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Interview with Mike and Ann Johnston of Club Dance SOS
By Sounni de Fontenay
(more articles from this author)
1999-03-25
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With the RIAA continuing with their crusade against MP3, and new digital music formats constantly being born, we thought that it might be useful to get a short pulse on the current maelstorm. Enters David Touve, president of Noisebox.com, an online MP3 search engine. David gives us a few insights into what's happening and why it's happening as well as the low-down on his Noisebox website and upcoming online MP3 awards.

[Sounni de Fontenay] What is Club Dance?

[Mike & Ann Johnston] Club Dance is a daily, one hour show featuring the best in Country music and average, fun-loving folks who dance their way into the hearts of America. Interviews done by Shelley Mangrum and Phil Campbell majestically have turned the dancers into family for the hundreds of thousands who faithfully view the show every day.

[Sounni] How long has it been running?

[Mike & Ann] Club Dance ran quite successfully for 7 full years. The show you see daily now actually was taped and ran in 1998.

[Sounni] How can people view it?

[Mike & Ann] It still appears on TNN at 4:00 pm EST. Although an inconvenient time slot, regular viewers and avid fans tape it to watch later. Some folks have told us they have taped every show. Talk about loyalty- what other show can boast of a fan club like that, eh?

[Sounni] Who is TNN?

[Mike & Ann] TNN is The Nashville Network and is now owned by CBS Cable. However, production of Club Dance was under the direction of Cindy Dodson of Cinetel Productions. It was her baby, and she nursed it from a dream to a sensation! The irony of this is incredible. Country dance is hot, hot, hot. Beginning January 2000, TNN won't have ONE Country Dance show in it's line up.

[Sounni] Why was Club Dance cancelled by TNN?

[Mike & Ann] Good question! Whenever our group, Club Dance SOS has written to inquire about the cancellation of CD, the canned response has always been that it was just time for a change. Funny, huh. Gunsmoke would probably still be running if James Arness could have remained.

[Sounni] What has replaced it?

[Mike & Ann] Nothing yet, it can still be viewed in re-run form from 1998. However there is talk that TNN is working on a few things- non music or dance related we're told.

[Sounni] Why is Club Dance so important?

[Mike & Ann] Wholesome programming is scarce. Look at what is being passed off as prime time viewing today. I tell you, it's sickening to be quite honest. If Club Dance would ever have been given a prime time slot (7:00pm - 10:00pm) we would have become a national sensation. From the moment Shelley opens the show, the whole format is impromptu. Nothing seems very orchestrated, and only severe bloopers get edited. Whenever the regulars (or guests) are interviewed, you get to catch up on the latest news. Cindy got her hair cut- hmmm, wonder why? The guys won't get a T-time for Mike A, how come? Big Bob has health problems, and we need to pray for him. Hey look, Little Bob and Paula got married on the show- wow! You laugh, you cry, and grin a lot when you watch Club Dance- which surely is something our nations needs desperately at this time.

[Sounni] What impact do you think it will have?

[Mike & Ann] Plenty, I'm afraid! Many Country stars have received national exposure by having their songs aired on Club Dance, and then by appearing on the show. Last year Country star, Ty Herndon was on the show and Shelley interviewed him. He said that Club Dance had made a direct impact on his success. In fact, Ty admitted that whenever he writes a song now, he gives it the "danceability" test before releasing it. Now that is impact!

[Sounni] What is your association with Club Dance?

[Mike & Ann] We are not associated directly with Club Dance. We are merely an "activist" group (always wanted to use that word ;-) joined together at the heart to inform and activate others to do whatever we can to save CD.

[Sounni] What is your experience in the music industry?

[Mike & Ann] Mike has been involved with music most of his life. For over twenty years he has played guitar in Christian groups and now in our praise band at New Life Church in Battle Creek, Michigan.

[Sounni] What are you proposing to be done about the closing of Club Dance?

[Mike & Ann] Folks who would like to help us Save Our Show can email us at clubdance3@aol.com for further information, including addresses, phone numbers, web sites and a FREE weekly SOS UPDATE.

[Sounni] What is the latest word on the show and its survival?

[Mike & Ann] From what we are hearing, producer Cindy Dodson is making contact with other networks. All we need is one that will believe in the show as much as Cindy has- and of course, hundreds of thousands of fans, and we're dancing again.

-----

Sites to Visit:
Club Dance SOS - http://www.dejanews.com/~tnnclubdance/
Gary Cox - http://www.netten.net/~garycox
Ray & Connie - http://www.netwalk.com/~rayg/dance.htm
Petition - http://www.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/~couprie/dontditchCD.html

Club Dance SOS
POB 2301
Battle Creek, MI 49016

The Nashville Network (TNN)
2806 Opryland Dr.
Nashville, TN 37214

Cinetel Productions
POB 51210
Knoxville, TN 37950
423-690-9950


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