Shane Rhyne Your Friend With Words.

Kickstartin’ Doc Martin on East Tennessee PBS

I owe a longer update on the blog about the fun I’m having at my new job at East Tennessee PBS. Until then, however, allow me to share this news about an experiment we’re undertaking tonight during our summer pledge drive.

If viewer calls and emails are a reliable source of information here at the station, the British comedy/drama Doc Martin is one of our most popular locally-aired programs. Yet, our viewers and the show’s fans have noted that we only have aired the first two seasons of Doc Martin’s Cornwall adventures.

docmartindogThe simple fact is that each available season of any show like this comes at a price. To secure the broadcast rights for East Tennessee costs funds that we must secure from somewhere. So, we’re taking a different approach to the pledge drive tonight and giving our faithful Doc Martin fans a chance to play a direct role in our future programming.

Rather than a typical night of pledge drive activity centered around premiums and special programming, we’re devoting two hours of the evening to Doc Martin fans. Any pledges called in during this time will be allocated directly towards the air rights purchase of Season Three and Season Four of the Portwenn gang.

It’s our local PBS member station version of a Kickstarter project. Want to see more Doc Martin in Knoxville, Johnson City, Kingsport, Bristol, Maryville, Oak Ridge, Loudon and the rest of East Tennessee? Then, please share a gift tonight (May 30, 2013) between 9-11 pm (EST).

Think of it this way: the gift you’re giving is the opportunity for the 1.1 million potential households in our viewing area to be introduced to one of your favorite shows. Please call tonight at (800) 595-0220 to offer your support to bringing Doc Martin to East Tennessee’s television screens.

I’ll be on the air tonight with my East Tennessee PBS colleagues discussing the fun of Doc Martin and why we’d love to help bring seasons three and four to our region. So, call in tonight and share your love of Doc Martin’s village characters with your East Tennessee neighbors or we’ll have to ask Mr. Large to prepare your next order of fish and chips.

Large and Son

Girl Singer – A Blog Playlist

Here in the United States, this upcoming Sunday is Mother’s Day. It seems like a good weekend then to pay tribute to women in music with another blog playlist.

silhouette of girl singerSo, I’ve assembled selections from some of the female vocalists and musicians who have been capturing my attention with new releases in the past year. This list is not meant to be mistaken for a “best female singers of all time” or any other similar concoction. It’s simply a reflection of the voices and notes that have caught my ear recently.

As I mentioned during my 2012 year-end playlist I’ve always had a soft spot in my musical tastes for female vocalists. In my radio days there was an unwritten, but oft-spoken, rule that you should never play two female vocalists back-to-back on the air because it was thought this would turn off listeners. That this rule even still existed in the 1990s amazed me. So, I usually spent a lot of time breaking it.

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The Songwriters Who Saved George Jones – A Blog Playlist

In the late 1970s, a life of hard drinking and touring were taking their toll on George Jones. He was still cranking out hits, thanks to some legendary duets with his wife/ex-wife Tammy Wynette (“Golden Ring” in 1976 and “Near You” in 1977). But, the calendar read 1980 and people were beginning to think of George Jones less as “Possum” and more of “No Show Jones.” It had been two years since his marriage to Wynette ended and three years since he last topped the country music charts. It looked as if Jones’ career was beginning an inevitable decline after two decades of number one hits and iconic songs.

And, then, legendary record producer Billy Sherrill brought a song for George Jones to hear. The song, written by two proven Music Row hitmakers, did not impress George too much. He thought it was too long and too depressing. He did not want to record it and fought every effort by Sherrill to put the song to tape.

When Jones first heard the song, he likely heard yet another nail in his own career’s coffin. Sherrill, and the two men who wrote “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” heard a story that would capture the attention of listeners and leave a lasting impression. Read more →

The next episode in my life is brought to you by Viewers Like You

Meet my new teammates!

Well, I won’t be working directly alongside most of them, but I’ve been given the opportunity to help support the valuable work all of them do on behalf of delivering the best in education, public affairs, arts and culture, and quality television programming.

For the past few days I’ve been hinting that I’m starting an exciting new chapter in my life and here it is. I am grateful for a chance to test my skills and knowledge in a whole new way, while also returning to the world of non-profit organizations. And if you need any further clues, I’ll just fill in the blanks and tell you that I’ve been hired as Development Director for East Tennessee PBS. My official first day is May 1, 2013.

East Tennessee PBS logo

I spent the day today meeting with my fellow actual teammates at East Tennessee PBS and getting the paperwork in order for my first official day. I’m going to hit the ground running as we already have a busy summer ahead of us, not least of which includes a visit to Knoxville in July by Antiques Roadshow.

It’s just one of many great projects I’ll get to be a part of in my new job. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am to be back in the world of non-profits. I loved my time at a full-service public relations agency and I believe it was time well-spent, but this does give me a chance to do something dear to my heart. We had already named our youngest dog Fozzy after a Muppet, so why shouldn’t I find myself on the way to Sesame Street?

I’ll be sharing more information about my new activities in the days to come, but in the meantime I invite you to visit the station’s website to become more familiar with our current offerings and to become a member of East Tennessee PBS.

If your business or organization would like to become a corporate partner with East Tennessee PBS, I’ll certainly be eager to speak with you.

You can also connect with the station on social media via the East Tennessee PBS Facebook page and East Tennessee PBS Twitter feed.

Thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging of me during this new career transition. And, of course, none of this would be possible without viewers like you, so keep tuning in and supporting public television.


Playin’ Possum: A Blog Playlist for George Jones

Music has been on my mind this weekend. Truthfully, it usually is somewhere near the top of my mind on any given day. But, sometimes the news of the week elevates music to an even greater sense of prominence. Such was the case on Friday when I learned (through Twitter, naturally) that George Jones, one of the last living legends of country music, had passed away at the age of 81.

As I noted in an earlier tribute, George Jones had a rare career that found him winning fans, recording and performing in seven different decades. In fact, he had just performed what would prove to be George Jones’ final concert of his life, here in my Knoxville, Tennessee, just a week before his death.

As is the case in almost any news event, I find myself turning to music either as therapy, consolation, inspiration or education. In the first hours after George Jones’ death, I — like probably millions of others — turned to my physical and online music collections to listen to the Possum’s songs as a final act of tribute.

You’ve probably found more than your share of compiled playlists of “must have” songs for your collection by George Jones. So, I won’t trouble you with something like that. Instead, I want to offer you a playlist that offers you some sense of Jones’ place on country music’s Mount Rushmore.

I think it’s usually a good sign of an artist’s impact and influence in his or her community, by how often he is name-checked or referenced in the works of others. It helps to explain why you could produce libraries of songs paying tribute to Hank Williams, Elvis or the Beatles, and the paucity of songs in reference to, say, Rockwell.

So, I took an opportunity to pull together a short playlist of a dozen of my favorite such songs that make reference to George Jones, his legend, his lifestyle and/or his songs. It’s available on Spotify for your listening pleasure:

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