"CMT Loaded": Taking
Aim at Artists and Labels Seeking An Alternative Music Venue
2007 CMA Close Up News Service
Lewis Bogach wants to
create water cooler moments.
As the Vice President
of Programming and Production at CMT and the chief of its recently-launched
broadband channel video initiative, CMT Loaded, Bogach observed
that linear channels (a.k.a. cable or network television) offer
finite programming opportunities, a boundary Bogach and others working
with online content don't have.
"It's an infinite
medium," Bogach said of the Internet, particularly as he views
it in regard to what he and his team can offer CMT fans. "To
me, it's the Wild West, it's open, it's freedom," Bogach said.
"You're finding stuff there that you can't get anywhere else
and it sparks people to go seek it out. Linear channels really don't
do that anymore. The water cooler moments are all now happening
online. Things that don't quite fit on the linear channels are things
that fit on the Internet."
For CMT viewers, that
means a plethora of behind-the-scenes footage, outtakes and programming
that may have ended up on the proverbial editing room floor.
When Jeff Foxworthy's
new series premiered on CMT in September, producers had hours of
rehearsal footage, which typically would have found its way into
a tape vault. Now, Bogach said, the rehearsals can be found at Loaded,
so viewers who love "Foxworthy" can see what happened
before the finished show.
The same has happened
for an episode of "Greatest Moments" featuring Dolly Parton.
Producers shot hours of the icon, but were restricted to less than
an hour of the actual interview for its on air episode.
"We shot this awesome
interview with Dolly Parton. She's a great storyteller; she's riveting,"
Bogach said. "Now when you go to Loaded every week, it's just
Dolly Parton telling stories."
At its debut, Loaded's
primary focus, CMT executives said, is to work in cooperation with
its linear channel counterpart.
"It's a companion
to CMT and also something separate," said Paul Burch, CMT Producer.
"The production for (CMT programming) is really high. We can't
fit all that we want into a show. The linear channel demands you
have a beginning, middle and end and have to make room for commercials.
On Loaded, we may have some deleted scenes that we didn't have room
for on the linear channel and now we have a place to put it. It's
also a way to reach out to an audience that isn't watching TV."
But that's just the beginning.
"In order for Loaded
to be successful, it's got to bust out on its own," Bogach
That's where Burch comes
in. The veteran musician and producer is charged with programming
the "Wide Open Country" portion of Loaded, a section of
the Web site devoted to music just off the beaten path of commercialism.
"My job is to make
a place for videos that may not make it on the linear channel but
also give a place for acts that are critically acclaimed and have
a fan base but may not sell tons of records," Burch said. "In
a sense, these are musicians' musicians. These are the artists who
never intend to quit. They make videos and make films of recording
sessions. It's probably what MTV would have attempted to do 20 years
ago, but the technology didn't really exist."
Alt Country artists,
including Bruce Robison and Holly Williams are frequently featured
on "Wide Open Country," but viewers also can find legends
Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson and others programmed on the site.
"This is a new avenue
and it's very open," Burch said. "There's this great wealth
of material and it's never had an outlet before. I love to put up
something that's a conventional video and really well done but also
something that's really homemade. They all seem to fit equally on
the screen. I'm trying to mix new artists with the well established."
The original programming
is beginning to find its way to Burch and others, as artists and
labels, particularly independents, send digital clips in for consideration.
The desire, CMT executives
said, is to receive programming from as many folks in the music
business as possible.
Bogach has issued an
invitation - or perhaps a challenge - to artists, record labels
and managers to make and send in whatever original programming they
want. The artists have the footage, he said.
"I know Sugarland
. they have a camera on the bus," Bogach said. "They all
have someone in their camp playing around in this medium. But right
now, it's staying on their cameras and staying on their lap top.
You have a forum for that now on your terms. Unless it's completely
raunchy or totally negative, why wouldn't we put it on? Get out
there and show us who you are.
"Can we feature
them all on Loaded, every single one? Yes, we can," Bogach
said. "There's absolutely a seat on the bus."
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