Flick Freaks

Mark Bluestein and Jason Harris hope to turn St. Louis cinema buffs on to their irreverent talk show

Beverly Hacker, manager of KDHX, says it's hard to measure how many people see the show, but Harris and Bluestein think they've got a decent following. "People on the street started talking to me about the show," recalls Harris. "People started coming up to Mark and saying something to him at Schnucks. Everyone started watching it. It was crazy."

Still, the numbers are small. Charter cable offers 150 channels of programming, most of it professionally made, market-tested, with paid advertisers. Drawing viewers to a relatively obscure local show is a challenge, with many would-be public-access producers shifting to video blogs that can be created just as cheaply, uploaded to a Web site and watched by millions.

"Initially, I thought I was going to do a public-access show," says Bill Streeter, producer of the popular Internet video blog Lo-Fi St. Louis. "But it felt like I could experiment more with a video blog than I could with public-access television. And the potential for an international audience rather than just a local audience was a more appealing idea to me."

Jennifer Silverberg
Movie junkie Mark Bluestein fell in love with Jaws 
— and the rest is history.
Jennifer Silverberg
Movie junkie Mark Bluestein fell in love with Jaws — and the rest is history.

Hacker says that the station is offering blogging workshops, which she envisions as the next logical step in the evolution of community media. "We feel like there's a real niche for us there. The thing that we provide, as much as anything, is teaching people how to do it better. It's not a threat to us."

Bluestein's focus, though, is trying to turn the rough footage from the other day into a coherent show. Onscreen, Harris is talking about the film Silent Hill, which surprised him by how good it was. "I haven't seen this many creepy characters since Hell Raisers II," he says. "So check it out. They got some hot nurses in there, too."

With that, Bluestein laughs and rolls his eyes. "People say they like the show," he says, "so I'll keep doing it until they say they hate it — and then start working at McDonald's."

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