NJ man uses time during COVID-19 lockdown to create successful soap opera talk show
When the pandemic first hit, many people found themselves out of work, especially in the entertainment and tourism industries.
A Scotch Plains man found himself in that situation and reinvented himself as the host of a successful YouTube talk show.
“For me, I started it initially in April of 2020 because I had been home two weeks, having just been laid off,” says Alan Locher.
Locher was laid off from his job in New York City’s tourism industry. Like so many others, he found himself out of work, at home, isolated and looking for something to do and some way to connect with other people.
Locher found the key to connection and an unexpected self-reinvention in the world of soap operas. From 1997 until 2009, Locher had been the head of public relations for the daytime soaps “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light.”
“And I reached out to a few of the actors from the shows to see if they wanted to say hello to fans and do something online,” he says. “And basically, here we are a year and a half later and 200 episodes later of a show I created really on a whim.”
Soap opera fans are known to be devoted, passionate and nostalgic about their favorite shows. And Locher’s show “The Locher Room” helped to fill that niche.
“Daytime television fans watch their shows five days a week, so these people are family. My shows had been off the air 10 or 11 years and I was really sort of reconnecting them with this family that they terribly missed at this really dark time,” Locher says.
The show expanded beyond soap operas, with Locher interviewing authors, leading voices on social issues, and last week a benefit with “Guiding Light” alumni which raised $25,000 for autism research.
“I mean, I grew up watching ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and Jacklyn Smith – since I was 10 years old, it was my dream and she agreed to sit down with me,” Locher says. “If my parents were alive, it would have been an amazing thing for them to see that moment.”
It is a great lesson of someone who found themselves in isolation and discovered more rewarded than ever expected simply by reaching out.