Ever since Jonathan Place was a freshman in high school, he wanted to produce a sports show. A year later in, he got his chance. Mags gave Jon the okay to create a roundtable-styled talk show, and of course sports were the focus.
The show was titled “Talkin’ Trash,” a slang term for athletes taunting each other during games. The title came to Jon one day, and he liked it. The words evoked the image of opposing sides arguing. Of course, he wanted a structured debate without personal attacks that often happen on the game field.
There have been many popular cable shows on WAVM. “Talkin’ Trash” was one of them and paints a good picture of what it’s like working on TV 61.
“Talkin’ Trash’s” format called for a 1/2 hour program where a student moderator would suggest a topic and then open the floor to debate. Topics tended to circulate around professional football, basketball, and hockey, depending on the season. Baseball was popular too, but not that common because it was a Summertime sport. Of special interest to the Maynard community, the five also spoke about local sports.
The role of the moderator was multifold. In addition to introducing the topics for the talent and audience at home, he would play devil’s advocate to stir up more conversation. When the discussion ran amok, he would rein everyone in, and the moderator would also move things along when a topic had run its course usually switching to a new sport every ten minutes, so there’d be a little of each sport in each show.
While Jonathan Place had been very busy during the 1993-’94 school year – he produced 15 creative cart tapes for the Beacon Santa Telethon – he credits “Talkin’ Trash” as the reason he won a trophy at the 1994 Awards Banquet under the category of “Most Creative.”
“Talkin’ Trash” began airing in the Spring of ’94, just prior to college basketball’s March Madness. Jon recruited Ed Coleman as the moderator and Scott MacDonald, Dan Symes, Steve Curry, and Steve Atwood as the “talent.” Jon controlled the show from the centrally-located floor director position where he could fine tune the machinations. There was also a regular crew of four cameramen and a director, all of whom would arrive an hour before air to go over the program. However, after several episodes everyone knew the routine.
What was never routine were the actions before the camera. Every week the scene would vary. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Yet these swings provided for some of the shows rough times including one or two students getting rowdy on air and not willing to constructively contribute to the format. Instead, they would go on tangents and make personal attacks on certain professional players. That wasn’t allowed to happen at the station. Going on air in a live format was a great position of responsibility, and they had to respect that. After repeated warnings and attempts to improve their behavior, these students were summarily banished from the show. However, at no time was the show ever threatened to be canceled as long as the problems were corrected.
Jon Place is currently studying communications at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. During the upcoming school year, he will be Sports Director for two radio shows, “Sportsline” and “The Joanie O’Brien Show,” titled after UMass’ Woman’s Basketball Coach. Regarding his recent project, he said, “It’s amazing how easy it’s been for me because of WAVM. I can’t credit WAVM enough.”
For the most part however, the show flowed nicely–so nicely in fact that the show was often extended to an hour in length. The good shows were when all of the talent could really get involved with the discussions in a constructive way. One of the best, according to Place, was in the second season when a show was just about to close. In the final minutes, all of the talent feigned disgust over a certain topic. The credits rolled over empty chairs. Place claimed that the show was perfect and the closing was so funny that it perfectly wrapped the show.
Because of that first season, “Talkin’ Trash’s” has so far returned for three more. “I can’t even explain how much praise I got for that first season and show,” said Jon. Mags too wasvery happy. The show was successful on all accounts. Sometimes when a show is proposed, it doesn’t work out and the students must learn from their mistakes. When the show does work out and the students learn, then there was absolutely nothing to worry about.
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