HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

I had the great fortune to spend time this week with some excep­tionally talented radio programmers: Christine Malovetz, Jeff Regan, Alex Tear and Brad Steiner. These programmers are deeply passionate about radio and, to their absolute cred­it, brought up the importance of responding to culture as a critical factor in their program­ming decisions. Alex, the mastermind programming SiriusXM’s Hits 1, said he decided to put in The 1975’s “I’m in Love With You,” after seeing that Taylor Swift—who doesn’t do anything that isn’t completely intentional (bravo to her)—chose to perform “Anti-Hero” for the first time at The 1975’s show in London.

If radio is a medium that responds to culture—or ideally creates culture—then it’s imperative for programmers to ignore the misinforma­tion that a 10-second call-out hook provides and focus instead on what is actually capturing their audience’s attention. When I’m ultimately sent off on the ice floe, I’ll still believe that The 1975’s “I’m in Love With You” should’ve been a #1 song.

Ted Volk has been talking about “real-time call-out,” which is based on audience reaction during a show. Want to know if your audience cares about an artist/song? Go to their concert and see for yourself. Take Måneskin, for example. Everybody is talking about this band, from my kid to Mick Jagger. If I were programming a culture-driven radio station, I’d be playing these Best New Artist nominees, especially with Grammy week upon us.

Speaking of the Grammys, even if you’re not in L.A., there is no better time to revisit Wet Leg, who are nominated for FIVE Grammys. The new single, “An­gelica,” is an easy add—this band, too, is the subject of massive chatter, and they’ll certainly be hyper-visible for the next few weeks, especially with the BRIT Awards immediately following on 2/11.

The Grammys are a big deal. From now until forever, Spoon will have the distinction of being “Grammy-nominated,” as they are up for Best Rock Album for Lucifer on the Sofa. Regardless of your feelings about Arcade Fire (still one of my favorite bands of all time), WE is nominated for Best Alternative Music Album, along with Wet Leg’s eponymous debut, and releases from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Big Thief and Bjork.

All five albums prominently fea­ture female vocalists. That’s a big deal. Women also dominate the Best Alternative Music Performance category: Yeah Yeah Yeahs f/Perfume Genius, Wet Leg, Big Thief, Florence + the Machine and the sole exception, Arctic Monkeys, whose nominated song, “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball,” is extraordinary. Are you featuring any of these artists next week? Why not?

One of our favorites, Beabadoobee, is back with “The Perfect Pair,” which is av­eraging 1.5 million weekly streams in the U.S. (3m weekly globally). She’s been invited by the aforementioned Taylor Swift to open some of her U.S. stadium shows. Bea will do another headline tour around the Taylor dates—which are already sold out.

Last year, Jeff Regan discovered Windser’s “Memory,” which Alt Nation has played with great success. Windser has now been signed by our friend Braden Merrick at Bright Antenna, and “Memory” will have another deeply deserved shot at radio.

Condolences to the friends, fans and family of WXRT’s Lin Brehmer, who died this week after a hard-fought battle with prostate cancer. He was everybody’s best friend—a Lin sighting was always met with a hug and an in-depth conversation about music. He was one of the DJs who made WXRT so beloved. Listening to him always reinforced my passion for radio and underlined the importance of local air talent. Being out with Lin was to be in the presence of a true celebrity—his listeners LOVED him. And so did I.

SONG TO HEAR: Nikki Lane’s “First High” on New West. She’s phenomenal.

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