Ten days before the awards. (1/17a)
Can't hurt to ask, right? (1/16a)
Still killing it. (1/16a)
In 1967, he addressed broadcasters. (1/16a)
OK Boomer, the sequel (1/16a)
More awards-season madness.
Who's next?
The lineup grows.
Oy vey.

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Here are the Mediabase year-end charts for Alternative and Hot AC.


By Karen Glauber

Fueled by my son’s Halloween candy leftovers (the kid hates chocolate, so it’s fair game) and the grande-est matcha latte Coffee Bean is willing to sell me, I’m doing my damnedest not to feel like the personification of Day of the Dead. Tyler, The Creator’s IGOR is helping diffuse some of the existential anxiety that woke me up at 3am (“Earfquake” should have been a Modern Rock hit). I didn’t need a calendar to remind me that Mercury turned retrograde today. In brief, I can’t be held responsible for anything I say until it turns direct on 12/20, but please accept my preemptive apologies.

Since news of Rage Against the Machine’s first concerts since 2011 surfaced on Friday, the band’s Instagram followers have doubled. Will their 2020 Coachella headlining gig mark a return of the rock music-loving crowd to this festival? The news has certainly piqued my interest, and the social-media chatter from radio friends suggests that the return of Rage could be just what the format needs (assuming that new music will follow). To quote my esteemed colleague Simon Glickman, “Considering what the erstwhile Machine has been up to, the decision to resume Raging against it is particularly timely.” Thank you, Tom Morello.

Yesterday, My Chemical Romance announced that their first show since 2012 will be held at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium on 12/20. As expected, the 30-to-40-somethings lost their proverbial shit over the news, much like my fellow 50-somethings did when the 40th anniversary Bauhaus tour dates were announced. I’m just grateful to have seen reunions from Patti Smith, Big Star and Television in my lifetime. While I would have loved to have seen Roxy Music with Brian Eno, or T. Rex circa ’70-73, I’d rather focus on what’s next, although it’s very exciting to see T. Rex on this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ballot.

Many years ago, Marc Bolan’s son Rolan Bolan used to visit the HITS bunker in Sherman Oaks, so I emailed him to see if he’d share his thoughts on his father’s first-time inclusion on the ballot. Here’s what he had to say: “It is truly exciting for my father Marc Bolan and his bandmates to be among this year's nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It has taken some time, but his music has influenced musicians all around the world. From the powerful guitar riffs and mystical lyrics, T. Rex’s music embodied the rush of Beatlemania and the feeling of finding the groove in your own beat. This will be a true honor and a chance to reach a new audience all around the world. Keep a little Marc in your heart.”

Coincidence or not, my favorite new song is “Good Luck” from Broken Bells, which liberally borrows the bassline from T. Rex’s “Mambo Sun.” This is a stellar time for upper-demo songs, whether it’s the new Coldplay, Mumford and Sons’ latest, The Lumineers’ “Life in the City,” Beck’s subtly brilliant “Uneventful Day” or Vampire Weekend’s “Sunflower.” These are the songs I want to hear RIGHT NOW. Also, if you have a spare half hour, listen to the new Rex Orange County record. There’s a reason why Dennis Blair and Artie Gentile are so passionate about this artist!

I hate to report format upheaval, but here goes: CumulusKHTB Salt Lake flipped Thursday from Alt to Pop (now simulcasting Power 101.9 with the moniker Power 94.9). Toby Ryan exited his MD/PM drive gig at 101X Austin after 23+ years. WRMR Wilmington PD Laura Lee was downsized out of a gig this week. WGMP Montgomery MD Emily Hayes exited a few weeks ago. KVIL Dallas MD Lindsey Martin will exit of her own accord to join Atlantic Records’ promo team, based in Charlotte. The future is female, although that doesn’t appear to be the case in Alternative radio. I’m counting on Lisa Worden, Michael Martin, Troy Hanson, Mike Kaplan and the other gatekeepers to “change the conversation,” as my friend Leslie Fram advocates.

SONG TO HEAR: Peach Pit, “Feeling Low” (see them on tour with Two Door Cinema Club)


By Karen Glauber

This was a banner week for announcements: First, iHeart announced the lineup for ALTer Ego ’20, to be held in L.A. on 1/18, and featuring Billie Eilish, The Black Keys, blink-182, The Lumineers, Rex Orange County, Shaed (“& more,” according to the poster). The first four acts listed could sell out the Forum in a heartbeat, so this show will be sold out before we wake up Saturday morning. Congrats to Lisa Worden and the iHeart team for another epic lineup.

Up the coast, where earthquakes have been rocking and rolling the region, ALT 105.3 announced the lineup for their annual Not So Silent Night, which will be in San Jose this year on 12/7, and includes Mumford & Sons, twenty one pilots, The Raconteurs, The 1975, Of Monsters and Men and White Reaper. Those are some major “gets,” and I love the proliferation of guitars in this lineup. Take that, “Dance Monkey.”

Thursday, 12/5, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, we’ll be celebrating ALT 92.3’s iteration of Not So Silent Night, where our beloved Mumford & Sons will be joined by Vampire Weekend (while “Harmony Hall” is definitely the best song of 2019, new single “Sunflower” is up there at the top), Cage the Elephant (soon to be #1 with their latest single, “Social Cues”), Jimmy Eat World, Of Monsters and Men, Judah & the Lion (whom I’m seeing tonight at the Wiltern, with openers Flora Cash) and Shaed.

