HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

On this day in 1987, mere weeks after I moved from NYC to L.A. to take over for my then-departing boss at A&M Records as the director of new music marketing, my dad had a heart attack and dropped dead at my twin sister’s wedding to Craig Marks. I was 25 and my dad was 55. What fucked me up back then is now a funny-ish anecdote and one reason I’m a bit emotional today. Relief is now the same as what cured me when I was younger—the joy of a perfect song. Right now, it’s Nation of Language’s “Weak in Your Light,” which makes me feel a million different things, all of them good. This single was doing so well at XMU that Jeff added it at Alt Nation, where it’s Top 5 on the channel’s weekly Top 18.

I know this song is a hit, but the question remains—where to start these records at Alternative? The first quest is finding someone who believes in the song. Easier said than done, especially when “new” music from Linkin Park, Kings of Leon, 21 Pilots, etc., is on the horizon. While it’s wonderful that the format has some big names to play, the Columbus station I’d always approach first to start a record is currently no more, after 33 years of fighting the good fight. Will Randy Malloy emerge again? Of course he will! But the station that couldn’t wait to add IDLES out of the box is now online until further notice. I miss them terribly and I know you do too.

Maybe the next step is to approach the women programmers, since their taste is far more elevated and adventurous than most men in the same job. Still, you could get old and die while waiting for a new-music slot to open up these days. This is where it becomes an option to spend $ at stations that might play the record. Still, this is expensive and doesn’t guarantee that anybody will ever hear the record, since most of this airplay is relegated to overnights in markets without airports. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get a shot at Audacy or iHeart, and then, if you’re Michael Marcagi, with almost 2 million streams a day on “Scared to Start,” you’ve got a chance to be SO BIG that radio can’t ignore you. I mean, they’ll try, but you will be the secret weapon that radio wants. And if your record calls out, like Sum 41’s latest, then whoo, baby, you’re on your way to #1!

This is needle-in-a-haystack stuff, yet we persevere. If I programmed an Alt station and was told I could play Beyoncé, of course I would. Where’s the part where you’re shifting culture? Where’s the awareness that playing female artists helps shift the narrative? Thankfully, Last Dinner Party on Island appears to be this year’s Wet Leg in terms of making compelling music that redefines the mainstream. “Nothing Matters” does, in fact, matter.

If you’re paying attention to culture, you’ll notice that emo is bigger than ever. Papa Roach is having a viral moment with “Leave a Light On” as we head into National Mental Health Month this May. Shazams for the Papa Roach song are Top 20 in markets like St. Louis and Minneapolis.

My kid wants me to take him to Coachella to see Lovejoy, Bleachers and Tyler, The Creator. As long as the second week of Coachella doesn’t interfere with Peter Frampton at the Greek, we have a deal. Peter Frampton was my Taylor Swift when I was a kid—I’m happy he’s on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ballot this year.

On 2/28, the new single from Cigarettes After Sex, “Tejano Blue,” will be released. This band will sell out two Madison Square Garden shows and has cumulatively amassed 8 BILLION streams over its career. That’s a ton for a catalog of 24 songs. They will stream like crazy, with or without airplay. Do not overthink this.

Also exciting is the new Bleachers single, “Tiny Moves,” which is streaming, is accompanied by an amazing video and has some comparing it to The 1975. Jack Antonoff is a genius, and I was very grateful to be in his orbit when I passed out at his Grammy party. Yes, I thought about my dad when I woke up. Time to listen to Nation of Language again.

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