Ann Thatcher from The Balcony
The Balcony Show is a great show aired on various internet radios and platforms, and focused on showcasing indie music of all kind, with airplay and interviews. Music Talks asked Ann Thatcher about the show, how it came to be and what is happening under the hood to bring great indie music to the public week after week
MT: Hi Ann, could you tell our readers about you and what you do?
Anne: Hello Ghost, I am the host of The Balcony Show. Our show features music and interviews from independent artists all over the world. We like to have conversations with artists in a fun environment. Each show begins with a hashtag that is answered. Kind of a spin on “The Great Karnak” from “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.
MT: When did you start The Balcony show and what motivated you to do it?
Anne: I started The Balcony Show about four years ago after going out and listening to live music. Then someone gave me their cd and I thought wow! Why is this not on the radio? After some research I found that at the time there was not a lot of shows in my area. So, my former co-host and I decided to start a show.
MT: Did you have prior experience in radio before that?
Anne: No. I had taken a few classes in college, but I am a retired Correctional Officer. I wanted to do something really positive.
MT: What is your first radio-related memory?
Anne: Wow! Lol I remember car rides with music blasting. A beach with a jukebox and the feeling you got as a kid when that quarter would roll down and you would find your favorite song.
MT: Where does the name of the show (The Balcony) comes from?
Anne: The Balcony Show got its name from the two Muppets in the balcony. I thought it was funny and we could bring a whole different vibe to interviews on the indie scene.
MT: Do you do live shows, or do you pre-record?
A: Our first few shows where done live, but we now are fully produced and pre-recorded.
MT: Do you have live acts during your shows?
A: We have. And I wouldn’t say that I would not do that again, however, I want to put an example of the bands best work forward. I see both the pros and cons of live but in my experience for several reasons a pre-recorded show is better.
MT: Do you do artists interviews?
A: Yes, each week we feature one band on our show with an interview and three of their songs. We also have a short Spotlight where we give artists with a single to come on and do a short synapsis of their song and then we play it. The Spotlight is also used for former artists to return to our show with new music. We also play music from all of our previous guests on each show.
MT: Your show airs and is syndicated on various radios and platforms, do you also air on FM/AM? Where can we find you?
Anne: The Balcony Show is aired on DJC Global, Alien X Radio, New Visions Radio, and Indie Star Nation. We are also on 12 listening platforms including Apple Itunes, Iheart Media, Spreaker, Spotify, SoundCloud…etc. We would love the opportunity to air on FM/AM!
MT: Are you alone running the show, or do you have people helping?
Anne: I set up the shows, scout the music, upload shows and do all the promotion for our show. Andrew my co-host and producer records the shows and puts them together.
MT: Is the show in a special studio or are you running it from home?
Anne: Yes, Midnight Studios in Easton, Pa.
MT: How much time do you spend preparing your shows?
Anne: Hours! There is a lot of work that goes into building a show.
MT: Do you play unsigned music only or also commercial music?
Anne: No. Absolutely not! I am turning artists away now. I have 51 shows a year and although I love main stream music, I won’t play it unless they have been on my show.
MT: What kind of music do you play?
Anne: We are a multi genre show and I like that. The Balcony Show covers many genre’s and will continue to. The only exception is explicit material and that for me is more of a personal choice.
MT: What kind of music do you like?
Anne: I like all kinds of music! Each genre has its own sound unique to it. I think it’s like drinking wine you want to try all kinds and broaden your scope.
MT: How do you find the music you play?
Anne: Currently, I have a waiting list to get on our show. And believe me when I say I am grateful. However, I am always listening to new music. Sometimes, something will come up in my news feed on FB or Twitter and I will reach out.
MT: Do you have sponsors? How is the show funded?
Anne: Currently no. That is something I need to work on.
MT: Could you tell us about your typical radio day?
Anne: I set up all the music for the show. Which means I look for music amongst my artists that will flow together to give the show a cohesiveness. I check and recheck to see that I have everything I need before I walk in to the studio. Once I have everything I head down to the studio. I stop for coffee for my co-hosts and sometimes other food and refreshments. We are kind of a family at the studio so Tuesday’s being our night is something we all look forward to. Once I am there, Midnight Studios LLC. Is a full production studio so the rest is kind of easy and familiar. As I have said many times, we love what we do! Overseas interviews are done via FB Messenger or Skype. If an artist is close enough, they come to the studio.
MT: What is your feeling about streaming platforms, like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, etc.?
Anne: Personally, I think they do not pay the artists enough for streaming their music. But, on the other hand they are an avenue for getting their music heard.
MT: How much presence do you have on social media? Do you think it’s important to be there and what do you do to promote your radio?
Anne: I am on social media every day. I try and share new info from my artists as much as I can. I also do what I call “A Play A Day” on Twitter which features one song by one of our show’s former guests. It is extremely important to use as many platforms as possible for me to get the music out there. If you want to grow something, in my case a show, you have to work at it every day.
MT: What advice would you give to unsigned artists who would like to submit to your show?
Anne: PRODUCTION is everything. Remember you are not competing with your next-door neighbor and if you really want to make it in this business then you have to invest in yourself. Your music is your calling card. Honestly, it makes me sad to hear really good talent on a bad production. I won’t play it, I can’t play it.
MT: What advice would you give to unsigned artists for their career?
Anne: Remember this is a business. Therefore, you have to treat it like a business. Do the work, bring your best, look professional, promote yourself, and leave your ego at the door.
MT: Do you have any issues with the world of unsigned music, or the world of internet radios, things that bugs you and/or you’d like to talk about?
Anne: In my opinion all internet stations should have to pay licensing after a period of time so that artists receive royalties.
MT: Do you think you get enough support from your listeners and the artists you play?
Anne: Listeners could help by purchasing merchandise from their favorite bands, shows, and stations. As far as support from artists, yes, it is always nice when they help promote the show but without their music, I have no show. I am grateful for the opportunity to share their music.
MT: Any band/artist that has impressed you last year that you would like people to know about?
Anne: Wow! First of all, they all impressed me or they would not be on our show. Personally yes. Madison Mueller from Canada, Kerry Goodhind from the UK, The Rewind, The Condriacs, Camel Juice, Guy Paul Thibault, Brandon Maddox, After Alice, Leah Fuls, Verity White, Mack Meadows, Leaders in The Clubhouse, Rofo Audio for just being amazing people. I could go on and on…
MT: Any plans for The Balcony and Ann Thatcher in 2019? Or beyond?
Anne: My hope is to continue to grow and reach more listeners. My goal is to get our show on AM/FM or Sirius radio in the future.
MT: Anything else you’d want to add?
Anne: I would like to thank you Ghostly Beard and Music Talks for the opportunity of this interview. I hope that I get to continue on this journey bringing our listeners amazing music. Thank you to all of the artists that have graced us with their music and continue to support our show. Thank you to my co-host and producer at Midnight Studios LLC. Andrew Chervak, for the production of our show and sharing the ride. And thank you to our Spotlight co-host Emily Noel for adding a bright spot to our show. On a personal note I believe in the magic of independent music, because it speaks to the best of who we are as human beings. So, I will continue to send it out there as far as I can because you never know who is listening.
Thanks a lot Ann for letting us know a bit more about your show and yourself and read a bit about what’s happening on the balcony! 😊
LINKS TO THE BALCONY SHOW