That same week, I’ll be in Portland to see Spoon headline one of Mark Hamilton’s December to Remember evenings (while checking in on my former roomie Gene Sandbloom at Alpha Media). The following week, WKQX launches FIVE nights of The Nights We Stole Christmas with already-sold-out shows that include headliners Cage the Elephant, The 1975, twenty one pilots, Mumford & Sons and 311, and incredible bands like Angels & Airwaves, Bob Moses, I Don’t Know How but They Found Me, Local Natives and Highly Suspect as direct support. I have a hunch which bands might be playing KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas this year, but I would never spoil the surprise. So many guitars this year—very exciting!

More announcements from radioland: KCJK Kansas City flipped to Active Rock this week, which is great news for KRBZ, one of the most important Modern Rock stations in the country, which can focus on doing what they do best: supporting new music. Also, WWYY Allentown has flipped to Country. The station’s studios were less than a mile from my childhood home in Easton, Pa., but I also know that a week’s worth of airplay on a song had less of an audience than one spin in L.A. That is why I haven’t lived in Easton since 1980. Speaking of which, my 40th high school reunion is this Thanksgiving weekend. I bought a ticket to see David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway the same night.

Music was the only thing that got me through my high school years marginally unscathed. Todd Rundgren’s music was my greatest salvation, so, when the announcement of this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees was released, there was a great deal of kvelling on my part to see his name on the ballot. Also included this year are T. Rex, Pat Benatar, MC5, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, Motorhead, Thin Lizzy, The Notorious B.I.G., Kraftwerk, Rufus f/Chaka Khan, Judas Priest, Dave Matthews Band, Whitney Houston and my beloved Soundgarden. Based on influence, every artist on this list deserves to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (especially Todd!).

Beck, another hall of fame-level artist, released TWO new songs yesterday, the first of which, “Uneventful Days” is absolutely what you want in a Beck single. I’ve listened to nothing else in the past 24 hours. Radio should be all over this immediately.



By Karen Glauber

There’s a larger-than-mine footprint on my bedroom wall—the aftermath of my almost 11-year-old son’s attempt to recreate Billie Eilish’s SNL performance of “bad guy.” Julian is her most recent devotee, and he’s almost willing to admit that it’s cool that I first saw her at SXSW in 2018. Almost. His favorite band is still AJR, and he’s suggested (more than once) that we get a dog so he can name him “Winter,” after his favorite song, “Dear Winter.” Once the song is a hit, we have a deal. This weekend, AJR is headlining a sold-out show at Red Rocks, grateful for Nerf, who was the first PD to support “Sober Up,” and scream that it was an Alt hit over two years ago.

In my self-ascribed position as the Dowager of the Modern Rock format, you know that I am forever advising both labels and radio that one of the keys to career longevity is being absolutely dead-right at least twice a year. For every new artist played on the radio, there’s a PD (or PDs) who hears something special, or understands which metrics matter these days, and decides to give the record a shot. And by “shot,” I don’t mean the sort of overnight airplay that has us wondering, “If a song is played in the overnights on a station without a frequency, is it possible that it reaches an audience of less than one?”

Not to digress, but it’s fascinating that some of the stations recently added to the Modern Rock panel don’t have PDs. If I spend my days playing songs on the jukebox at my local coffee shop, can I be a reporter? My “spins” would have a greater impact, that’s for sure. I’ll table the sarcasm for a heartbeat and get back to my point: Be a leader! Appreciate the platform—your mandate is to shift culture and redefine the mainstream. This is ALTERNATIVE radio, dammit!

One glance at the streaming profile of Clairo’s genius single “Bags” should convince you to play this record. Over 15 million streams on Spotify, plus she’s currently headlining a sold-out tour, including an upcoming show at the Wiltern in L.A. SiriusXM's Alt Nation is more than 400 spins deep on “Bags,” with other stations that usually lead the way doing just that: Music Choice, WLKK, KQGO, WLZX, KITS, WLUM, KNDD and WWCD. The phenomenal format success of Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey and Shaed (which is STILL Top 10) has shown (again and again) that female artists can have radio hits on a male-targeted format. The Caroline team behind Shaed is devoted to making this Clairo song the hit we all know it will be.

The Cold War Kids single “Complainer” is shaping up to be the smash we all think it should be. Yay.

“SCIENCE SAYS REGULARLY ATTENDING CONCERTS MAKES YOU HAPPIER” is the headline of an article from Vice.com making the social-media rounds this week. It’s been a blissed-out week of shows, with AJR at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Vampire Weekend at the Hollywood Bowl (“Harmony Hall” is still the best song of 2019), a sold-out Cigarettes After Sex show at the Wiltern (just wait ’til you hear the new album) and Dominic Fike’s triumphant appearance at the El Rey. How lucky are we to have these incredible weekly opportunities to see live music?

“Life in the City,” The Lumineers’ seventh career single at Modern Rock, launched this week with 22 adds! The first six singles were all Top 3 (with five #1s), so I expect this song to follow a similar trajectory. Has any other indie label band had six consecutive Top 3 songs? The part of my brain that deeply cares about chart positions would love to know.

The era of “Spank It or Crank It” at KRAB Bakersfield has reached its conclusion with the departure of PD Danny Spanks. WLZX PD Lenny Diana continues to insist that ROCKTOBER is a thing.

SONG TO HEAR: Cherry Glazerr (f/Portugal. The Man), “Call Me.” This is a one-listen smash.

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