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By Karen Glauber

I love new music. Nothing makes me happier than falling in love with a new record and convincing others to agree with me. And by “others,” I mean you, dear radio PDs, although most of you would rather have your limbs cut off than try to make a new song work on your radio station. Lucky for you, there has been a plethora of “heritage” new music for you to chose from—most of it won’t be real “hits,” aka library songs, but they will be familiar enough to test and won’t ruffle the feathers of your P1s. Yawn.

If you had seen the Mitski show in your market, you’d understand where music is going. Brilliant!

Thankfully, there are some new songs that stream like crazy and your work is nearly done. Michael Marcagi’s “Scared to Start” is streaming upwards of 3 million PER DAY, which should be enough for Rob Goldklang to have a massive hit. Grateful that Kevin Weatherly put the song into Audacy “Select” this week—another step toward a Top 10 song at Alt. Why does it have to be this difficult? This is the #1 question discussed among my peers.

Radio’s unwillingness to play much new music clearly puts our label friends’ jobs in jeopardy. This is a problem. Why wouldn’t radio play more new music? What if it actually worked, in combination with playing the library that we all know inside and out? What if radio were more than background noise? If I programmed a radio station, I’d feature currents, both new and tested, and do whatever I had to do to set up the next generation of listeners, even if it means I played Weezer every few hours to keep my kid happy.

What joy to spend the weekend listening to SiriusXMU, which featured Vampire Weekend nonstop from Friday through Monday. If only I had figured out how to get to Austin for the band’s performance during the eclipse! Only God Was Above Us is a genius album, with “Mary Boone” and “Capricorn” leading the way as my favorite tracks. The band is also playing songs that influenced them, including a selection from The Durutti Column and every music nerd’s favorite, “Outdoor Miner” by Wire.

The wishlist of people I’d like to meet in this lifetime is minimal. I’ve already met Neil Diamond, which was a huge thrill. I met Bruce Springsteen years ago, during a rehearsal for the Human Touch tour in 1992, along with Garett Michaels, who was programming a Top 40 station in Indianapolis. I happened to be at a party with him on Saturday night and politely reintroduced myself, mentioning that in 1973 I’d translated Greetings From Asbury Park into Latin. I wasn’t sure how to be a fan back then—pre-social media and camera phones. This seemed like an appropriate yet deeply awkward way to proclaim my fandom. I mentioned that I’d seen him in Cleveland, introduced onstage at the Richfield Coliseum by Kid Leo, who was wearing a long leather duster coat. Kid Leo was everything in Cleveland—I was a local college music director happily playing Wire records, but even I was struck by his presence.

Where are the larger-than-life radio personalities? I grew up wanting to be Meg Griffin, whom we also talked about. We had a nice chat about Bruce’s recent stint on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He was given the direction, “Larry gave you COVID,” and the rest was ad-libbed. The show on Sunday at the Forum was amazing—always happy to see The Boss, forever and ever.

On Monday, Amanda and Ayelet invited a bunch of us, including radio folks from San Francisco and Las Vegas, to hear the new Glass Animals album, I Love You So Fucking Much. I remember how then-KRBZ PD Lazlo championed this band during its earliest days. Gene Sandbloom too. Now, with album four, everybody is excited about what’s ahead, including the genius single “Creatures in Heaven.” What absolute bliss!

While you’re at Coachella this weekend, I’ll be seeing Peter Frampton at the Greek. When I was 14, Frampton was my Taylor Swift. I loved him as much as I loved Todd Rundgren and The Who. Next week, it’s off to Coachella to see The Japanese House, The Beths, Bleachers, RAYE, The Last Dinner Party, Blur, Faye Webster, bar italia and Jungle.


By Karen Glauber

Patti Smith played at the Disney Concert Hall four years go, the day before everybody’s world shut down from COVID. On the occasion of Women’s History Month, she had this to say: “I read that it’s the Month of the Woman. That’s really nice and all, but being a girl myself, I thought, one fucking month?” So here we are, one fucking month.

At SXSW this year (my 36th, but who’s counting), I was on a panel moderated by Ted Cohen, and when I brought up the fact that I was recently able to tell one of my more problematic A&M bosses from 30+ years ago how terribly and condescendingly he treated me (his response was, “Well, at least you got something out of it”), so many women attending the panel were telling stories about their problematic male bosses.

Years ago, I predicted that #MeToo would solve nothing and that gender inequality would always exist UNLESS it was the women in executive positions hiring other women and protecting them. A recently emerged feminist anthem, Paris Paloma’s “Labour,” is already at 100m streams on Spotify and has generated countless covers on TikTok. Liz Erman at Nettwerk turned me on to this song, and you should definitely be aware of it.

Honestly, there are several massively streaming songs that EVERY programmer should be playing right now. The first is Michael Marcagi’s “Scared to Start,” which will be at 100m streams when I wake up tomorrow, streaming over 2.5m per day. You should’ve played Noah Kahan months before you eventually capitulated. Stop fighting these huge streaming records that target your demo. Good Neighbours’ “Home” is another slam dunk for you. This London duo, now shepherded at radio by Robbie Lloyd, is everything an Alt programmer could want, including whistling. It’s easily one of the most programmable songs of the year, boasting a memorable sing-along chorus with a lyrical sentiment that even you can relate to. Another undeniable single, Djo’s “End of Beginning,” is already over 225m Spotify streams. Djo is Joe Keery from Stranger Things, a favorite TV show for the younger part of your demo. This song is two and a half minutes of perfection.

