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Adele’s Record Radio Start With ‘Easy on Me’: ‘She Is an Artist Who Transcends Format’

As previously reported, Adele‘s “Easy on Me” blasts to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (dated Oct. 30), following its first full week of tracking.

Among its many feats, the ballad makes a record-setting start at radio.

The single, the first from Adele’s fourth studio album, 30, due Nov. 19, bounds onto the Radio Songs chart at No. 4 with 65 million radio airplay audience impressions in the Oct. 15-21 tracking week, according to MRC Data (following its Oct. 14 release on Columbia Records). It scores the highest debut since the chart became an all-format ranking in December 1998, besting the No. 6 launch of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” in February 2011.

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Among individual formats (and reflecting airplay in the week ending Oct. 24), “Easy” rises 6-4 on Adult Contemporary, a week after it became the first non-holiday song to begin in the top 10 since the chart adopted MRC Data information in 1993, and surges 14-6 on Adult Pop Airplay; 33-6 on Adult Alternative Airplay; 21-14 on Pop Airplay; and 29-20 on Adult R&B Airplay.

Upon its chart entrance, programmers in multiple formats playing the song are already predicting its continued strong presence.

“It’s another Adele mega-smash that will stand against her other greatest hits,” says Erik Bradley, music director at Audacy-owned KNOU Los Angeles and assistant program director/md at WBBM-FM Chicago, both of which report to the Pop Airplay chart. “Easy” was the ninth-most-played song on both stations in the tracking week, with 56 and 71 detections, respectively.

Adele “adds a level of class and artistic depth to pop radio today,” praises Bradley, who’s “thrilled to have her back on the air with a song that is quickly at the top of every important metric that I evaluate for current music.”

In addition to its airplay, “Easy” drew 53.9 million U.S. streams and sold 74,000 downloads in the week ending Oct. 21.

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“She’s such a force,” says Alex Tear, SiriusXM and Pandora vp of pop music and programming, describing the track’s impact as “immediate and overwhelming.” “Easy” was the most-played song on SiriusXM’s Venus (113) and the sixth-most-spun on Hits 1 (82) in its first week, with both channels also contributing to the Pop Airplay chart.

Adele boasts 10 entries on Pop Airplay, dating to her first, “Rolling in the Deep,” which led for five weeks in 2011. She most recently reigned, for the fourth time, with “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” in 2016.

“As we’ve come to expect, new music from Adele is a happening. It’s an event,” says Russ Borris, WFUV New York music director. The Fordham University-owned Adult Alternative Airplay chart reporter played the song 25 times in the tracking week, placing it in a tie for the station’s top title in that span. While noting the challenge of measuring up to the expectations for such a release, “That voice more than does its part,” he marvels. “‘Easy on Me’ is classic-sounding, with a throwback ’70s singer-songwriter feel. It stands out.”

The song becomes Adele’s 10th Adult Alternative Airplay top 10. She first appeared on the chart when “Chasing Pavements” bowed in August 2008.

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Adele also earns her second entry on Adult R&B Airplay, after “Hello” dominated for a week in February 2016.

“Adele has once again shown that she is an artist who transcends format,” muses Keith Solis, director of music programming at Adult R&B Airplay panelist KRNB Dallas. The Service Broadcasting Corporation-owned station played “Easy” 14 times in the tracking week.

“It has quickly become one of the most-requested and talked-about songs … it totally fits our radio station,” says Solis, who adds that the song’s lyrics mark another reason for its instant connection with listeners. “I think that with all that has happened in the world over the past year-and-a-half, it’s a song that people can use to relate to whatever their situation may be.”

“If you know about pop culture and how big of an influence Adele has, you will understand” the song’s spot on adult R&B radio, echoes Brian Robinson, pd at Beasley Media Group’s WBAV Charlotte, N.C., which played “Easy” 15 times in the chart week. “She makes songs that reflect on her past relationships, which is so real and organic.”

After adding “Easy” to the station, Robinson “had a few strange looks from staff, but after it played a few times, listeners kept requesting it.

“She makes records for the masses.”