The on-air hosts producer Scott Richison selects for his locally produced TV shows move on bigger and better things. He tapped music writer and TV novice Troy Johnson to host Fox Rox (2002-2007). The weekly half-hour music show won two local Emmys and helped propel Johnson to the Food Network were he has appeared on The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Iron Chef America.
Now Richison’s latest hand-picked TV host has also moved on to the big time. For two-and-a-half years local writer/columnist Alex Zaragoza has hosted Richison’s Unherd new music show, which airs Saturdays at 11:45 p.m. on KGTV/ABC-10. Zaragoza, a UCSD theater major grad, was just plucked from Unheard (her first TV gig) to be senior culture editor at Vice Media, which creates digital content and produces HBO’s Vice News show.
Zaragoza’s move to New York to work at Vice caused Richison to pull the plug on Unherd instead of finding a replacement for Zaragoza. “I did a lot of soul searching about doing this with someone else, but it just wouldn’t feel right,” Richison says. “I wouldn’t want to risk tainting something awesome that we’ve been able to pull off for over 100 episodes by putting something inauthentic on air.”
The last Unherd will air Saturday, October 27. “At the moment, we are trying to put together a fully animated Halloween special for that last show. Alex will be voicing it from New York.”
“Alex got her dream job,” says Richison, who is also a professor of film, television and media arts for Southwestern College. “I am ecstatic for her, but I always knew this day was coming right from the start. We got about a month into Unherd and I said to myself ‘We’re not going to have her too long.’ It’s not easy being fearless on TV and she never had a problem with that.”
Unherd had a different approach from SoundDiego, which airs at 1 am Saturday night/Sunday morning on NBC-7. Unherd featured Zaragoza and co-hosts Jeff Terich (Blood Ponies) and Mike Halloran, who wrote their own observations and critiques interspersed with existing music video clips. SoundDiego is driven by locally shot footage of live shows and artist interviews.
Richison oversaw 230 Fox Rox and 109 Unherd episodes. “Unherd was doing really well. We were averaging between 9500 to 10,500 households [viewers] per show. Everyone was happy. ABC-10 offered us renewal.” But, he adds, “We did everything on our terms, including how we ended it.”