Making my music video show used to be like making a mix tape. Go to the archive, find the videos I want, assemble them in the correct order, sprinkle with powdered sugar, bake for sixty minutes and, viola, show is done. Instant programming. Now, because of new Double Helix Television (DHTV) regulations, personal preference and the winds of progress, things have changed.
I began making my show because I was looking for an outlet for the videos I was making. I was working at DHTV and noticed that although there are a lot of locally produced music video shows in St. Louis, there were no rock or electronic music video shows on DHTV. I dug around the archive of videos and found a bunch of music videos I had never seen before. Most of the videos were from small labels that don't get played on MTV2. I put two and two together combining my own productions and the music videos together to create my own television show.
Something was missing. As time passed, the show was becoming sterile. It seemed to be more of an advertisement than my show. I was running out of videos from smaller labels. The larger, more powerful labels were pumping out videos on a regular basis and to keep from repeating an entire show and to receive more videos, I had to play music I really did not care to hear or see. I talked with the Chad Evans, producer of LepersTV, and he explained it to me.
"If you play a video on your show you are promoting that band, which can be a good or bad thing depending if you like the band," Evans said. "The trouble comes when you play only videos on your show. Then you become a slave to a record label. You become dependent on them for all of your programming. You work for the record company for free with little or no benefit to yourself or the community."
The only benefits of the show to me were another line on my résumé and that I got recognized at bars sometimes.
Change was unexpected. At the KDHX 88.1/DHTV barbecue, Jennie Bellar approached me about volunteering for the show. I put her in charge of coordinating permission among the label, artist and venue to tape national and local bands in the area. Since Jennie joined the team a few months ago, we have covered Los Straight Jackets, The Pontani Sisters, Dan the Automator, Money Mark, Aquaduct, The Electric, The Riverboat Gamblers and Peaches. We were able to cover these shows thanks to local filmmakers Ryan Samul and Ben Burke. We have obtained so much footage I am having a hard time putting it all together on a weekly basis. The emphasis of "AudioVideo" has shifted away from music videos to primarily live music shows in St. Louis. The focus should have been on live music initially, but I have only recently found out how to put together well-produced, hour-long live shows. This is not an easy task to do weekly without pay.
The show has become more fun to make since the change. Instead of sitting in a room all day putting together a mix tape, now I go out to clubs with a camera and a crew. We tape the show, interview the talent and have a few beers. For instance, interviewing Money Mark was an eye-opening experience. He was a big influence on the Beastie Boys, and to my surprise, very introverted in person. He would not let us tape any of his live performance, but instead gave us a private performance and interview in the Galaxy's basement. When you meet your heroes, it gives a whole new perspective on what they do and why they do it. Money Mark said he was in the right place at the right time. In a way, so was I.
"AudioVideo" was made to raise the standards at Double Helix Television. Most people have not heard of DHTV, and it is easiest to explain it as the television side of FM 88.1, KDHX. My associate producer, Jason Harris, and I put it together to link the two sides together; the television show mirrored what he was doing on his show, "Velocity," on KDHX. Since the recent changes at DHTV, we are no longer allowed to air music videos. This breaks the link between the two sides of Double Helix and makes my task that much harder to do. Most labels will not listen to me about covering their artist unless I am already airing their videos. We felt that this link would be beneficial to the overall quality of both of the sides of Helix. If the quality of the programming were raised this would attract more volunteers, shows and, consequently, more viewers for my show.
This has been a fun ride. The show is better than ever. Sometimes, I feel like Wayne Campbell on "Wayne's World," with my public access television show and "Joe-Job." Someone out there has to be watching.
If you would like to see "AudioVideo," tune into DHTV in St. Louis City on Channel 21 Saturdays at 9pm. "AudioVideo" is on in St. Louis County Tuesdays at 11:30pm after "LepersTV." You can contact the show at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Josef is a 22-year-old Webster University graduate. He moved to St. Louis from Dubuque, Iowa four years ago and enjoys Mondays at the Upstairs Lounge.