Life is full of what ifs. Perhaps none weigh on us more than the road not taken. What if I stayed in school? Maybe I’d be a doctor or lawyer. What if the guys and I had kept the band together? Perhaps we’d be rock stars.
Jay Seidl was born in Canada, raised in Naples and continues to call Southwest Florida home. And he is living the dream. The lifelong musician and sometimes TV host has carved out a niche in the highly competitive television syndication business.
His creation is called “Music Mix USA” and it airs from Washington, D.C., and Syracuse to Seattle and Dallas on 35 TV stations in about 20 states. You can also catch it in Great Britain, Brazil, Africa and Russia. You can see the show locally on WINK-TV and CW-6.
Never heard of it you say? I’m not completely surprised. The show airs in what many “in the TV biz” call late fringe, which is fancy talk for saying its one of the niche programs — in this case for music lovers — that stations use to fill the wee hours of the morning between the late news and the early news.
While Seidl may not be a household name, the likes of say Ryan Seacrest, he is not only surviving but thriving in a highly competitive world.
The dream started in the late ’90s when Seidl began working at WNPL (which begat UPN-6 [WTVK], which begat WB 6, which begat CW-6 [WXCW]; getting kind of Biblical here). Quick quiz: Did you know that the independent station once produced a local 10 p.m. newscast? Search for WNPL on YouTube for a gander.
Seidl says it was during his time at the station that he learned how to work both ends of the camera, as well as edit video. It was also during this stint that he created “Music Mix USA.”
“I always tried to think bigger than just local,” said Seidl, as was reflected in the show’s title. “It was not going to be ‘Jay’s Rock & Roll Show.’ ”
The show goes backstage with musicians across genres as they take their acts on the road. Seidl and the show has done episodes featuring the likes of Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, Ozzy Osbourne, Ringo Starr, Nickelback, Creed and many more.
Unlike many syndicated television shows, Seidl produces 52 new episodes a year. He does most of the work himself, including the camerawork and interviews. In the beginning he hosted the show, but the constant innovator often uses his subject matter as hosts; which frees him up to be more creative behind the lens.
The show is shot on location, generally behind the scenes as musicians rehearse for their shows.
This year’s National Association of Television Program Executives convention in Miami brought back fond memories for Seidl. It was during a NATPE convention, in Miami, that he first started selling stations on “Mix.”
Flash forward a decade and Seidl is still living the dream.
The best time to watch the show is 1 a.m. Sunday (think Saturday night) on CW-6. You can also see it at 3:35 a.m., Sunday, on WINK-TV and Saturday and Sunday at 4 a.m. on CW-6.
As I mentioned, Seidl is also a musician. His music is available on iTunes.
A few quick notes
Haley Webb returns from maternity leave Monday and will start her new p.m. shift as lead meteorologist on NBC-2.
Also, have you seen the new Robert Van Winkle-loves-mornings commercials? Many of you wrote in when the shift change was announced, worried that Van Winkle was being demoted; despite the fact that both he and the station assured us that it was his choice. Well, NBC-2 wants to put you worries to rest and assure you that Van Winkle is happy as a clam. And I must admit, he does look pretty darn at home in the a.m.
Viewers will have a chance to cast their votes on all the changes at NBC-2 this May, when sweeps resume.
Finally, as we’ve been speculating these past few weeks, it’s official, Katie Couric is leaving her CBS anchor chair behind; possibly to be a daytime talker. She may not get Oprah-sized ratings, but I’m guessing she’ll fare much better than she did with the “CBS Evening News,” which ranks dead last nationally behind Brian Williams (“NBC Nightly News”) and Diane Sawyer (“ABC World News”).
That’s all for now. Until next time, stay tuned.
Bill Green is a Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com journalist and a professional couch potato. Contact him at email@example.com.