Northern Liberties’ own Larry Freedman — chair of the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association’s Zoning Committee — has begun a new melodic venture.
It’s a television show called Danny’s Guitar Shop, something he created in harmony with two friends and business partners. The program, which first aired on Oct. 1, now airs weekly on Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on WMCN-TV.
The whole project is the dream child of Danny Gold of Broomall, who had an idea for a television show while he was working as a sales representative for Fender, a manufacturer of electric guitars.
“I had the idea about five years ago,” Gold recalled during an interview on Monday, Oct. 3. “I saw that there were whole channels dedicated to food or to golf, but there was nothing dedicated to guitars.”
He decided to try to put together a show of his own, and left Fender in 2007 in pursuit of the dream. But, he hit plenty of roadblocks and eventually brought the idea to his longtime friend, Freedman.
“He got the idea for Danny’s Guitar Shop, but, it’s very difficult to sell an idea,” said Freedman. “You could talk to someone until you’re blue in the face, but you’ve got to go and do it.”
After some time discussing how to make Gold’s idea a reality — he always wanted to have a program that focused on a variety of aspects involving music, from the creation of instruments to the musical heritage of different locales — the two developed short audio pieces that aired on WXPN radio.
These four-minute audio shows were well received, but Freedman said they never grew into anything larger and, for a time, the idea for Danny’s Guitar Shop as a show died.
“It was dead. It was lying there with no pulse,” recalled Freedman.
But, with the show seemingly halted, Gold turned the idea of Danny’s Guitar Shop into a physical, bricks and mortar building, opening his own music store at 102 Forrest Ave. in Narberth, in June 2009.
And Freedman never let the idea for a show completely disappear.
“He kept bugging me not to let it die,” said Gold.
Realizing they needed a little more help, the friends reached out to Ron Stanford, who had an extensive background in video production.
With Stanford’s background in video and Freedman’s long history in production for audio — he runs his own business, Second Street Productions, out of his Northern Liberties home — and Gold’s winning personality and extensive knowledge of guitars and the music industry, the three found they could create beautiful music together.
“We’re lucky, because each of the three of us has different talents that fill in where the others leave off,” said Stanford in an email. “But, we’re all entertained by the same kinds of music, humor, and characters. If we enjoy what we’re producing, I think we just assume that there are others out there who will feel the same way.”
“We got together and that was it,” said Freedman. “We started shooting, Danny started talking, and then, we had a show. And, it’s a pretty good show.”
For the first episode, the three friends traveled to Martin Guitar Co. in Nazareth, Pa., the company, which, to many guitarists, creates the finest acoustic guitars money can buy.
With one episode in hand, the friends began shopping it around to television stations, both locally and across the East Coast, hoping to get the show put on TV.
But, Freedman said, even with a show that many found to be entertaining, finding a channel to air the program was also a long process, until they met John Gorchow, program director at WMCN-TV.
The channel, Freedman said, was being transitioned from an all-infomercial format into hosting its own programming. Based in Atlantic City, Freedman said, the channel reaches homes from as far as Cape May, N.J. to Reading, Pa., meaning the show could be broadcast to over three million homes.
Freedman said that Gorchow was immediately interested in the show.
“It’s not Wayne’s World. It’s not public access. This is a real channel,” said Freedman.
The three contacted local businesses to help sponsor the show — the new Union Transfer music venue, Onion Flats and Old City Publishing are the show’s core sponsors — and now Danny’s Guitar Shop can be seen every week.
“If you like watching stories about people who are passionate about what they do, you’ll love our show,” said a smiling Freedman.
Gold said the show is shot “guerilla style,” with the three partners doing everything needed to bring each episode to life. But, so far, the show’s going strong and they have even been able to use the real Danny’s Guitar Shop in Narberth in some of the footage.
“Now, we can use it as a sound stage,” said Gold. “We are having a great time. That’s why we are doing it.” ••
Check local listings for WMCN-TV. For more information on Danny’s Guitar Shop or to view full clips of the show or listen to the original radio segments visit www.dannysguitarshop.tv
Reporter Hayden Mitman can be reached at 215-354-3124 or firstname.lastname@example.org