Conversations with MIssy: Nancy Hahn of American Busker iHeart Radio

by Missy Wolf / 1481 days ago / Comments

Lately, the term "Women Empowerment" has become more of a movement. While most of us would agree that there is a growing need for more female talent in places like on the radio, the truth is, there is also a need for more female leaders overall in the entertainment industry. 

Center Stage Magazine has recently partnered with a very impressive female entrepreneur, Nancy Hahn. Having similar goals of helping to promote independent artists in the music industry, it was evident to us that we needed to join forces to have a much bigger impact on the success of these goals. Together with Hahn, today's independent musical artists of all genres are going to have a new place to call home at American Busker iHeart Radio. Though we are in an "infancy" stage at this point, we are gearing up to give these artists a platform like never before. 

In a recent phone conversation with Hahn, she shared the story behind her journey to success as the first female television station owner, to creating children's books, countless characters, musicals, and the Network iRead2Know iHeartradio. Her past experience combined with a vision to help others has led her down an unimaginable path to success. That success is what she wants to share with everyone.

No matter your dream, if you work hard enough, you can turn those dreams into your reality. Listen to our full conversation with Hahn now to get to know the woman behind the success of  iRead2Know iHeartRadio, American Busker iHeartRadio, and so much more. Hahn's story is truly an inspiring one. ~Missy



I am here with Nancy Hahn, who is one of the world's most impressive female entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry.
I don't know how you do everything you do Nancy, but Holy Cow!
Your resume is huge and I just want to know, how did you decide to get to be number one in the entertainment industry? 

Thank you so much. You're too kind of Missy!
It wasn't a straight line. When I was in college I was a Psychology and Education Major.
I guess that applied to everything going forward in the entertainment business.
I was a little girl in ballet class when my parents could afford it, which wasn't very often. 
I then used to write my own little musicals as a child. 
I was a five-year-old song and dance girl.
I used to make up the dance, make up the song and make up the story.
I guess that's set the stage for everything that has come afterward.


After...right, well and for those that don't know I mean you seriously have done so many different things in the entertainment industry. It really is so incredibly impressive, like it blew my mind, you know, you have the iRead2KnowiHeartRadio, the 24-hour station you're the only female who's built a TV station and ran it for 25 years.
 I want to know how you built that as well? Like all of these things that you've done are so amazing and I don't think that anyone could ever just sit down and say, hey I'm going to do this one day and have it all turn out like this. 
This is not something I think the normal person would think they could do, everything that you have done.

Thank You, Missy!
Getting back to the psychology and education and dance background...  
My first job after college, I was just about 21 years old, I made sure I finished a little bit early because I had to get to work. 
I was an elementary school teacher and I taught at the Creative and Performing Arts School.
It was a program whereby Elementary School certified teachers also teach a fine art. 
Hence, my Fine Art was Ballet and Dance. 
Contiguously I was teaching dance all over all over the city, every evening.  

The School Principal, my boss at the time, who I'm still friends with to this day, said we're having the Local TV Station cameras here and we really want to showcase the dancing plus the academic features of our Performing Arts School. 
I was one of the teachers selected. 
My students were doing a wonderful job of reflecting the beauty and impact of the Performing Arts, Academic School Program for Children. 
That was not the first time I was on TV,  because I had done modeling and TV commercials and was Miss 16 Pennsylvania.    
However, this was a major catalyst for me being amazed and enchanted by the magic of TV and what it can bring people.
I researched available Spectrum, which is the name given to the airwaves that all of our technology is built upon and it's analogous to beachfront property.
I was an International Broadband and Spectrum Consultant for Nextwave International post TV station because I had learned so much about spectrum and it's myriad of utilization.
I was thinking, gender and age and background aside, that it was possible
I could build an Independent TV station, and that it would fill a void that I saw in the marketplace.  
It could also create a niche and back then there was very little niche programming.  
Broadcast media at that time was and still is very underserved by women and minorities. 
Back then it was extraordinarily underserved. I was a complete enigma, being a young woman and mother of two young children. 

I first see the finished project. 
I see it clearly and then do all the work in order for it to manifest.
You get a lot of beating up along the way. I think Edison put it well when he said it's 1% inspiration 99% perspiration. If you see that vision and you go for it, backing it up with a lot of work, being willing to take a lot of rejection and the knocks along the way, and get right back up. You have a greater chance of succeeding.  
There was adversity in my house as a child. I was used to standing up against adversity and that set the stage for a lot of personal resilience and persistence going forward.  
I built a broadcast TV station from scratch, a 24-hour UHF Independent TV station. 
Every one of my peers was a white male. I was a total unicorn. 
I learned an enormous amount, wearing so many hats running a small independent station.  You learn so much about the Entertainment Industry in a 360 way, 
Programming, Sales, marketing, and all aspects of audience engagement. 

