In the 10 years that she has hosted the cable access show “Cameras Rolling” on WHC-TV Channel 5, Marsha Howard Karp has had an eclectic menagerie of guests, from musicians to magicians.
Once, in a pinch, she even interviewed herself when her scheduled guest canceled at the last minute.
“I didn’t have time to find another guest,” Howard Karp said laughing in a recent interview. “[The show] was really funny. Our director is amazing; he edited it with a split screen.”
For her 10th anniversary show, recorded last week, Howard Karp played it more conventionally, interviewing her first-ever guest - Howard Hirsch, who runs the Farmington Valley Stage Company.
Howard Karp reflected on the 10 years - 120 shows, one show recorded per month - that she has been on cable.
“I was more self conscious,” she said. “I took myself way too seriously.”
Howard Karp said that as a young child, she had a stammer. She said that she was sure viewers would pick up on it when they watched the show. Howard Karp said that after 10 years, she’s let go of that phobia.
The technology has also changed. When the half-hour show initially ran, the two women who taped it were wonderful, Howard Karp said, but they didn’t edit anything. Now the show has a director who is incredibly creative, she said.
In addition, the show used to be filmed. Now everything is digital.
“It’s mind boggling,” Howard Karp said.
The same could be said for someone who has dedicated so much time and effort to running a cable access show for a decade.
Back in 2003, her main competition for prime time on WHC-TV was “Larry the Leaf Guy,” who informed viewers of when the leaf pickups were in town, Howard Karp said.
Howard Karp, an actress looking for a creative outlet when she started the show, decided to have an interview show bringing on guests who were into the arts.
She’s had Stewart O’Nan, who co-authored the book “Faithful” with Stephen King, on the program as well as puppeteer Bart Roccoberton, a UConn professor and Nick Ortner, author of "The Tapping Solution." (“Tapping,” according to Ortner’s bio, “is a healing modality that combines ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology.”)
While there is no formula for a successful show, Howard Karp said that the best guests tend to be the ones who are the most gracious.
O’Nan, for example, has had three of his books made into movies, Howard Karp said. But he said he is a big fan of community television, came on the show and thanked the crew and wanted a copy of the show.
Her goal is to book Kevin Bacon to talk about his band The Bacon Brothers. She said she ran into him at a premier several years ago, and he said, “Anything is possible.”
She said that maybe he’d come on the show to promote his charity sixdegrees.org.
It would be unwise to count her out, according to show director Jitu Huntley.
“She really does a great job bringing in unique guests,” he said in a telephone interview.”She does a nice job of bringing in a nice mix of guests and having a lot of fun.”
And while Howard Karp said that the show isn’t about her, it’s about the guests, she also said she “is having a blast.”
Howard Karp said that senior residents in town have viewing parties of the show, one of whom has decided to get into designing sets.
Although she has fielded offers to do paid spots on local television shows, for now she said she is content with doing “Cameras Rolling.”
“I just try to help someone else learn something new,” she said.Cameras Rolling is scheduled to be shown on WHC-TV Channel 5 on Oct. 14 and 30 at 8 p.m. Archived shows of Cameras Rolling can be viewed at www.whctv.org. Donations to the station may also be made online.