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"Our TV show now has its own weekly music showcase," says producer Joe Stevens, whose local music program SoCal Showcase debuted earlier this year on Time Warner public access channel 19. "It will be at Winstons Beach Club in OB every Monday from 530pm to 9pm. We will be featuring past and future guests from the show and headlining national bands."

"Every month, Winstons and 710 Club will be picking a band from our showcase to feature as a headliner for a well-paid Saturday night gig, and we will film it. Winners are chosen based on talent and crowd draw."

The first Winstons show happens April 23. "Anyone interested in being booked for SoCal Showcase Sessions can message us here or call 619-581-7335. We are currently booking dates for May and June. Pick one and contact us."

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The show is made by local musicians and for local musicians, according to Stevens. “Each thirty minute episode is dedicated to one artist or band. The first ten minutes, I interview the artist, and then the band goes up and gives a twenty minute live performance.” The show's debut tapings included hard rockers King Legend, rapper Destructo Bunny, sixteen year-old singer/songwriter Shyla Day, Kitty Plague, Happy Ron Hill, Wendy Bailey, High Tide, Ronnie Lee, Summer Mencher, Megan Combs, Tori Roze, Starcrossed, Privatized Air, Celia St Croix, Defamation League, and Hocus.

A little over a dozen episodes are streaming online, and upcoming performances are said to include Slightly Stoopid and Switchfoot.

However, performers wishing to appear should be prepared to do more than just show up and play. “The best way for an artist or band to end up on the show as a guest is to attend the filming dates, and donate their time to helping produce or promote the show,” says Stevens, who also sings and plays guitar with Beer Money.

“I will choose which guests get priority based on how much time, effort, or resources they have put into the program as time goes on. We do not pick guests in consideration of clout or offers of money. No one can buy into a guest slot with anything less than a selfless commitment of time or resources to the program. The show is about music only. Not money.”

As for ground rules, “The music does have to be devoid of bad swear words, but the content can be about anything. No genre of music will be denied.”

The program is also webcast on Ustream, Livestream, and ComF5, with episodes archived at http://www.socalshowcase.tv.

One of the many things we can either thank or curse the U.S. Congress for is public access television. In the 1970s, as TV cable companies were growing into regional monopolies, Congress mandated that larger cable providers must put aside channels for public-produced community programming.

Today, there are over a thousand public access TV stations operating nationwide. When the city of San Diego grants charters to cable giants like Cox and Time-Warner, those companies guarantee this access to the airwaves, training (at no charge) interested community residents to run the equipment and to shoot and produce their own programs.

These shows can be on virtually any subject, provided certain technical procedures are followed and community standards are not violated. Public access producers operate under three basic guidelines: no soliciting of funds, no lotteries and no obscenities, either verbal or visual. Other than that, pretty much anything goes, and this sometimes results in controversies such as when the Ku Klux Klan began producing their own shows for local cable.

San Diego has a long history of public access music shows, some right out of Wayne’s World.

Club 33 captured early ‘80s performances by bands like the Beat Farmers, metalheads ruled on Music Underground, local music booster Brad Cahill produced Songwriter Spotlight, and a late-80s jazz show called Music of Life aired in North County.

In addition, Hot Traxx (produced by David Law) screened urban videos, Dimension Cable had Dimension Video Explosion, Musical Playhouse ran for over sixty episodes on Cox Cable, Leche: the Musical aired on Oceanside’s KOCT from 1993 through 1995, and a married couple from the local branch of NORML has been producing Yourself Presents on local access stations for over twenty years.

Here's a full set from Kitty Plague on So-Cal Showcase, including an interview segment:

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