HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

From left, Concord’s Angelo Scrobe, iHeart’s Lisa Worden, Warner Records’ Rob Goldklang and Karen, with iHeart’s Tom Poleman and Ted Volk in the background

After a long week of being an unexpected kitten rescuer—Gary Gorman adopted Shiv, one of the five kittens and their teen mom who sought shelter on my patio—it was time to venture beyond the confines of my cat condo and interact with humans. iHeart was hosting roundtable label meetings in Burbank, so Rob Goldklang chose a spot near his house for us to gather. It was deeply moving to see colleagues I hadn’t seen in ages, especially Lisa Worden (the belle of the ball), iHeart EVP Alissa Pollack, iHeart VP of Artist Relations Marissa Morris, Jacqueline Saturn, Marisa DiFrisco, Marlee Ehrlich, Gaby Skolnek, Island’s Ayelet Schiffman and a cadre of other women who are slaying at every level. Congratulations to Concord’s Angelo Scrobe were in order that evening, as we celebrated his birthday and the achievement of having two songs—from Pierce the Veil and Thirty Seconds to Mars—in the Top 5 at Alt. We bestowed upon him a nickname and a complimentary beverage. I was home by 9pm.

With iHeart’s Alissa Pollack; with Island’s Ayelet Schiffman, Sam Hollander
and Sam’s manager Bret Disend

Still schvitzing after a few more sleepless nights with no AC, I met up with Ayelet, her high-school friend/songwriter extraordinaire Sam Hollander and his manager Bret Disend. This reminded me of the iHeart Rock Summit from 2019, when Panic! At the Disco’s “High Hopes,” a song co-written by Sam, was played between every presentation. Sam knows more about the Alt format than you do, so it was a blast to chat about the “state of the union,” such as it is. Ayelet has a lot of programmers excited about The Last Dinner Party’s “Nothing Matters,” plus new Island artist Olivia Dean, just nominated for the 2023 Mercury Prize, is out with a single called “The Hardest Part,” which features Leon Bridges. Soon, Ayelet will have new music from Brittany Howard, plus, soon-ish, new music from The Killers.

With Warner Records’ Mike Chester, Laura Swanson and Tom Corson;
with Cavetown manager Zack Zarrillo

I bought tickets to the Cavetown show at the Greek the moment they went on sale. The lineup for his Bittersweet Daze tour is exceptional: grentperez, Ricky Montgomery, mxmtoon and headliner Cavetown. I hadn’t heard of any of the openers, but based on the thunderous crowd reaction, I was alone in my ignorance. While waiting in line to get inside the venue, I ran into Warner Records bigwigs Tom Corson and Laura Swanson (co-workers from my halcyon days at A&M in the ’80s) and EVP Mike Chester. Both Ricky Montgomery and Cavetown are signed to Warners. My kid took it upon themself to school Mike on the importance of both Cavetown and their favorite band Lovejoy, later repeating their emphatic point of view to Amazon’s Andy Harms. This was our third time seeing Cavetown, whose song “Frog” kills me.

What radio doesn’t realize (and should) is how important tours like this are to your potential audience. Sure, you’re just trying to hang onto the listeners that you have, but, if a lineup like this can sell out the Greek (as have beabadoobee and Cigarettes After Sex for shows in August), you have to pay attention! When asked about the “value” of the Alternative format, managers never mention streaming. Sometimes, if the stars are aligned, an Alternative hit can cross over to Pop, and what a glorious thing that is. Mostly, the value to managers is the format’s ability to sell tickets. You guys are best at that. On the flipside, there are bands that sell tons of tickets—and you, dear PD, could enjoy the halo effect by playing their music.

It wasn’t just a crowd at the Cavetown show, it was a community of fans who could see themselves in other attendees. The mood was joyous, and I had tears in my eyes through most of it. Cavetown, aka Robin Skinner, transitioned when he was 14, but that isn’t the story—his music is brilliant, and his fans are the type who would be loyal to a radio station that played post-emo intelligent pop music that hundreds of artists are making. Phoebe Bridgers is at the apex of this genre—Taylor Swift, far smarter than you or I, knew to take Phoebe, beabadoobee, HAIM and Muna on tour with her.

My male friends love the Barbie movie. Pay attention.

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