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So You Wanna Be On TV

When ego calls


Over the 2,000 or so years I've roamed the galaxy known as the TV universe, I've noticed that no matter how much new technology comes along, some things stay the same. Yes, HD may be here and most broadcast wanna-bes don't know what three-quarter videotape looked like, but I still get a simple question from readers, strangers, and friends: how can I get on television? Thanks to reality shows, more cable TV shows than I can ever hope to watch, and a generation of young people growing up in front of Mom and Dad's camcorder, more people than ever want to be in the video spotlight. They have the nutty idea that being on TV equals fame, fortune and glamour.

The evidence of this is obvious: hundreds of thousands of people trying to sing their way on to American Idol whether Paula Abdul gives them special cough syrup or not. Thousands more wanting a shot on Trading Spaces, Survivor, or the like. I even read recently that the producers of Extreme Home Makeover get a thousand videotapes each day from people wanting their home blown up and re-done in a week.

If you have the ego-lust or talent, or just didn't win the cheerdance contest and thought you should have, here are a few ways to tap into TV. If there's a show you like that uses "real people" participants, use the Internet and go to either the network which airs it or the production company, and sniff around to see if they're conducting a casting call of any kind.

For you home-improvement buffs, for example, a 30-second search on HGTV's website ( found a "Be on TV" section with at least 14 shows listed as looking for participants. And on, a quick click to the (gulp) Fear Factor area turned up an online application just ready for those willing to eat gross stuff for the entertainment of 12 year-old boys.

Uncle TV wants you!

RADIO BY THE NUMBERS With the Winter Arbitron ratings just out for local radio, it appears that the snake keeps shifting among the 299,000 (sorry, it just seems that way) radio stations in the Charlotte market.

Won't bore you with a graphic breakdown, but suffice it to say that Paul Schadt and WKKT-FM are benefiting from Jeff Roper's departure from WSOC-FM with a nice ratings bounce.

And a spoiler moving up in the ratings is Clear Channel's WIBT-FM, "The Beat." This was the station that played oldies until an overnight format shift and staff firings turned thing upside down. Whatever, the honchos must be thinking clearly. The hip-hop mix is making a dent in listeners of the same music at KISS-FM and WPEG-FM. Interesting that WIBT has no goofy morning team blathering each day.

Stay tuned.

Shannon's latest project is Home Makers, airing weekdays on the Turner South cable network.

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