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By Karen Glauber

“You grind your teeth and your blood pressure is on the cusp of being worrisome,” said my doctor, as he listed the myriad reasons why my cluster migraines have spiked in recent months. “Otherwise, your health is unremarkable”—which from him is a compliment. The next question he asked surprised me: “Has your job changed in recent months? Is it more stressful than usual?” My doctor, like most of the people I work with, can’t quite define what it is I “do.”

Last week, at Bishop Briggs’ record-release show/celebration, the star of the evening hugged me and said, “You’ve been there from the beginning.” By “there,” she meant that Ted and I launched her radio campaign more than two years ago, rather than referring to the fact that I’ve been working in the Modern Rock realm since the dawn of time. A friend said that I’m a “lobbyist for bands,” minus the martini lunches and Michael Kors suits. 

The dozen or so Memorial Day weekends I spent in D.C. for the HFStival seem like a lifetime ago. Unfortunately, it’s the “summer radio show” that is straining longstanding relationships and causing infinite Sturm und Drang among us. Every market with an airport is now home to a summer festival, with radius clauses extending from a few counties to multiple surrounding states. The bands that qualify for the top lines on a festival poster are the same bands that radio has been targeting for their summer shows. Festival promoters are often in a position to offer top-tier bands significantly more money than a radio station. How do we, as advocates for both the programmers, whose airplay is critical to our existence, and the protectors of the artists, whose music is our reason for living, balance the two?

It helps if the radio station is in a position to pay the artist within the ballpark of their market rate, regardless of the return argument that said artist’s market value is the sole result of radio support. Should the band/label cover the expense of playing a one-off show so that a radio station can make money? Definitely maybe. I am quick to proclaim that I “refuse to reward bad behavior,” but the truth is that we all cave on occasion. As long as the Mediabase chart remains our weekly report card, bad behavior is just another cost of doing business.

Radio shows need to be part of most artists’ marketing plans—when and where to do them and how to make them financially viable for all parties, with touring cycles planned accordingly. Based on recent conversations, there will be an abundance of “headliner” bands available for Xmas shows, as long as we can survive the turbulence of the next few months…

Congrats to the RED team, especially our old friend Scott Burton, on reaching #1 with lovelytheband’s “Broken.” This is the third indie-label #1 at Modern Rock this year, and certainly the first of many for this band. Ted knew this song was a smash from first listen—he and I have completely different “ears” when it comes to picking the hits, which makes for lively debate in the HITS compound. I am confident that Cigarettes After Sex’s “Apocalypse” is the sleeper hit of 2018, my opinion bolstered by Alt Nation and XMU’s incredible research on the song, plus the huge impact that KROQ support has had on streaming and single sales in L.A. As Ted mentions in his column, The Wombats single “Turn” is Alt Nation’s #1 song right now. I treat Jeff Regan’s metrics as the single most valuable tool in my promotional arsenal. His track record is nearly unimpeachable…

These are the records you need to address: Mt. Joy’s “Silver Lining” (#1 Shazam in the ’burbs after one week of airplay on KNRK), and “Higher Ground” by Odesza, whose Coachella performance was among the highlights of many of our radio friends’ festival experiences… Sofi Tukker’s “Baby I’m a Queen” is an even more obvious Alt hit than “Best Friend”—I’m obsessed…

AJR’s brand new song “Burn the House Down” is nearing 6 million Spotify streams after three weeks. Our add date is May 1, but most of you don’t want to wait that long… Tell me something good: Karen.Glauber@hitsmagazine.com

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