HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

What happened this year that was memorable? I only had COVID twice, so that’s something. The Replacements’ box set for Tim provided limitless hours of enjoyment, which is also a positive. And I’m currently watching my phone for the noon on-sale of next year’s Cruel World Festival. Interpol and Simple Minds on the same lineup—two extremely important bands in my career—yes, I will be there! If I wind up with a free ticket (I assume nothing), one of my friends will join me as my +1…

The year opened with great promise: Everybody was feeling more confident about being out in “the world,” plus the Alternative format was excited about the onslaught of A+ releases, including Fall Out Boy, a “found” Linkin Park single, Foo Fighters, Blink-182, The Killers, Green Day, etc. All was grand, until radio asked these bands to do the traditional promotion that the bands had already done countless times before. Here’s the difference: After an imposed hiatus from the pandemic, most bands/managers weren’t going to do anything to risk jeopardizing their tour plans/income, and the only promo most A-list bands were willing to do coincided with the on-sale of tour dates.

Say what you will about my beloved Alternative format, but there’s no denying that on-air support sells tickets. Christmas shows were a challenge this year, with most stations opting for multiple nights in smaller venues. The bands that showed up and played should be acknowledged and appreciated. The artist, the management and the label came through, even when everybody else said no.

Lovejoy played the circuit and showed programmers what they should have already known: This band is going to be headlining everybody’s show in the next year or two. There has to be a balance—when I listen to the radio while the sun is out, I rarely hear a current song. Please don’t tell me my record doesn’t call out when it’s only being played late at night.

Seriously—is there a bigger Alternative band right now than The 1975? How excited was your audience to be in the same room with them during the plethora of meet-and-greets we set up for you this year?

The women of the format understand the culture and are ahead of the trends, which is why I look to Lisa, Christine, Christy, Michelle, Hilary, Laura, Jayn, Amber, etc., for guidance and support.

The pop-punk sound of the ’90s continued to dominate, but the trend worth noting was the success of artists inspired by bands like The Lumineers. Noah Kahan and Zach Bryan are wildly popular artists who owe a nod or two to The Lumineers. After two years of nonstop worldwide tours, selling out arenas in every country, fingers crossed that there will be a new Lumineers record in 2024. I am happiest when I’m working their songs.

We can bury our heads in the sand and pretend that all is well—could it be more apparent that the Alternative format needs a massive, um, reawakening? The programming talent is (mostly) there, the label support remains consistent (as long as new music is being supported), so, where’s the problem? Is everybody too old and too complacent? What’s your fallback plan? I’m 40+ years in—this is what I do.

Instead of pointing out the records you missed, let’s focus on next year. Bands like The Last Dinner Party—newly anointed with the BRIT Awards’ Rising Star designation—Lovejoy and my favorites, IDLES, are three U.K. bands you must know. IDLES’ latest single, “Dancer,” is what separates Alternative radio from every other format. Produced by Nigel Godrich, it’s from TANGK, which will be released on 2/24 on Partisan.

You missed two incredible songs this year: “Devotion” from Arlo Parks and “Salad” from Blondshell. You barely played boygenius and beabadoobee—two of the biggest artists of the year. Every year, I say the same thing: Enough with the call-out! It tells you absolutely nothing. Remember how passionate you were about music when you started your career? Lean into that feeling of breaking new bands—that feeling of joy and achievement is what carries you through the rest of your day.

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