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Media: September 2009

| September 1, 2009

‘JBTV’ Needs An Angel


Watch “JBTV” this week (beginning September 3rd) with featured guests Tim Hiatt and Steve Forstneger from IE. Check for air times.

“I’m still here rockin’, but I need a sponsor,” says “JBTV” host/owner Jerry Bryant, who’s been bringing alternative-music videos, concert footage, and free-form interviews to the Chicago airwaves since 1986. “I don’t know how much longer I can keep going. It’s hard to keep doing the show without someone to help pay for things. But where do you find sponsors?”

“JBTV” has always been a labor of love for Bryant, who earns a living with his advertising agency. “It’s not a profit-making show, but for the love of music. I want to give local groups a place to perform,” he explains.

Over the past 24 years Bryant has done some 3,600 shows – featuring a who’s who of local and national bands – and hasn’t made a dime. Nor has he taken a vacation.

Each of the shows he produces at his $2.5 million state-of-the-art facility uses eight HD cameras, and costs about $6,500, says Bryant, who estimates he’s lost “millions” on “JBTV” – which won two Billboard Video Awards for Best Local/Regional Alternative Modern Rock Show. But he says it’s all been worth it. “The studio is built that way so bands can look like they do on ‘The Tonight Show,'” he explains.

“The only reason I’m still on TV in Chicago is because WJYS is still a mom-and-pop station,” says Bryant, who believes that consolidation has taken the local flavor out of radio, TV, and newspapers. “At least with a local company you can buy airtime and put a show on the air.”

In an ideal world, “there would be some actual benefactor who would come in and give us enough money to get by for another year and fund some concerts at the Metro or the Vic – and not to have that much input into the show. That’s the problem – you take some people’s money with advertising, and they say, ‘We expect to have this artist on.’ But I want to stay true to my format.

“I would like to get some local beer company or business, so it’s win-win for everybody. We could help them and promote their events and they can help us; it’s a community thing.”

With financing, he’d eventually like to have a nightly live-music webcast. “It’s whole new world out there,” he says. “An up-and-coming band can’t go on tour and make money any more. They have to go from city to city and be the opening band for 10 people and try to live on that. So I’d like to get a platform where I could put our ‘JBTV’ show online and have nightly live webcasts. I could have bands come in and play and get exposure and gain popularity on a different kind of level, instead of some crummy, handheld iPhone video.”

“Every band, no matter if they’re starting out or the Dandy Warhols, gets treated the way they should be treated, with the audio and video done properly. We have to make the band look as good as we can, because this may be their one shot.”

He adds, “This is the calm before the storm. We’re at the beginning of something great. We just have to figure out how to make it work for us.

“We need a sponsor who is adventurous, and who realizes there is a whole new world out there.”

“JBTV” airs Saturdays at 11 p.m. on WEDE-Channel 34 and HDTV WJYS-Channel 62-2 as well as on Chicago Cable TV Channel 25 Sunday night at midnight, Thursday night at 8, and Wednesday night at 9. You can see videos at

STEVE DAHL RETURNS: Steve Dahl‘s new one-hour daily podcast starts Tuesday, September 8th and will be available at,, and via iTunes. “I will be podcasting from my basement (deconstructing) every weekday for an hour, and the show will be up by noon,” Dahl said in an e-mail interview. “I am paying for all of the equipment and for my staff. The staff will include Mary Van Daele (my producer), ‘Production’ Pete Zimmerman, ‘Jim Kid’ Ruffato, Brendan Greely, and Stephanie Fallara. I will try and get Buzz to stop by from time to time. I am still broadcasting under the auspices of CBS, so I am bound by their rules and regulations. I am excited to get back behind the microphone, and I want this to be successful so I can get out of my basement.”

ODDS N SODS: Where do former print journalists end up? On the Internet of course, where they launch new Web sites. Former Daily Herald sports writer Dave Miller joins his out-of-work brethren with an awesome new concert site, It features a comprehensive concert schedule that’s searchable by date or venue, as well as a daily listing of music-related TV appearances and music related news, plus musings on past concerts . . . The latest Illinois community to get a low-power FM station is Ottawa, where local attorney Jonathan Freeburg recently launched a classic-rock station for a couple thousand dollars, at 103.9 FM. The show originates from his attic, and primarily consists of Freeburg putting his AOR-crammed iPod on “shuffle.” Thank goodness someone is finally providing a locally based alternative to corporate radio.

— Cara Jepsen

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