Post TV Station. I got involved in content creating and songwriting. 
I was a BMI songwriter while I had my TV station I also wrote and produced Teen Stage Shows nationally for SFX outdoor venues.
However, post TV station. I got into children's content and songwriting and hence the Children's Radio Station: iRead2Know iHeartRadio and iHeartFamily, which is 5 years old now.

iRead2Know is in the Children's/Family iHeartRadio genre with Disney, Nickelodeon, and PBS. I feel very blessed to be in that company. 

We are holding our place amongst those multi-billion-dollar brands. 
Our format is unique because we have music, stories, and musicals and I write 100 percent of the content. Our tag line is iRead2Know Makes Your Brain Grow! 
It's fun. It's educational. It's for Children and Families all day and all night.
iRead2Know is a LIVE  24 hour Station and I just love it!! 
I have been in TV 25 years and now five years in radio. I feel very blessed. 
iHeart Radio is magnificent and the quintessential partner! 
iHeartRadio is the largest Audio Company in America, available on 2000 devices, 260 Platforms and reaches 9 out of ten Americans per month. 


One of the other things that I think about you is that you've created so many characters. There's a lot of creativity out in the world. There's a lot of people who can create all day long. But to be able to focus and come up with that many, I think its just it's so intriguing because they all have to be different and you know, each one has a unique personality. 
So it's interesting and I'm curious to know how that started coming about?


You know, it is so funny you would you mention that and you are exactly right.
On the character side... that's just kind of a gift and sometimes I have no idea where it all comes from. The inspiration is all around.
It emerges at any given time. 
On a walk, on a bike, doing tedious things, mundane tasks at home.  
I will have an inspiration, create the characters, who you love like your children, and you give them everything, analogous to your children.
Then the ongoing task is developing the character. Character development is the key.
You're giving them all this love and time, so the character can grow.
The first character that I created was Purple Frog and the inspiration there was very clear. 
It is actually a purple frog that was discovered in the rainforest in real life and this purple frog glows a purple light.
That inspired me, to create a character called Purple Frog. 
Purple Frog became a glowing example and he lit a path for the Princess towards Castle Eudaimonia and has many exciting adventures. 
Purple Frog has many songs and he has many  Rainforest Friends, who are also critically endangered species, highlighting Conservation awareness for children.
All my characters have a back story and they all have distinct personalities.  
The beautiful thing about children is that they feel every bit of love, time and energy that you pour into these characters. They really do!

Children are brilliant and very insightful and they "get it"!  
When you perform LIVE stage shows for children, or even the feedback I get from the radio station, the questions they ask and the comments they make, I truly value.  
Purple Frog is one of a hundred and fifty characters that I have created. 

Then I create families of characters. Purple frog and Friends, Mary Jane and the Holidays who is a Girl Band. They only have concerts on holidays, but every day is a holiday in their world. Elsa and Splash Dance are Mermaids who are Poets and Rappers. 
They are all musicals. 
Remembering my five-year-old world. I just kept on going... writing and creating musicals.
The Adventures of Eshe The Ethiopian Elephant.
Puppies of Puccini who are rescue puppies in a Dog Pound called Puccini's Dog Pound. 
They sing opera to escape their fate. 
They finally escape and become opera stars. 
Geeks Street  Friends are gadgets who come to life. DaVinci is musical,  I wrote about a teenage DaVinci and how he met Lisa. Pasta Pals, noodles with oodles of fun and adventure. Planet Pink a real Planet discovered by NASA with an out of this world cast of characters.  

In addition to that you've written books and I mean many books. 
I mean isn't it upwards of 75 books? 

Yes, I have written 75 Children's books to date. 
I create the character and in order to give him or her the personality and the back story. I write the story and then the story always has music and dance. 
In fact, there is one book, The TuTu where I tell the story entirely through dance.
I was very grateful when I first started writing children's books that they were embraced by large publishers. They were internationally distributed to libraries worldwide and large online retailers, as well as big-box retailers. 
I was then able to tell so many stories about this delightful cast of characters and then tell ongoing stories.  
For example The Adventures of Eshe the Ethiopian Elephant is a 12 book series.

