Feature: ABC3’s Stay Tuned

18 May, 2011 by Sam Dallas

As a teenager, Lisa Gray was obsessed with music. She still is. From rock to dance to hip-hop, she appreciates all genres. She’s interviewed countless international acts over her decade-long TV production career.

It’s this passion for the dynamic art form that has resulted in a new interactive music show for mature-aged kids, which is currently screening on ABC3: Stay Tuned.


Importantly, the series – produced by Sydney company The Feds – features 100 per cent content requested from its target audience of 10-15 year-olds.

The young and very switched on music audience will – through video uploads – ask questions that hosts/bloggers actor Joel Phillips (Home And Away) and singer/dancer Nicole Singh will attempt to answer by interviewing several Australian and international artists and relevant music industry people.

Kids need to register on the ABC3 site initially before uploading their videos – captured on webcam – through a designed integrated flash tool.

By commissioning the new interactive series, ABC3 will be looking to build on its highly successful online presence, which saw the audience increase by 50 per cent in the year to January, 2011.

Such topics on the series covered include how artists warm up for a concert, what happens on tour, how to make a great video clip, what the hardest job in music is and what exactly is a pop icon.

One of three executive producers, Gray, and her team have undertaken heavy research over the past year, talking to the target audience about their love and passion for music and more importantly, what they wanted to see on a show that was created entirely for them.

“I said ‘what’s your favourite music TV show’ and they were like ‘we don’t watch television anymore’ – and I’m thinking ‘how am I going to make a music TV show for a generation that don’t watch TV any more,” laughs Gray from her Sydney base.

“So it was really important for us to make sure we were listening to the audience to see what they wanted to see and connect it – there’s so much content out there.

“Music is a first-form of independent self-expression for teenagers.

“It’s not just about watching it – it’s about getting on the website, uploading content and talking to us. And the more we do that, the more we can connect the bands to the fans.

“We want to make the best show we can for them.”

Being a former musician interviewer, Gray started to think that the “middle man” was not the only expert anymore with so much information being distributed online, so why not go directly from the audience to the artist?

One of the turning points was when Gray interviewed pop musicians Take That and Good Charlotte. She realised that when a question was asked from a fan, the artist “ultimately gave me better content back because they were directly from their fan-base”.

The 30-episode series, shot on the Sony EX350, was licensed by the ABC and had a $90,000 injection from Screen Australia to assist with production.

Artists appearing on the show – which consists of half-hour episodes (15 minutes of content and 15 minutes of requested video clips) – include Ke$ha, 30 Seconds To Mars, Michael Franti, The Australian Opera, Short Stack, Art Vs Science and Tinie Tempah.

Furthermore, the Feds team has developed a 15-part, three-minute mobile chat show called In Tune, currently in post-production, which will soon be available every fortnight.

Stay Tuned screens on ABC3 every Friday at 8pm, with repeats on Saturday at 4.30pm and Sunday at noon. Check out the official website at: staytuned.abc.net.au.

Hosts/Bloggers Nicole Singh (middle) and Joel Phillips (on Nicole's right) with
popular band 30 Seconds To Mars

Lizzy Nash (Executive Producer), Joel Phillips (Host/Blogger), Nicole Singh (Host/Blogger),
Lisa Gray (Executive Producer), and Michael Cook (Executive Producer)