In the Beginning

Once upon a time I owned a mediocre bar.  The upside of that mediocrity was meeting a lot of much-more-than-mediocre people.  One of those, Audrey Schaefer, was the communications director of the 9:30 Club.  Growing up in the DC area, I’d seen more concerts than I could count at the 9:30.  Ironically, one day while meeting with another venue interested in commissioning a music show, I ran into that friend.  It wasn’t a place either of us would normally be, let alone on a random mid-day, mid-week, mid-summer day.  But indeed we were.  When she found out why I was there and sent me a text reading “You can't do a show with them!  You have to do a show with the 9:30 Club!”  About .04 seconds later, I was onboard.  The dream was born. 

Our directive from the 9:30 Club's co-owner, Seth Hurwitz, was simple:  make something unlike anything else on TV, and make sure that our production didn’t diminish the experience for the bands, patrons or staff.  For about two years a ragtag team germinated on ideas, generated pitches, decks, reels and more.  That was the fun part, but how would we fund it?

Enter our great sponsorship representatives, who pounded the pavement for the right partners.  We came awfully close to doing funding deals with companies – big, Fortune 100 companies – that would have been fine, but not perfect.  But then, starting with Squarespace, things started to come to take shape.  Squarespace’s bold commitment to Live at 9:30 was followed in relatively short order by Shinola, Destination DC and the DC Film Office.  The family was complete when Lagunitas – a tasty brew! – came on board.  Working with companies that love music, embrace technology, understand the magic of the 9:30 Club and were willing to take a chance on this very much “Not-Your-Mama’s-PBS show” is a perfect fit, with the perfect partners. 

So, funding in hand, bands on board, and ideas mostly baked, we went to work.  We’ve filmed nearly 60 bands, countless interviews, comedians, b-roll, etc.  We’ve filmed and edited and talked and argued (and made up) and lost sleep, eaten poorly and drank too much, laughed and learned, filmed more, edited more and so on.  In short, we’ve made TV.  And, kind of like making sausage, a lot of different parts get thrown in, grounded up and pumped out.  It’s not always pretty to watch the process, but we’re awfully proud of the end result, and are confident we’ve come up with something tasty.  So please enjoy Live at 9:30 – it’s a phenomenal show, with more people to thank than could ever be contained in a blog, credit roll or otherwise – but I hope that everyone involved – from club staff, to editors, to syndicators, to sponsors and so on – is proud of it, has enjoyed the ride and gets to do it for many more years!  Thanks for the opportunity.      

-Michael Holstein - Executive Producer