Chatting With Stuart from Sounds of Broadway
If you’re on this page, you probably love showtunes.
Sounds of Broadway is a 24/7 online Broadway radio station which plays music from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and West End musicals!
With a database of 5000 songs from over 650 musicals, you’re sure to hear old and new favourites as they feature well-known tunes, classics, and hidden gems.
The station also offers a variety of different programs!
Every night from 8-10PM Eastern Standard Time is the station’s all-request show, where you can reach out to hear your favourite songs. On Fridays at 8PM EST, their Curtain Up program features a full cast recording from start to finish.
The station also offers weekly specialty programs such as The Best Overtures, The Best Of Forbidden Broadway, as well as a composer series. They also have a weekly Broadway trivia quiz on their website.
This weekend I had a chance to talk with Stuart Brown, the creative behind the station about all things Sounds of Broadway!
What inspired you to start Sounds of Broadway?
I have been involved with radio for many years, going back to probably 1977, when I was a college DJ. After graduating, I still kept my foot in the door because a lot of college radio stations rely on community members, so it’s not always just college students. When I moved up to Connecticut from college, there was a college nearby and I did an hourly show there for over 25 years.
But I’ve always wanted to have my own radio station where I could program it and do all of that, but when there’s bad weather out or I’m lazy, I don’t want to drive to the station, I don’t have to because I have the station right here. There is software out there that all you need is a computer and a microphone, and of course you need the content, and you can create your own radio station.
So, that’s what I did. Sounds of Broadway is 24/7 Off-Broadway, Broadway, London stage, we have a lot of other features on the station.
I just wanted to in a sense become my own boss as opposed to having to deal within the structure of a radio station.
Why Broadway music?
I have been going to the Broadway theatre, I hate to say this, for about 50 years. Five-Zero.
My first show I ever went to by myself was a show called Grease. It was the original production of Grease. My friend and I went into New York with what were called “toofers” which were coupons that you could go in for a show and get half price tickets but unfortunately, the show we went to had closed. So we’re wandering around Times Square, these two high school freshmen, deciding what to see. My friend pointed to the marquee of Grease and I didn’t really want to see it, he convinced me. It was the funniest, most tuneful show. We paid full price which was under $8 for an orchestra seat - Full price orchestra, $8. But then, 50 years ago. Because of that experience, I kept going. I just love live theatre, musicals, the interaction, the songs… That’s how I sort of gravitated towards Broadway music.
I will say in college I had two shows. I had a three hour Broadway radio show, and I had a three hour - back then it was called new wave, now it’s called alternative, but I had a three hour new wave. So all the artists that were starting out like Blondie, The Cars, U2… I was playing all these records in college. I do love rock and new wave, but Broadway is more my passion, so that’s where the Broadway station comes in.
Do you have a favourite musical?
Tough question. I usually answer that by saying I have a Top Ten.
Grease is still up there, The Producers, I also have a Canadian show Come From Away… Anything Goes. There are a couple Off-Broadway musicals Murder For Two and Enter, Laughing.
So those are some of my favourite Broadway musicals.
I know that you have a lot of different segments on the station, what’s your favourite segment?
I think my favourite is every night from 8-10PM EST I have an all-requests program. The reason I like that is because nowadays, you can’t make requests. Any station, college, terrestrial, online, you call the DJ and get in touch - The odds of having your song played are next to nothing. I know a lot of people like Broadway, and they have their favourites. So, I want to give people the time that they can go in, I have 4800 songs from 650 musicals, I’m almost going to guarantee: Any show you can think of, I’m going to have a song, or your song. You can make requests during the show or at any point during the day. You wake up in the morning and you have an inkling for Lil’ Abner. You could go on at 8, 9 in the morning, make a request, and it will be played that evening.
You can also make multiple requests if you want.
It’s a way to connect with the audience, this isn’t just my station, I want to make this a station for everyone.
When it comes to these requests, is there a song or show that you see more often?
No, I think it really depends because the people you tune into the station are going to be anywhere from - I have no way of knowing, but from tweens up to older adults. So people from all different age levels will have different connecting points to shows. Some people might be going for the earlier works from the 1940s or 50s, and other people, for a lot of teenages, show music or Broadway doesn’t begin until the year 2000, everything before 2000 is more unknown. So, you’re going to have more recent music I would say.
That’s nice, you get to share the old stuff and showcase the new stuff!
In my real life I am the Dean of Students at a college. So, what I like to say with Sounds of Broadway is I want to entertain, but I also want to educate. I want people to listen, to explore, to hear music they’ve never heard of but is great music. I like to give some fun facts about shows.
If you want to listen to a specific, let’s say timeframe, you will not be happy with Sounds of Broadway. I’ll start off with something from Wicked, then go back to Oklahoma, then do maybe Fiddler On The Roof, and put Hamilton in, then a flop that might have a great song.
I want to help people who are interested in exploring and learning about different shows.
If you had to pick one cast recording to listen to on repeat for the rest of your life, which one would you pick?
I will say the musical Promises, Promises and that had a score by Burt Bacharach and Hal David who wrote so many huge hits in the 60s and probably 70s, but mostly 60s. It was their only Broadway musical, unfortunately. They have a lot of great pop songs, it has Jerry Orbach singing…. I’ll go with Promises, Promises.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Like I said, I curate the playlists, so it’s not some machine that’s just randomly selecting. If people have comments, or want to get in touch with me, what I like to say on the station is I read every email, I answer every email. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org so people can feel free to contact me.
I would also say to explore the website or the app because we have a lot of things, there’s a weekly trivia quiz, we just started a feature every Friday night called Curtain Up where we air a complete cast recording. So there’s a lot of information there.
And also, to tell all their friends! Spread the word on social media!
You can find more about Sounds of Broadway here:
You can also connect with the station by downloading the app for Apple and Android devices, as well as on Amazon Echo.