Ben Thornewill from Jukebox the Ghost talks about local music and radio



Blanton: Recently an article posted on January 25th on InsiderLouisville by Michael Tierney caused some commotion by saying WFPK does not support local music enough with its focus mostly on nationally recognized acts. Do you feel WFPK helped you guys reach where you are now?

Thornewill: Absolutely, WFPK is one of the stations, especially on the last record, that really latched on and really helped support it. I have nothing bad to say about WFPK. I think any station like that, nationally, you know whatever it is, struggles to balance out local acts with national touring acts. I love WFPK.

Blanton: Especially with WFPK being a non-profit, they do have to give the public what they want, and many times national acts are what the public wants to hear. So I agree balancing local and national acts is tricky.

Thornewill: Yep

Blanton: What influence or role do you think WFPK has on helping local musicians break thru in the music industry?

Thornewill: You know it’s hard to give them a role. I think it’s the local bands, the whole concept of locality, in rock bands right now is funny because it’s so easy to get your music everywhere. You know, you build a fan base. You start… I don’t know. You find your audience and then you make the radio station. We had radio stations latch on to us really early on. But we were never really local. When we were starting out we were in DC and had radio play in DC for years and years and years. It all depends. If I were a young band, you try to get on WFPK, but you don’t put all your eggs in that basket.

Blanton: Do you have any advice for local bands out there trying to make it in the music industry?

Thornewill: We’ve have just been playing sooo many shows over the past years. And that’s always been our road to success. So at 150 shows a year we’re close to I think 650 shows with the band in the past 6 years. The more they play in front of people the more fans they have, and it’s slow growth but steady. Once they’re in, once they’re roped in, they’re in it for the long haul. It feels really good.

Blanton:  Thank you so much for your insights. Obviously Jukebox the Ghost is a talented and highly successful band. I wish you well on future endeavors and look forward to hearing you guys at Headliners.

Thornewill: Thanks! So are you a Louisvillian? Are you from Louisville?

Blanton: Well… I’m from right across the river, so close enough haha.

Thornewill: Okay, that counts. I won’t hold that against you.

Blanton: That’s nice of you. Well I won’t hold you up any longer, thanks again for your time and can’t wait to see you guys at Headliners.

Thornewill: We’ll see you there. Cheers, bye.


Photo: courtesy of Jukebox the Ghost Facebook page by Keith Hession

About Anna Blanton
Anna Blanton holds a Bachelors of Arts in Music (violin) and a Minor in Marketing from the University of Louisville. Anna currently plays with the Paducah Symphony, folk rock band- Field of Kings, and fuzz/folk rock band- Jack Holiday and the Westerners. From 9-5 she is the Development Information Manager at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. She is also a Production Assistant for the Beatles festival, Abbey Road on the River.
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