The other most-obvious song is Cigarettes After Sex’s latest, “Tejano Blue,” which is already at 11m Spotify streams. It’s certainly the sexiest song of this bunch, a testimony to singer Greg Gonzalez’s genius. When John Allers declares “Tejano Blue” to be a “radio” song and adds it at Live105, it’s time to take notice. The band’s two Kia Forum shows are nearly sold out, and the ticket counts overall are incredible. Josh Venable’s daughter told him that all of her friends are obsessed with “Tejano Blue,” hence his add this week at WZNE Rochester. Also on board are 91X, WEQX, KROX, WGBJ, WWWX, Music Choice, WJMZ and, importantly, Alt Nation. Here’s to our friends at Partisan on their continued success with this band.

At Kris Gillespie’s urging, I saw my new favorite band at SXSW. Fat Dog reminded me of classic Foetus from the mid-’80s, and I caught them at FLOODfest, hosted by our friend Aaron Axelsen. Also memorable was Partisan’s Angélica Garcia, whose single “Color De Dolor” reminds me of Kate Bush. What a gorgeous voice and stunning presence! It wouldn’t be SXSW unless I followed (stalked) a band during the time I was there. In the past, I’ve been obsessed with Calexico, The Polyphonic Spree, Aqualung, Patti Smith, Todd Rundgren, Aurora, The Airborne Toxic Event and Lo Moon. This year marked the return of Lo Moon, whose new record is coming out on Thirty Tigers. I could see this band play every day and be blissfully happy. Matt Lowell’s voice is reminiscent of Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis (RIP).

Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws played a few acoustic shows, including songs from the band’s upcoming album on New West. Nada Surf is invited to play the When We Were Young festival in Las Vegas in October. My kid now likes emo (and Weezer), but I’m hoping we survive Coachella first.

SONG TO HEAR (AGAIN): Nation of Language’s “Weak in Your Light,” which is now #2 on the Alt Nation Alt18 Countdown!


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.


By Karen Glauber

When we were last together, way back in 2023, I was able to give my kid the best Hanukkah gift ever: their own meet & greet with Lovejoy before the band played KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Xmas. It took 10 seconds—enough to capture a photo—but it made Julian as happy as I’ve ever seen.

Soon after, I left for Mexico, where I stayed out of the sun and read eight books in three days. My favorite book was Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky, who is also the drummer of Cigarettes After Sex, the ALTERNATIVE band whose single “Apocalypse” has over ONE BILLION streams. KROQ played the song in 2017; it was one of my favorite adds of all time.

As the new year commenced, I had a positive attitude about what was ahead—until Randy Malloy, the owner of WWCD, Columbus, whom I’ve worked with for 30+ years, told me that the station was going away, UNLESS he can raise $1.5 million to buy the tower. The guys he’s been leasing the “stick” from want to increase the rent exponentially because they think they can do it better themselves. Hubris at play.

What they don’t realize, which Randy has made clear in social-media posts, is that Randy owns the intellectual property rights for all of it. If the station goes away, it will TRULY go away. Vultures, some formerly known to the station, are circling to pick off the parts. This is a big deal for many reasons: WWCD is one of the true independently owned stations in our format. Also, Columbus is the second-largest city in the Midwest (after Chicago), with a median age of 32.5 (our demo). The station has a 1.9 share with an AM signal.

Randy has pulled the proverbial rabbit out of his hat before, so I have faith in him and the station’s incredible employees, including Tom Butler, Laura Lee, Andrea Marcus and the devoted on-air staff.

The Alternative chart hasn’t moved in a month, which is fine by me because both Bleachers and The 1975 are in the Top 10. God bless.

It’s raining men at the format, with Foo Fighters’ latest, “The Glass,” #1 Most Added this week, from their Grammy-nominated album But Here We Are. As of 1/12, The Black Keys will be soaking in the good will from everybody’s holiday shows with their latest, “Beautiful People.” The song sounds like a big fat hit that even their good friend Ivanka Trump would understand. Don’t get me wrong—I love The Black Keys, although it was a bit unsettling to see Ivanka hanging out with Patrick at Beach Fest in Ft. Lauderdale.

The hang that everybody (well, me) wants to see is Mumford and Sons as the musical guest at the Louis Vuitton men’s fashion show in Paris. If you pay attention to these things, then you’ll know that the band’s collaborator on their new single, “Good People,” is also the designer of said fashion show. If you answer correctly, there’s a “Speedy” bag on its way to you, courtesy of Glassnote’s Michael Starr.

The beginning of the year is also a time to focus on mental health. This topic is near and dear to our friends in Papa Roach, who are donating 100% of all revenue from their latest single, “Leave a Light On (Talk Away the Dark),” to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Based on the song’s massive success at Active, the band has already donated $155k to the AFSP. “Leave a Light On” was #2 Most Added last week, with 25 stations playing the song. Unlike most rock songs, this one is streaming, with 437k per week and 15.3M global streams to date. It reminds me of being 15 years old, listening to Billy Joel’s “Vienna” on repeat.

SONG TO HEAR: Alvvays’ “Belinda Says” (nominated for a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance)

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