*AS THE AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG I’D LIKE TO THINK IT’S ALL GOOD. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST, IN MY VIEW, FORGOTTEN OLDIE SEGMENTS OF 2018. LOVE IT!*
During the holiday season of 1992, PBS aired a nationwide broadcast on its stations of “The Christmas Songs,” a concert featuring Mel Torme, Maureen McGovern, Doc Severinsen and His Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra directed by Zdenek Macal, the Carroll College PROJECT CREATE Children’s Choir, and the Alleluia Ringers of Concordia University.
The concert was taped at the then-Milwaukee Auditorium and it was terrific. The performance was aired for the next few years on PBS and then POOF, it was gone. Disappeared. Tucked into a vault somewhere. What a waste.
I asked a friend and good source at Milwaukee Public Television who was there then and remains now as to why. He supplied the answer with great detail.
PBS actually hired Milwaukee Public Television to produce the concert on their behalf and it was that year’s PBS national Christmas show.
PBS paid for the producers and directors, etc. The Milwaukee tech crew was utilized but PBS also brought in a large remote unit that Milwaukee staffed as Milwaukee’s truck was deemed too small, so it was used just for backup recording of the concert. PBS also brought in a large remote audio production truck from Nashville to handle all the sound mixing.
As to why this great concert hasn’t been an annual tradition on public television, I was informed it all amounts to rights payments. My source believes PBS negotiated and paid for two years usage of the concert tape, and then, no more.
For it to be used again, someone would have to do the re-negotiations with all the artists, the musicians, etc. Everyone would need to get paid yet again. In 1992 even the musicians that did a bit of a solo part got paid extra. Then there are also the payments to the musicians health and welfare (read pension) fund. Again, we’re talking $$$.
What about another (YIKES) pledge drive to support a rebroadcast? Just a thought.
Hard to find a tape of that entire concert, even on Ebay, etc.
We did find a few videos from that show.
Let’s begin with numero uno.
Good luck finding it.