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The album was a major hit at college stations (a market then still largely below the radar of major labels) and garnered commercial airplay in some markets, such as WXRT in Chicago and WHFS, located in Annapolis but heard in Baltimore and Washington. Although R.E.M. was far outselling The dBs, the tour demonstrated that, at least in some markets, the two bands were running neck and neck in audience response, both at the shows and at radio.
However, the lack of support at Warner Brothers meant that other markets were unlikely to be cracked. A brief West Coast trip in late fall was met with total indifference (and lack of promotion) on the part of the parent company. The dBs had put out an album at the tail end of the Bearsville/Warner relationship, and the strength of the album at college radio was outweighed by the fact that the big company no longer had any ties with Bearsville, who owned the masters.
The video for "Amplifier" was sent to MTV, then well into its rise as an essential marketing outlet. The song deals in a rather lighthearted way with suicide and the video features Peter singing with a noose around his neck, and just about the time it was made available there was a rash of high-profile teenage suicides and subsequent public handwringing. MTVs knee-jerk reaction was that the video was inappropriate in such an environment. Walter Williams quickly added an introduction by Mr. Bill telling kids not to really kill themselves, but the channel still refused to air it more than once or twice late at night.
Promotional copies of an extended remix of "A Spy in the House of Love" (also including "Amplifier") were sent to radio, without noticeable success.
Commercial airplay in Chicago made that city the biggest market for The dBs, who sold out and were broadcast live from the Metro, a club holding over a thousand patrons, in December. Chicago remained a frequently visited dBs stronghold thereafter, thanks to WXRT and various area college stations.
Furthermore, as 1984 ended both The dBs and their booking agent were in the process of extracting themselves from involvement with Bob Singerman (then manager of the band and business partner of agent Frank Riley), which left The dBs temporarily without access to Rileys services. December saw the band playing shows booked by another agency, leading to some very strange gigs (capped by playing a former strip club in Cleveland).
1984s last show was at Irving Plaza, with Alex Chilton opening and joining The dBs for an encore of his "Jesus Christ" for seasonal purposes. Rick Wagner was let go after this show.