Alan Locher’s YouTube show, THE LOCHER ROOM, which reunites fan faves from all across the daytime dial, marks its first anniversary today, April 2. Here, Locher reveals how the show came to be — and thrived.
Soap Opera Digest: How did you get into soaps?
Alan Locher: I grew up watching AS THE WORLD TURNS and GUIDING LIGHT, and one of the first resumés I sent out was to the ad agency that repped them. When I got out of college — I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in communications — I got a job working for REGIS AND KATHIE LEE. Shortly after I started with them, Disney bought the show and syndicated them and I went to work for Disney and I basically learned PR working for them. For me, when I left Disney, I spent a year at a PR agency and I think I might have applied to the ad agency again and they didn’t have a job but said they would keep my resumé on file. And then Mickey Dwyer-Dobbin came in to Procter & Gamble and restructured the marketing department and that’s when I was brought in.
Digest: How long were you there?
Locher: I was there for 12 ½ years; sadly, until the shows went off the air. To be a fan and to be there at the end, and to love those shows and the people, was unfortunate. On April 1, when the shows got canceled in what everyone hoped was an April Fool’s, I was signing a lease for a new apartment and was like, “Okay, should I be signing this lease?” and my husband said, “Yes we should.”
Digest: What did you do next?
Locher: I went to On Location Tours, where I was the senior director, PR/marketing and sales. It’s a TV and movie tour company in New York City that takes people around New York City and shows them where TV shows and movies have been filmed. The SEX AND THE CITY and GOSSIP GIRL tours were big.
Digest: And then the pandemic hit in 2020. What did you do next?
Locher: My last day of work was March 20th, and it was actually April 1st and I watching so much news. I was looking at Instagram and seeing people doing these great Instagram Live interviews and thought, “Maybe I should do something. Tomorrow is AS THE WORLD TURNS’s anniversary, and maybe I’ll call a few people and see if anyone’s interested to cheer people up.” There was just something that hit me with the anniversary and that everyone was home at the same time, and a lot of WORLD TURNS fans and GUIDING LIGHT fans hadn’t seen these actors in 10 years at that time. And Michael Park [ex-Jack, ATWT] was the first person I called and he said, “Whatever you want,” because he knew that the cast of Dear Evan Hansen had just done something on a streaming platform. He said, “Why don’t you see if it’s something we can do on a streaming platform so we can have more than just me?” And that’s basically how it began. I just called people and they were all on board and it really kept going from there. My intent was to do people I knew because it was just easier, and then as daytime fans were finding the show, they were asking me to do other shows that I hadn’t worked on. Here I was, I was home and the whole world was locked down, and I just kept producing more and more and it kept growing from there. I think it was the perfect timing in that everyone was in the same boat, many people were disconnected from their families because of what was happening in the world, and here they were, able to connect with their daytime families that they love. You look at the early shows and I didn’t know what I was doing – I had never hosted a streaming show – and it’s just been a great opportunity and I’m so thankful to Michael and I’m thankful to the fans. It has taught me a lot.
Digest: Do you have any personal favorite shows?
Locher: Here’s what I didn’t really realize what would happen. I thought about the fans being home, but then I got messages from actors afterwards that they didn’t realize how much they would love being reconnected with the people that they worked with. That has been a really nice bonus to come out of it, and also reconnecting the behind-the-scenes people. It was a family on-screen and off for a lot of people. Some of my favorites? It’s so hard. There are too many to name! There were some that just surprised me, like ANOTHER WORLD’s with Alicia Coppola [ex-Lorna] and Alice Barrett-Mitchell [ex-Frankie]. I didn’t know those people and I just had a blast. They had me rolling on the floor. Getting a one-on-one with Susan Lucci [ex-Erica, ALL MY CHILDREN] was great. I loved [GL’s] Reva/Josh and all the actresses who played Marah. I loved the Coopers [from GL]. I loved Maura [West, Ava, GH; ex-Carly, ATWT] and Michael Park together. I loved Susan Pratt [ex-Claire, GL] and Jay Hammer [ex-Fletcher, GL]. I mean, there are so many. And then I created that sub-series, CONVERSATIONS WITH ALAN, because of my own personal connection to the Holocaust. I did a show for Black History Month with Amelia Marshall [ex-Gilly, GL et al], her 23-year-old son, Lawrence Saint Victor [Carter, B&B; ex-Remy, GL] and Karla Mosley [ex-Christina, GL; ex-Maya, B&B] and it was just a fascinating conversation.
