The city government plans to launch a music show on its public television station.
The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved funding to start a monthly, 30-minute program known as “Oak City Sessions,” which will air on Raleigh Television Network and the city’s website.
“Oak City Sessions” is an effort to support the arts community, boost the economy and market the city as the arts and culture capital of the South, Mayor Nancy McFarlane said. Shows will feature performances by local musicians who will also talk about why they like Raleigh.
“We talk about being a city of innovation and supporting the arts community. This is a way to showcase and support it,” McFarlane said.
“I think a lot of people will be surprised about how much local talent we have,” she added.
The first show features local indie-pop band Season & Snare and is likely to air sometime in March, according to Damien Graham, Raleigh’s communications director.
Each show costs the city about $4,500 to produce, he said. The council set a show budget of $25,000 for the remainder of the year, which ends in June.
The city’s public affairs office will provide camera equipment and oversee the show but is looking for a producer to run it and recruit performers. The city will begin accepting partnership proposals on Friday, Graham said.
The city recorded the pilot episode – which Deep South Productions coordinated for free – at the City of Raleigh Museum on Fayetteville Street downtown. But Raleigh plans to record at different venues around the city, Graham said.
The city wants to showcase a variety of artists as well.
“It would be great if we could get someone like King Mez,” Graham said, referring to the rapper, a Raleigh native.
Raleigh has a reputation as one of the most music-friendly cities in the South. The city has hosted Hopscotch Music Festival since 2010 and IMBA’s World of Bluegrass festival since 2013.
“Oak City Sessions” could boost Raleigh’s reputation much like the “Austin City Limits” television show did for the Texas capital after its inception in 1976, Graham said. That show eventually inspired a namesake festival that draws big-name artists and thousands of people each year.
To hear Casey Allen and Autumn Brand of Season & Snare tell it, Raleigh could be on the brink of something special, too.
In the pilot, the singers described Raleigh as a great place to live with a “tight-knit” community of musicians who are eager to help each other.
“There’s something you can take pride in in calling Raleigh home,” Allen said.
Raleigh has a downtown with a cool urban environment, but also has peaceful areas like Lake Johnson, where Allen said he likes to walk.
“And people are so nice here,” Brand added.