People all over the world are finding out about the William S. Hart Mansion, Lombardi Ranch and other Santa Clarita Valley locations.
That’s because in recent months, the long-running TV series, “Out & About with Roger Martin,” has spread well beyond SCVTV and its sister station in Beverly Hills.
Today the program – hosted by onetime SCVTV staff member Roger Martin and often featuring Santa Clarita events and locations – is carried on cable television channels across the United States, on satellite TV in five European countries, and on three broadcast channels in New Zealand.
“Jim and I have worked hard to develop a worldwide audience, and we’re keeping at it,” said Martin, referring to his longtime producer Jim Lichnerowicz.
“It’s exciting to know that a worldwide audience is learning about our ultra-local cultural activities and history,” Martin said.
Through “Out & About,” Martin and Lichnerowicz are able to focus on events that are off network television’s beaten path, such as the Ramona Days festival at Rancho Camulos and a Western-themed fundraiser at LARC Ranch in Saugus.
A New Series
Martin’s venture into the great Southern California outdoors began in March 1991 when he was on the staff of BHTV Channel 3 in Beverly Hills. A producer at the station, Lichnerowicz, offered to produce and edit a news magazine series with a suggested title of “Out & About in Beverly Hills.”
Martin abruptly snuffed out the idea when he determined there was not enough new material in Beverly Hills to sustain an entire series.
“So it became ‘Out & About with Roger Martin’,” the host said. “We expanded the concept to include events mostly around Los Angeles and Southern California, with some coverage in New Mexico, Utah and Canada.”
The duo continued to go “out and about” when Martin joined the SCVTV team in 1995.
Twenty years have seen the production of more than 267 episodes – 100 more than “I Love Lucy,” Martin notes – and most contain coverage of two different Southland events.
“That makes well over 500 places we’ve visited,” Martin said, “shooting, learning and airing the experience.”
Santa Clarita Coverage
One of Martin’s earliest episodes to feature the Santa Clarita Valley came in 1994 when he was still on staff in Beverly Hills. Martin and Lichnerowicz were the only L.A.-based crew to provide thorough, documentary-style coverage of the devastation wrought locally by the Northridge earthquake in January of that year.
Guiding the pair was SCV resident Dianne Wohlleben, who would stay with them and contribute to later episodes.
Martin’s earthquake coverage included interviews with local victims, and with then-Mayor George Pederson and current City Manager Ken Pulskamp, who was assistant city manager at the time.
Martin strikes a classic pose that is growing increasingly familiar to people outside of Southern California.
The episode aired “even before the SCVTV studio was fully constructed,” Martin said. It was one of the first programs to be shown on SCVTV in 1994 after Santa Clarita’s two separate public television channels merged into Channel 20 on the local cable systems.
Today, SCVTV is available in Santa Clarita on Time Warner Cable Channel 20, AT&T U-verse 99, and worldwide at SCVTV.com.
And today, it is the Internet that is helping Martin and Lichnerowicz achieve global syndication.
A Web-based service utilized by community television channels (including SCVTV) enables other stations to download “Out & About” episodes. Martin said some of the best response for his program through the new distribution method has come from Fort Worth, Texas.
A TV station in Huntington, West Va., has aired the show regularly for years, he added. And for the past dozen years, it has been available on Channel 36 in Los Angeles.
This week it makes its debut on KCLV Channel 2 in Las Vegas. It continues to run weekly on SCVTV.
New Episodes, New Audiences
Martin, now 70, left SCVTV in 2003. But Martin and Lichnerowicz haven’t scaled back their production schedule. If anything, they’ve stepped it up.
In community after community, first-time viewers are being exposed to new and repeat episodes that have featured the Hart Park Animal Fair, the opening of the Jan Heidt Newhall Metrolink Station, the Gibbon Conservation Center in Saugus, Pumpkin Days at Lombardi Ranch, various street art festivals in Santa Clarita, and last year’s unveiling of the new William S. Hart postage stamp on the grounds of Hart’s Newhall home.
When Rancho Camulos celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 1910 D.W. Griffith film “Ramona” with Mary Pickford, and when the SCV Historical Society celebrated the life of Charlie Chaplin in February, Martin and his crew were there.
“Viewers all over the world are beginning to be exposed to the highlights of the good life in the Santa Clarita Valley,” Martin said.
For detailed episode information, visit www.outandabouttv.com and click on the “episodes” button or follow the link to the show’s Facebook page. “Out & About with Roger Martin” can be seen Mondays at 9:30 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. on SCVTV, and online at SCVTV.com.