The books go along with everything and then the music goes along with all of it.  
That was the inspiration for iRead2Know. 
I created this big giant bundle of content and I thought that this would make sense for a radio station where you can have a mix of stories and music and children's musicals.
That was the inspiration! 

I love that because children especially with the first five to seven years, they're just taking in everything and it's so much fun listening to positive upbeat, children's stories or music with your child versus, some of the other things, video games and all these other things out there.


I know people may get mad at me, but I call them babysitters and I don't like it when Electronics are my kid's babysitter like you have to set a timer.
But with an educational format like iRead2Know, I think it's so imperative to the child's abilities that they learn and develop over time and I really think it plays a huge role in their positive upbringing. 
I really think everybody should have their children listen to a radio station like this. 
It is just great that you've created iRead2Know iHeartRadio.
Like I said, I'm so super impressed and I actually like a Fan Girling right now because you've done so many amazing things that most people would only think about one aspect of it. It's just it is so inspiring, you know, everything that you've done and that you continue to do, you're not slowing down at all, and I know that you've got more things in the works and I don't know if you're up to talking about some of the new things.
I'm just so excited to see where you go next. 

Funny, you should mention...  
The newest inspiration is my brand new radio station called American Busker iHeartRadio and that inspiration comes from me being on both sides of the fence, were my heart and soul as a songwriter and a writer, as well as being an entrepreneur in the Entertainment Business. 
Creatively I know I can connect with people.
I admire people that make music and I can connect with their soul. 
I can connect with all the things that people go through as Indie Artists. 
People don't understand what the process is of writing a song, and how it's such a beautiful thing. But also, there is so much work that's involved. 
American Busker Radio is a Tribute the Indie artist.
The Indie artist, I feel is very much underserved in the music industry, but contributes some of the most phenomenal music around.

Absolutely!!! I say that all the time the Indie Artists and there are so many talented people who have not been given a platform to showcase their talents and the music industry is so much smaller than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago.
I really feel like,  people like you who are developing and creating ways for them to get their music out there.  
It's something that we're trying to focus on. Give them a platform give them away to showcase all of their talents. 
You having a place for them to do that and creating it and giving them opportunity to do fantastic things that they're not getting other chances.

Exactly Missy! 
You said it exactly right. 
And so that was my inspiration. 
Then going back to my same formula, you work backwards and you have to do everything to make it happen.

American Busker, iHeartRadio had its soft launch just shortly after Christmas. 
It is very young. 
But proof of concept is extraordinarily positive.
I invite everybody to listen to this lineup of Indie artist and I guarantee... 
There's a guarantee here! 
Much of life does not have guarantees. 
But I guarantee you will find something to like about this music that is 24/7 from these Music Makers. I will put them up against anybody out there in the world. 
It's a Proof of Concept with this lineup and I couldn't be more proud.

Again, it's new terrain and I just I hope we can get the support to be like iRead2Know five years later. 
I know that  American Busker can blossom in the same way.
I truly believe in each and every artist.
Like I said,  I'm connecting with them in a lot of different ways.

The young women that are on the station; 
The singer-songwriters, the young men, all the bands,
They are the truest form of artists and hence some really beautiful music.
Many people ask  what genre is your new station? 


I was just going to say yeah, what's the genre? 

Well, here's an interesting thing.

We are listed as a couple of different genres. iHeartRadio has us listed in the Rock genre and we do have some great rock tunes.  Also, we're listed in the Alternative genre.
We are also listed in the Mix and Variety genres. 
Some might say you don't know who you are. 
But we do know who we are, different innovative and diverse.

It's a mix of music that you don't hear and therefore refreshing. 
I invite people to take the challenge because I guarantee you're going to connect with these Music Makers, all great artists each and every one.


Nowadays, you have artists more and more that are like they can't be put into a box because they can write exactly and so and station that includes every genre. Those artists are going to have a place where they fit in yet still stand out.


Well said Missy and I'm not putting them in the box. 

I get a lot of music and I listen to every submission ultimately that gets to me.

I'm not looking to put people in a box and so that is what is refreshing about the playlist on American Buster iHeartRadio. 


Now for people who have their iHeartRadio apps and is it easy to find.
Tell them where to go because I want to make sure people can find the station.
I am new to the iHeartRadio. I don't have music apps on my phone, and I want to have them.
I'm such a boring person when it comes to everything on my computer. 


If you're on your phone or computer, you would simply Google. 
Google American Busker iHeartRadio.It is available on two thousand devices, 260 platforms. 
There's a hundred fifty million registered users and there's a quarter of a billion
monthly listeners meaning the "walk-in" listeners. 
The ubiquity of IHeartRadio is magnificent. 
It's on Roku, Comcast, Amazon Prime, in cars, etc.

