It was sometime in 1995. I was working part time for KTTC in Rochester, and KSMQ in Austin, doing master control shifts for each of those TV stations. (Master control refers to the final video and audio output that goes out over the air.) At KSMQ, the local PBS station, I had just met a new employee, Jim Schneider. He was also hired to be an MCO (Master Control Operator), so I was training him in.
Part of the job was recording various programs off of satellite for air later on. One of the shows that came down a few times for us to record and quality check was "Blues Slide Guitar Workshop". This was NOT Masterpiece Theater, Nova, Nature or any other of the high quality shows PBS is known for. It was more like a show produced and edited in someone's garage in about five minutes.Which was too bad, because it was a subject we both liked - music, and playing guitar. It featured a blues guitar player (of course), who seemed to know his stuff. He also took the cameras out to a few clubs, interviewing other blues musicians doing their thing.
The show often had bad audio. And terrible lighting. Once, the show just ended about 30 seconds before it was supposed to, abrubtly cut off in mid-sentence. In a nutshell, the quality control was bunk. You get the picture.
Jim and I each had some video and audio experience, in college and elsewhere. I don't remember who brought it up first, but we decided we could do a much better job if we produced the same show. The discussion eventually led to the question, could we do some sort of show, about music, that would be shown somewhere? Maybe on cable access? Hey, we could get videos from the national acts, and show them like MTV (used to). Even better, we could go out and find local bands, record them on stage, interview them and put that on the show too! Wouldn't that be great?
And so we did it. With help from others, first of all Dave Haugland, who among other things came up with the original drawing of our Lonesome Roadie guy (seen to the left). I'm not sure how the name Lonesome Roadie came about. I only know it was either Jim or Dave. (I always thought it had to do with the lyric in that Molly Hatchet song, "travelin' down that lonesome road..." But Jim doesn't remember either!)
That was the genesis of our show, and our production company. In a 1998 episode of just testing..., we dramatically recreated what I just described above. You will see Lonesome Roadies Suzi and Moolie(Brad) in the first bit, followed by Jim and me. Please enjoy this video, showing some *ahem* high caliber acting...