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue,” is new this week at KROX and WWCD. As with most groundbreaking records, it’s been the women Alt programmers who “get” these songs at first listen: Christine Malovetz, Shawn Locero, Hilary Doneux, Michelle Rutkowski, Amber Miller, Leslie Scott, Laura Lee and honorary influencer Lynn Barstow are among the song’s early fans. Wet Leg hails from the Isle of Wight, and “Chaise Longue” is (in my mind) the indie-rock version of “WAP.” Is the song a radio hit? Of course it is!

Ted’s favorite song of the past few months is MOD SUN’s “Karma,” which is beginning to gain traction at radio in the weeks before his sold-out tour commences. Ted’s daughter Marley’s summer pick is single “Tattoo” from MOD’s opening act, girlfriends. Marley celebrated her new favorite band by getting a girlfriends tattoo on her arm. I do not have any R.E.M. tattoos.

AJR’s “Way Less Sad,” released on 2/17, has settled in as the fifth-most-played song of 2021, and a new song will be out this Tuesday—a collaboration with NYC band Daisy the Great, whose “The Record Player Song” was a viral hit. Jack from AJR discovered the song on TikTok and brought it to the attention of his manager, S-Curve kingpin Steve Greenberg, who was already in the process of signing Daisy the Great. Both bands reimagined the song, with AJR producing, and the new song, now called “The Record Player,” will be released on 8/31 via S-Curve/Hollywood. Daisy the Great are two women who met at art school, and, as struggling college grads do, they’ll be opening the AJR tour, commencing 9/5. I can’t wait for you to hear this record!

Congrats to Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee as the new Cannons single, “Bad Dream,” nears the Top 20. The research is there.

David Jacobs is now firmly Top 25 with Seb’s “seaside_demo,” which is Lenny Beer’s favorite song of the summer. What song helped you get through the past three months? E-mail me: [email protected]


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