American Busker iHeartRadio is truly a road trip station!
Busker is a term that not a lot of people are familiar with but it means Street Performer.
We do have a lot of our Indie artists that started out as street performers. 

Yes, fantastic!
I love and being here in Nashville. I get to see street performers all the time. And so many of those people just blow me away.  I haven't been in New Orleans, but I hear that they have many amazing street performers as well. 


I want to get and I and I invite every one of them.  
They make beautiful recorded music too, but they learn about the Artistry of Performing right from the most organic place, the street. 
So the analogy with American Busker iHeartRadio that the station is the street.
The "street" is where everybody joins, you have diversity, you have you have everybody coming together, all-inclusive, not putting anybody in a box, and everybody gets to express themselves.  
You have a great listening experience with a lot of energy, artistry, and diversity.


So for those who are listening who don't know where to go, to send you their music  how does the artist get involved? 


I do have some feeders. They're not sifting through and then everything comes to me through those feeders.
I listen to everything! 


You get ahead of the game! You just listen to everybody out there!!
That's really awesome!!!


What is a songwriters' main trepidation, sending songs and nobody will listen.
I want to I want to change that dynamic.

Also when new songwriters did get a minute on the radio before, especially on top 40 radio, it would be in a make-it-or-break-it kind of kind of thing. 
They did that for the teens and inevitably teens would call in, because it's fun to break it because the radio station would do the breaking sound.
There's a human being the wrote that song and they are getting some radio air time. 
But they're getting a record broken! 
It was all in good fun. 
It wasn't any kind of mean spirited thing. 
It was only way that a top 40 could introduce new music. I had a song "broken" on Top 40 Radio, so I know how it feels. It was a gorgeous song, where Jose Feliciano played his magical guitar intro. 
The Indie Artists have gone through so many things in the music industry. 
I want American Busker iHeartRadio to be a happy, accepting, nurturing place. 

Absolutely! Absolutely! I think it's going to be great. I can't wait to watch this grow because honestly, it's in its infancy stage. So this is going to be an incredible journey for you for the Indie artist price for everyone involved and I'm just really excited to watch where it goes from here. 
Is there anything else that you would like to say or talk about this stuff before I let you go because I know interviews with me. I'm chatty. I can just keep going all day long, especially when I'm interested in enamored with the person that I speaking with.


Thanks, Missy! 
You are absolutely a delight and I love what you and yours are doing with Center Stage. 
And of course, I adore Nashville! 
It's such an honor to be here. 
I agree with you. I hope that American Busker grows. 
We are we're just a little infant. 
We're like, we're in the incubator infancy stage.
I'm giving it a lot of love and with the support of outstanding
young women like yourself and Center Stage magazine and getting the word out, 
we can nurture this baby and make the baby grow through love and nurturing.  
I'm praying for that. 
We can entertain people and at the same time give a lot of people chances.


I think that's a pretty good thing and I hope it continues as well. And I thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk about it. And like I said what you and yours are doing is just phenomenal!! And the heartfelt place where you're doing it from is phenomenal! 

We are definitely glad to be on this journey and what we love being able to meet and work with people like you who honestly are putting those artists out there getting their music out there and it try to help others and that's exactly when people come into the business and it's all about what can I do? How can people help me? Help me help me and then they're not giving anything back. It's just it's not a good situation and it doesn't come across well, and so we want to partner with people who are like-minded and put the artist where they need to be and really try to help lift them up. 
I'm glad that we have been able to get to know you a little bit more get to know what you've done and bring you to the forefront of our audience as well because they need to know that other entities are out there that want to help them.


Exactly, right and you know what... I always think the Best Is Yet To Come!!  


Yes. Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to see if you and I cannot wait to talk with you further about many other things and our audiences to stay tuned for that. So until next time, we'll see you soon, everyone.


About Missy Wolf

Missy Wolf Co-Founder, Editor, Journalist & Vice President of the American Country Music Association

From an early age I knew music and entertainment were in my blood. I have always been enamored with the idea of being in this industry, though I never wanted to be a front and center "Star". Taking the audience behind the scenes for up close conversations with the artists they love is where I want to be. Life in lyrics has always been my style, so as my favorite country artist Wade Hayes sings, I am living my life and chasing my dreams! Conducting interviews, meeting talented people and sharing stories and adventure are my passion. My new favorite hashtag is #iaskyouanswer, so stay tuned for more interviews, articles and adventures!