TV on the music

Local shows featuring local bands diminish by one

Alex Zaragoza of Unherd in the viewfinder
  • Alex Zaragoza of Unherd in the viewfinder

The opportunities for local artists to get TV face-time just got slimmer with the news that Tonight in San Diego has suspended production.

The Tonight Show–style program was most visible in February and March of last year when CW6 carried the weekly hourlong show. Local bands such as the Schizophonics, the Verigolds, Dead Feather Moon, Wicked Tongues, and the Casey Hensley Band played live and were interviewed on the show. The program relied on the internet after KFMB/Channel 8 swallowed CW6 and dropped it from its schedule last spring. Country-punkers Behind the Wagon appeared on the last episode, taped in November.

“The show has ceased production and I don’t think it’s coming back,” says a key member of the Tonight in San Diego production team.

“If we do come back, it will be later this year,” says executive producer Fale Luis. “I spent every dollar I had, and didn’t have to keep it going.” The show was shot before a studio audience at the Gaslamp’s Geoffrey Off Broadway Theater. “We are looking for a new venue that could accommodate us better. That was more of a community arts theater.”

Meanwhile, two other San Diego weekly half-hour rock shows — SoundDiego and Unherd — still air late Saturday night.

“We’re in our seventh year,” says Eric Page, executive producer of KNSD/Channel 7’s SoundDiego. The show relies on a stable of nine local personalities who interview local bands and touring bands playing San Diego. “We just added two new faces [as co-hosts]. Alysha Nett is a social media star and J-Mar, who is a member of [local bands] Some Kind of Lizards and Ethics.”

Page says there was “no discernible” decrease in SoundDiego ratings when late last year KNSD started airing Saturday Night Live in real time from 8:30–11:00 p.m. and then again as a rerun at 11:30. SoundDiego follows that second, rerun broadcast at 1:00 a.m. and relied on its lead-in audience. (Unherd airs earlier, at 11:45 p.m.)

Ratings for the important November sweeps period shows that during one week SoundDiego logged a 1.2 rating compared to 1.1 for Unherd; another November week showed SoundDiego had a 1.1 rating while Unherd showed 1.0. (Each rating point represents about 10,000 San Diego County viewers.)

Past Event

The Aquadolls and the Heavy Guilt

  • Friday, March 30, 2018, 8 p.m.
  • Bar Pink, 3829 30th Street, San Diego
  • 21+

“We’re hosting our 58th free SoundDiego music event March 30 at Bar Pink with the Aquadolls, the Heavy Guilt, and Jason Hanna and the Bullfighters,” says Page.

Unherd spends less time at local venues and instead relies on existing artist videos and talking-head segments from its three co-hosts, Alex Zaragoza, Jeff Terich, and Mike Halloran, who write most of their own material.

Unherd executive producer Scott Richison says the show started two years ago in his garage with a green screen, his video equipment, and a camera. Richison says production of Unherd has moved into a more sophisticated independent studio but is still a much smaller operation than SoundDiego’s.

“They have more cameramen than we have on our entire staff,” says Richison about SoundDiego, which he says can rely on the production facilities of KNSD, an NBC-owned-and-operated station. Richison says he launched Unherd on his own dime.

“Now it pays for itself… Everyone [on Unherd] has a day-job. We’re a small group of dedicated derelicts who put out what we want to watch.”

On Saturday, SoundDiego airs a new show featuring Anthrax and the Allah-La’s, while Unherd focuses on Midnight Pine, Car Seat Headrest, and the San Diego Music Awards.

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