Toni Ballard
Host and Creator of Studio 3

Audio Interview

Symposium Panel Video

Toni Ballard
February 8, 1994

On January 3, 1994, an exciting, new show premiered on WGMC-TV3.

"Studio 3" is a half-hour music and interview program featuring the best jazz groups in New England. The show airs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10:30pm, following the news.

Taped before a live audience on Monday nights at Greater Media, "Studio 3" is produced and hosted by "Newswatch 3" Arts & Entertainment reporter, Toni Ballard. Directing the four-camera shoot is Doug Frauenholz, who does the post-production editing and also designed all of the graphics for the show. Jack Wertheimer, of WICN-FM and Brownstone Recordings and producer of the"Jazz at Sunset" concert series at the New England Science Center, was brought in as co-producer and talent coordinator. Other contributors have been Blair Cole, lighting, and on cameras, Jim Burke, Paul Racette, John Bazouksas, Chris Byork, Tim Young, Bob McElroy and John Suire.

"Studio 3" was conceived out of a desire to bring jazz to an enthusiastic, ever growing audience in the community and to give the kind of exposure that only television can provide to the many excellent jazz musicians in New England. A jazz vocalist herself, and a former jazz radio host, Toni Ballard had been exploring the idea of doing an "on-location" jazz program for several months. It was Allan Eisenberg who came up with the idea to tape the show right in the studio at Greater Media. The biggest obstacle was the sound. Realizing that we lacked the equipment needed to record music, Toni approached Immedia Sound to see if they would be willing to trade sound engineering services and equipment for commercial time and a produced spot. Immedia agreed to the trade.

While "Studio 3" was still in the planning stages, Allan was approached by local singer Jim Porcella who was planning a live CD recording with the Jeff Holmes Big Band at the El Morocco Restaurant. Allan decided to send the mobile studio, with Doug directing, to videotape one evening of the two-night recording session. Two complete shows were produced from that evening's performance.

Other programs include Dick Odgren and Emil Haddad; the Rich Falco Quartet; the Dixieland group, Made in the Shade; guitarist Jane Miller; the Sled Dogs; pianist Mark Kross with jazz legend Herb Pomeroy. On February 25th, the crew will do another "on-location" taping with vibraphonist Cecilia Smith at WPI. Plans are also in the works to tape shows in Boston and at the "Jazz at Sunset" series and to syndicate the program to other cable systems.


Studio 3, which premiered January 3, 1994, is a half-hour program of music and interviews featuring the best jazz and improvisational groups in New England, as well as some internationally-known acts, performing at Mechanics Hall and other venues in Worcester, Massachusetts. Hosted and produced by Toni Ballard, the show airs three nights a week on WGMC-TV3 and is seen in twenty towns in Worcester County. The Worcester Magazine Readers' Poll proclaimed Studio 3 the best local program. The show was one of five music programs in the country nominated for a local CableACE'93 award. And in 1997, the New England Chapter of Women in Cable and Telecommunications awarded Studio 3 the title of best cable program in New England produced by a woman.

Studio 3 was conceived out of a desire to bring jazz to an enthusiastic, ever growing audience in the community and to give the kind of exposure that only television can provide to the many excellent jazz musicians in New England. During its first two seasons, Studio 3 was taped live-to-switcher with four cameras before a live audience, primarily at the studio of WGMC-TV3. Since the fall of 1995, all shows have been taped on location: at concerts featuring jazz greats like guitarist Larry Coryell, pianist James Williams and Intensive Care Unit, and vibraphonist Warren Chiasson at beautiful Mechanics Hall; at jazz venues like El Morocco and Sakura Tokyo; and at the Jazz at Sunset concert series at the EcoTarium, formerly the New England Science Center. Critical to the show's success has been the promotion of upcoming telecasts by jazz hosts on WICN-90.5FM, National Public Radio in Worcester.

Among the groups featured on 96 eclectic shows taped over the past seven years are vibraphonist Cecilia Smith; pianist Dick Odgren and trumpeter Emil Haddad; jazz singers Shawnn Monteiro, Karrin Allyson, Dave Frishberg, Jim Porcella, Steve Marvin, Luciana Souza, Donna Byrne, Monica Hatch, Linda Dagnello, and Lisa Thorson; guitarist Jane Miller; clarinetist Harry Skoler with cornetist Warren Vache; trumpeters Herb Pomeroy and Lou Colombo; the acapella group, Vox One and the solo voice of Bob Stoloff; the American television debut of South African vocalist Tsidii LeLoka, who was recently nominated for a Tony Award for her featured performance on Broadway in The Lion King; the world music group Unu Mondo; German bassist Fabian Bausch; saxophonists Dick Johnson, Billy Novick and Cercie Miller; the cabaret of Lynne Jackson and Mike Palter and Carol O'Shaughnessey; the jazz/rock/blues of the Sled Dogs; the country/swing of Valerie and Walter Crockett; as well as the Silver Leaf Gospel Singers, the Tuxedo Classic Jazz Band, and the Silver Bullet Swing Orchestra.

Historically, it's been difficult for jazz groups to attract large audiences in the Worcester clubs. The economy of the early '90's resulted in fewer people going outside their homes for entertainment, especially in the colder months. We believed that providing a quality jazz program would address this issue and, at the same time, expose people to music they might not hear otherwise. From the musicians' perspective, this could only mean a bigger audience for subsequent live performances and an increase in their CD sales.

We believe that Studio 3 is much more than entertainment. Not only is our program a recording of a musical event; it's a vehicle for Worcester County residents to celebrate artistic excellence in their community. Studio 3 also gives WGMC-TV3 the opportunity to play an active role in the movement to keep jazz -- one of the few truly American art forms -- alive.

"Local Jazz Cats Get Their Due on TV"
Worcester Magazine
December 22, 1993