As seen on TV
PUBLISHED: 09:53 15 October 2013 | UPDATED: 09:54 15 October 2013
As with many companies in Cornwall, the Cornwall Channel began life as a hobby: professional singer Shane Solomon was making films for fun when businesses started asking him to do them professionally.
Pretty soon his website had more than 200 videos on it and a chance conversation with Ed Salatas - who asked ‘why don’t you get it on TV’ – led to its TV debut in October 2012.
Within four weeks the first hour-long programme went out on television and the response, says Shane, has been incredible. Ed joined the Cornwall Channel as head of production and Shane also pulled in his partner Helen Robinson, a solicitor by day, to do voiceovers, after discovering she had the perfect voice. Shane’s day job as a professional singer has been sidelined as more and more of his time has been spent on the channel and the production company that runs alonside it.
“Less than a month from when Ed said get it on TV, it was on,” says Shane. “I made some phonecalls to businesses who had made films and said would you sponsor an advert on it and we got our sponsors for the first show.”
In many ways the Cornwall Channel is an analogy for the Cornish way of life. A passion leading to a job; a business created out of a hobby – and a success story which has gone on to inspire others to get involved purely for the love of telling the many stories of our county.
The channel’s success is partly down to the appeal of the county to so many, but it is also the enthusiastic magazine-style of the programme which can include everything from auditions for Kernow’s got Talent to visits to some of our best loved towns and attractions. Key elements that form our way of life for both Cornwall’s residents and its visitors are featured: its popular food series has featured people like TV food presenter – and Cornwall Life columnist – James Strawbridge as well as many chefs and foodie experts, and the channel also regularly features local sports and can be spotted filming at many festivals and events around the county.
The channel has a potential TV audience of 14 million people. Going out on a Monday night at 9pm on Sky channel 212 or Freesat 401, it is also watched on their website through a live feed. They number EastEnders actor – and sometime Falmouth resident – Steve McFadden among their fans – revealed when the team caught him by chance in his wetsuit for a quick interview.
The channel continues to work as a video production company and does videos for businesses which helps to support the channel and they are always looking for sponsorship and new businesses to get involved. This is not about amassing a fortune, but doing something he feels passionate about. Although, he admits more sponsorship and video clients would be be good.
“We do live broadcasts and have done local football – we had more than 3,000 people watching online St Austell v Newquay – watchers were tweeting us pictures of themselves watching from as far away as Sweden!”
During our visit to their studios in St Austell, there was a crew out on the Scilly Isles, and Ed and Shane were off to cover the Fowey Regatta to film the Red Arrows in action. The studio, shared with composer AJ Lornie, features a green screen room used for links and interviews but they admit that most of their time is spent out and about in their satellite van kitted out with studio equipment to edit and broadcast live. They have also installed an 84ins screen at Newquay Airport offering - an advertising channel for the businesses that help support the programme. “It’s great,” admits Ed. “We don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.”
Their magazine-style show will feature stories on what’s happening in Cornwall, coverage of the many events and interviews with people and a look at the places that make Cornwall so special – look out for a forthcoming show featuring Cornwall Life!
So what’s next for the Cornwall Channel? “The possibilities are endless,” says Shane. “Within a year, I’d like to be doing a daily hour-long show with other people feeding into it and telling their stories.” n
Catch up with the Cornwall Channel at 9pm every Monday on Sky 212 or Freesat 401- or watch online at cornwallchannel.co.uk