Digest: How did CONVERSATIONS WITH ALAN come about?
Locher: What happened in Charlottesville VA in 2017, with the rioters chanting, “Jews will not replace us,” really affected me. Both of my parents were Holocaust survivors and seeing that live on television, I was thinking about my parents, who are no longer alive, and was glad they were no longer alive to see that. In 2017, I didn’t have this platform and wanted to do something. I was trying to find a way to get other children of Holocaust survivors together to speak up, because here we are, it’s 70-something years after World War II, and anti-Semitism was spreading in the United States like wildfire. I had a conversation with somebody who had lost her son and dad to a Neo-Nazi who wanted to know what it was like to kill Jewish people and I wanted to have her as a guest now that I had a platform. I was planning to do one show about the rise of anti-Semitism, and she said these simple words to me: “Why do one? You have a platform. Try to spread a positive message and keep it going.” I try to do one or two a month. That’s the interesting thing about this. Most of the people who are watching THE LOCHER ROOM are watching it because of the daytime connection, but I get so many messages from people just thanking me for introducing them to other things that they may not have ever watched and that feels great, I have to admit.
Digest: At what point did you realize this has legs? What do you hope you come of it?
Locher: That’s a great question! I didn’t know when I realized it. It just kept going. I was thinking about my next job and I was working with a coach who was like, “What you’re doing is fantastic. You need a name for it.” And I have a great friend, Paul, who created the logo. He owns his own advertising agency, so when she said it needs a name, I went to him because he’s a branding person. But that night, I was sitting on the couch with my husband and I said, “THE LOCHER ROOM,” and he was like, “That’s it!” And it’s a weird thing. My mom learned to speak English by watching AS THE WORLD TURNS and GUIDING LIGHT. She was thrilled when I got a job there; they’d be thrilled that I was doing this. I’m the last Locher, so to see I was using the name, it’s all great. I never looked at myself as someone who would be hosting a show but I enjoy it. I really think having conversations with people is such a great way to learn about things in the world you are not necessarily exposed to, and in some way, I would love to continue it but I need to find a job that will allow that.
Digest: Is there anything about the interviews you have done in the past year that has been particularly special for you?
Locher: Even though I love daytime, I was a 10-year-old boy and CHARLIE’S ANGELS was my everything. To get Jaclyn Smith [who played Kelly] was beyond this little boy’s wild imagination. What I’m really proud of is we’ve done a lot of charity work and raised over $60,000 for a variety of charities in a year that was tough for many people. Laura Wright [Carly, GH; ex-Cassie, GL] came to me wanting to do the Daytime Cares event. It was about a month after I launched the show. Our intent was to do a 2-hour show that turned into 4 hours. And then we did a virtual Bauer Barbecue, we did another Daytime Cares event and we did the AS THE WORLD TURNS reading for Trent’s [Dawson, ex-Henry] theater company, the Katonah Classic Stage. We also raised money for Feeding America.
Digest: What does it mean to you to be marking your first anniversary?
Locher: I don’t even know! It’s hard to process, really. It’s 140 shows and over 450 guests. This is hard work. It really is a talk show, even though it’s virtual. I’m one person doing every aspect of it. It’s something I won’t ever forget. As much as it helped bring a smile to everybody watching, it helped distract me from what was going on in the world around us, too. And I thank everyone who has helped spread the word and who is watching it. I wouldn’t be doing it if nobody was tuning in.
To catch all of the LOCHER ROOMS, click here.