Sunday, October 10, 1999

Why do they do it?

        We asked public-access volunteers why they make their own cable shows, what they think of mainstream television and what advice they would give new producers. Here's a paraphrase of some of their remarks.


KEN KRAFT, 40, Florence
        • Show “Don't-Get-Me-Started Sports Talk,” live with guests and callers.

        • About making shows You have to love it, or you'll get frustrated and quit. Producers have to be realistic. Their shows aren't going to look as good as even the ones done by local cable companies. At 9 p.m. on Monday nights, I've got Ally McBeal on. I don't care what's on public access.

        • About mainstream TV A lot of it's trash, but people are watching it. The networks' purpose is to make money, not to make society better. People forget that sometimes.


        • Show “Who's the Guy in the Hat?” free-form music and satire.

        • His approach When I'm on, I have to be really, really bad for me to edit out mistakes. I have a running joke about the strings breaking on my guitar. I keep on playing.


SHERRY PATES, 45, Cincinnati
        • Show “What is Lupus?,” information on the auto-immune disorder.

        • Why lupus? I was diagnosed at 36. I have had three heart attacks, a stroke and a blood clot in my lung. Lupus strikes one in every 250 African-American women, but it gets little research funding and many sufferers are misdiagnosed. The show helps me reach the inner-city population. Since it began, my lupus support group has grown from five to 225 members.


        • Shows Church service called “Pentecostal Hour at Pentecostal House of Prayer,” and men's self-help discussion called “The Genesis men's program.”

        • About mainstream TV The shows have too much cursing and near nudity. Stories about homosexuals are becoming too common. This confuses kids. Through public access, people can highlight the positive in their communities.


KEVIN WILLIAMS, 26, of Cincinnati
        • Show “Basement Flava,” rap videos, interviews with musicians. Co-producer is Quincy Buchanon.

        • Why rap? Rap music tells a story. It's like poetry. Some songs are personally relevant to me. Being a young black man, police officers can just pull us over, pull a gun on us and say, "Where's your drugs?' I'm a college graduate, but I fit the stereotype.

        • What's frustrating People who judge rap and my show without listening to them. Some adults say rap is a bad influence on kids. In the '60s, they blamed rock 'n' roll. Many societal problems have been around a long time.


JOE GORMAN, 45, of Finneytown.
        • Show “Where people and jobs meet,” career information.

        • About public access It's like “my TV.” For years I've been producing shows. All kinds of junk, but it's been great.

        • Strangest show he's ever seen A performance art piece called “Firehead,” featuring bizarre music and a guy sitting in a chair, wearing a flaming helmet.


AKIL SOLOMON, 48, Cincinnati
        • Show “Rap around Town,” about community events and people.

        • Advice to would-be producers Be organized with your ideas and format. What's going to hold the viewers' interest? What's going to make your program tight and at the same time comprehensive?


DAVID DENDLER, 34, Liberty Township
        • Show Entertainment and information from kids at Cherokee Elementary. (Mr. Dendler teaches music there. Previously, he did a show at Freedom Elementary in West Chester.)

        • Why kids benefit They watch TV all the time, and now they're producing their own. It gives them self-confidence. If we're going to do an “Ask the Principal” feature, the kids have to go to the principal and set up an interview. It teaches responsibility.


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