Below is a bit of information about the goings on with “The Cheap Seats” studio, by Bill O’Niell.
Catering to musicians and fans, “The Cheap Seats” is a weekly program that allows independent bands and singers from all over New England a chance for airplay on commercial radio. It offers performers a chance to network and gives the audience a chance to learn tips from musicians and experts in the music industry.
Created by radio personality, Cat , “The Cheap Seats” was broadcast on WKPE (104.7 FM) from 1997 until 2003. It returned to the air on WCIB (101.9 FM; Hyannis, Mass.) in May 2009.
In each Sunday’s two-hour episode (6-8 p.m.), Cat shares song selection with her guests. Typically, a guest musician will play five of their own songs and four songs by other New England performers. Cat chooses the rest of the songs from the hundreds of CDs she receives each year from independent musicians.
Between songs, Cat and her guests talk about that performer’s story, giving musicians who aren’t on a major label the rare chance to be interviewed on a 50,000-watt commercial radio station. Listeners not only hear several songs by a musician they may not have previously encountered, but also have a chance to learn about that musician’s biography and musical preferences. This kind of up-close-and-personal exposure, rare in radio today, helps musicians solidify their fan base in an era when breaking into entertainment is harder than ever.
Most weeks’ episodes also include a segment called “Cheap Talk,” in which Cat and a guest expert discuss topics that are relevant and helpful to up-and-coming musicians. For the many musicians who listen to the show, this is a chance to learn about entertainment law, public relations or other aspects of the music business. For listeners who are not musicians, it’s a chance to get a glimpse behind the scenes of show business.