This concert was fully licensed by the Kingston Trio, LLC (Bob and Bobbie Shane), along with permission to record it for television and to exploit it as a television special and through the sale of DVDs and CDs, including use of the trademark. I created an entity, Will Rogers Holiday Production, LLC, based in Oklahoma for this purpose. The LLC is sole owner of all rights to the concert, including the copyright and all performance licenses. I am the executive producer of the television special, which is a fancy title for the person who pays the bills.
The Will Rogers Holiday Production, LLC, engaged Chip Miller and his entity, Desert C.A.M., Inc., of Indian Wells and Burbank, California, to record, edit, prepare for telecast, and market the show. They brought a few people with them and hired some local people. Chip served as director for capturing the live performance on multiple cameras. His wife, Travis, edited and handled the technical aspects of transfers to the television stations and networks. Chip and Travis did a nice job of assembling the eight camera shots into a tightly woven, fast-paced show, and mixing the sound to perfection. George Grove consulted on the sound mixing. It's really a quality work.
The LLC has also engaged other marketing assistance. We are already planning a marketing strategy for next year and beyond.
The LLC also contracted with a major manufacturer of DVDs and CDs, and the LLC owns the inventory, which is warehoused in Florida, where I live. A stock of both products has been placed with a company that handles exclusively the fulfillment of orders taken by public television outlets during their pledge drives. The stations buy the DVDs and CDs at wholesale and are free to make them available as premiums to those who donate to the stations. We do not set the price they are free to charge.
I selected Amazon to handle the on-line sales and fulfillment of the DVD and CD orders. Amazon has a high degree of credibility; they are efficient; and Amazon Prime members get free shipping. We set our own pricing, but Amazon encourages its sellers to be competitive.
As a new entity seeking to sell on Amazon, we went through a vetting process, to Amazon's credit. It took a while to be approved, which is probably the source of the discussion about Amazon not accepting our products for sale. We are fully engaged with the Fulfillment by Amazon service.
Upon receipt of the shipment of DVDs and CDs from our replicator, I shipped an initial stock to an Amazon fulfillment center that they designated, where the inventory was inspected, counted and distributed to other centers. Once they had the inventory in hand, they activated the listings with the notice that the items would not be available until several days. But they started taking orders. (Actually, we had a good day with lots of both items ordered.) Once the inventory is "stowed" on their shelves, the orders will be shipped. It's really an amazing process—very efficient.
There has been a lot of discussion in this forum about Amazon, unfortunately much of it misinformation and speculation. At one point yesterday, Amazon posted a notice that there was only one CD left in stock. I think that was a hiccup in getting our account set up, because I sent the recommended amount of items, which will be sufficient to allow us to keep track of the inventory. When it gets low, I have plenty of product ready to ship to them. Until they are ready to release the orders, they put the inventory in “reserve.” That’s why they showed the CDs to be nearly out of stock. Later, it was clear that the products would not be available for several days, but that orders could be taken.
Separately from serving as executive producer of the television special, I also produced the concert itself on behalf of the Will Rogers High School Community Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity. I had a lot of volunteer help from members of the foundation. The licensee, Will Rogers Holiday Production, LLC, has an agreement with this foundation to record and exploit the concert in exchange for valuable consideration to the foundation.
The concert was held in the beautiful art deco auditorium of Will Rogers High School, which was built during the Great Depression and is on the National Register of Historic Places ("with historic significance"). It is an amazing place to perform, as Rick noted during the encore to a standing ovation.
We were too late in the season to get this program on the PBS schedule, but we released it for uploading to all public television stations and networks (including those affiliated with PBS) via the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) on November 18. It is up to the individual stations and networks whether to schedule the program. We are still communicating with stations and networks all over the U.S., making their management aware of this holiday special, and we have received some help from Kingston Trio fans, who have contacted their local PBS affiliates, urging them to find a slot in their holiday lineup. The list is still growing. I will be happy to assist any public television outlet or network obtain a feed in case they missed the NETA feed. If you make contact with the management of any public television network or station who indicates an interest in running the special this season, please copy me on any correspondence received from them and I will gladly follow-up with details.
Hopefully, as people see this program on the schedules of their local channels, they will announce the date and time on this forum.
We also have some prospects of the special being shown this season in Japan over NHK, the japan Broadcasting Corporation, and in the United Kingdom. Nothing concrete yet, as far as I know. These and other international markets are in our plans for next year and beyond.
This "Holiday Cheers" concert is the only time The Kingston Trio ever recorded a holiday special for television. It is the last live performance recorded for television of the George-Bill-Rick era. But, as we note in the album's printed inserts, The Kingston Trio legacy continues with new members. For additional information on The Kingston Trio, see the official website: www.kingstontrio.com.
The Kingston Trio still ranks after half a century in the all-time lists of many of Billboard's cumulative charts, including those for most weeks with a number one album, most total weeks charting an album, most number one albums, most consecutive number one albums, and most top 10 albums.
This program has the potential to be a wonderful annual holiday classic for television. Think of Andy Williams, Donnie & Marie, Lawrence Welk, The Carpenters, etc.
The DVDs and CDs created from this concert contain four bonus songs that were performed at the concert but not included in the television special. The DVD also includes a special greeting from Bob Shane plus some outtakes. You are sure to enjoy this recording. The CD contains a 4-page pull-out with an abbreviated history of the Kingston Trio, with a reference to the official KT website for more history and details of its current composition. Here are the songs:
THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE
ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT
LAST MONTH OF THE YEAR (WHAT MONTH WAS JESUS BORN IN?)
GO WHERE I SEND THEE
WERE WE COME A'CAROLING
GOODNIGHT, MY BABY
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
A ROUND ABOUT CHRISTMAS
ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH
SOMERSET GLOUCESTERSHIRE WASSAIL
WHITE SNOWS OF WINTER
MARY'S BOY CHILD
DECK THE HALLS
WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS
WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?
I'M GOING HOME (CALIFORNIA)
Chip attended a recent sold-out concert in California of the Josh-Mike-Tim trio and reported that Josh introduced him in the audience and gave a plug to the "Holiday Cheers" television special as well as the "Celebration" special already running on PBS and the second "Celebration" special soon to be released. (Thanks, Josh, I have bought tickets to the March 14 show in St. Petersburg. See you there.)
Go to www.kingston-trio.com, where you will have the option to view a 4-minute preview of the DVD, or click on "BUY NOW" and be directed to these items on Amazon. You can also go directly to www.amazon.com and then do a product search for "Kingston Trio Holiday Cheers" to access both the DVD and CD.
Besides ordering for yourself, keep in mind that these make great stocking stuffers. Spread the cheer to your family and friends with a gift of music.
I apologize for the length of this missive, but the discussion strings on this and other forums indicate a keen interest in this project and a need for clarification.
This project has been in the works since the spring of 2016, following an earlier successful concert also at Will Rogers. I booked their holiday repertoire show for December 17, always with the intent of recording it. It is great to see everything finally come into fruition.
This show and the recordings are another piece to the 60 year old The Kingston Trio legacy, which is being carried on by Josh, Mike and Tim.
Richard B. Risk, JD, Principal
Will Rogers Holiday Production, LLC
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