In late May — just before Spotify exec from influential radio programmer Kevin Weatherly returned to Los Angeles alt-rock station KROQ after a two-year stretch with Spotify — an old friend, Warner Records’ Mike Chester, called in. That time, thanks to Netflix’s fourth season’ strange things, Kate Bush’s 1985 single “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” was inappropriately turning into a contemporary streaming hit. “I know you haven’t started yet,” Chester, the label’s executive vice president of commerce and promotion, told Weatherly. “But it’s wild. And you’re the one who’ll get it.”
Weatherly added “Running Up That Hill” to the KROQ rotation even before he began his job as Senior VP Programming for Audacity Station. Soon, other top programmers did the same, including Beta Murphy of KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, Mark Adams of KYLD in San Francisco, and Mike McCoy of iHeartmedia in Columbus, Ohio. In a matter of days, thanks to strong streaming and sales, Bush’s track—which peaked at number 30 in its mid-80s on the Billboard Hot 100— peaked at number 4 on the chart. The only obstacle left for it to become a massive smash at the level of Harry Styles was to overcome it on the radio. Chester reported to his boss, Tom Corson, the label’s president and COO, and said: “We got one.” He adds, “It was becoming clear that it was bigger than all of us.”
Although the track’s streaming numbers have declined recently—down 12.5% in the official US stream from last week, according to Luminet—the abundant radio airplay has more than compensated for the dip, leading to “Running Up the Hill”. It has become an even bigger hit than during that time. peak of strange things Propagation in May and June. For the August 6 chart, the track peaked at number 3 on the Hot 100 for a second week, and climbed from number 10 to number 7. BoardList of radio songs of the year, up 17%, to 48.4 million impressions. Crossover to massive radio success is rare for recent viral catalog hits – from Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” to Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” on TikTok by 2020 Batman In the same for Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” earlier this year strange things Seasons last month, neither of which have made it to radio songs in this decade — made “Running Up the Hill” a kind of unicorn.
“Somehow we are able to overcome this” strange things moment,” says Chester. “It’s crossed over and bridged to passive audiences.” Adds Audacity’s senior VP of programming Michael Martin, as well as program director for pop station [email protected], in San Francisco, Which, according to Luminet, has played the track 1,100 times more than any other station – “It’s a rarity. This happens very rarely and in between.”
Radio programmers continue to successfully test “Hill” in callout research, in which they play snippets of songs to listeners, along with other potential playlist staples. In addition, it is unusually strong on several top radio formats, rising from number 5 to number 3 this week on the alternative airplay chart and from number 10 to number 8 on the pop airplay chart.
“The audience is not tired of this,” says Martin. “I heard it on pop radio on the Doja Cat record, I heard it on the Ed Sheeran record debating Hot AC, and I heard it on the alternative debate in Glass Animals — and it sounds great.”
Like many radio giants, Tom Polman, iHeart’s chief programming officer, remembers airing “Running Up That Hill” on rock and alternative stations in the 80s and 90s. But the radio activity at that time was nothing compared to the previous few weeks. “It was a great song to start with. Sometimes you need a spark to ignite some songs. You need something to surface it,” he says. “Very for the time being Things just have to be right. strange things Put it in the spotlight and we just jumped at that pace. He adds that the track is in power rotation, or airs frequently, on “a significant portion of our Top 40 stations”.
Although Poleman believes the song is starting to “burn a little” after a month and a half, like any contemporary smash that has dominated pop culture, Warner’s Chester expects it to still number on the Hot 100. will reach 1. Got foot,” he says. “It’s going nowhere. It went into power rotation on KIIS-FM. It plays next to Lizzo every hour. Kate Bush is more relevant now than ever.”
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Reference from www.billboard.com