Colby Carter, 9, hosts Summerville-based show for kids on WLCN
Not long ago, Colby Carter was an inquisitive little boy asking questions of the staff at WLCN television station, where his mother works. It’s just the kind of thing you would expect from a child who consistently gets top grades.
Colby’s Corner can be seen at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and the following Friday at 5:30 p.m. on Comcast 119 and 230; Time-Warner 155; Knology 131; and TV 18.1. It can be seen at www.colbyscornertv.com and www.facebook.com/ColbysCorner anytime.
Then, opportunity knocked.
Now, Colby, 9, is asking questions designed not only to get information for himself, but for a television audience. It’s not what you would expect from someone his age.
“Is this the place where they came? Is this why they call it Charles Towne Landing?” Colby asks Rob Powell, manager of the historic site.
Powell is telling Colby about the settlers from Barbados who arrived to found Charles Towne in 1670.
Viewers in the Lowcountry and several other cities have been tuning in to watch “Colby’s Corner,” a weekly 30-minute show produced by Summerville’s WLCN. The station does not subscribe to the Nielsen company, so there is no way to know how many households watch the show.
Chris Sanborn, general manager of WLCN, the local affiliate of the Christian Television Network, noticed how well Colby handled an appearance on the station’s “Lowcountry Livelihood” in 2010 and did weekly kids’ segments on its “Sweet Carolina” in 2011.
When Sanborn decided to remedy a lack of fresh children’s programs on the CTN by developing a new show aimed at youth 6 to 12, he immediately thought of Colby, then a third-grader at Faith Christian School in Summerville, as its host.
“Oh my gosh! Is this really happening?” are the words Colby said popped into his mind when he was asked to do the show. “I’m just so glad the Lord has blessed me with this opportunity.”
“Colby’s Corner” is produced at interesting sites around Charleston where the young host interviews people who work at them. The upbeat energetic show — with a Christian take on whatever Colby explores — has aired more than a dozen episodes.
On the first show, Colby interviewed Shannon Teders, a biologist with the South Carolina Aquarium.
“He’s a confident kid,” Teders said. “He did a great job and asked some good questions, not just to teach the viewers, but for his own knowledge. Colby got really excited.”
“He was all about the octopus,” Teders said. “It was out when we were looking at the exhibit and was definitely changing its color … flashing red at him (signaling an aggressive mood).”
In addition, he’s done a show on archery.
Bud Westmoreland, owner of the archery shop in Summerville, has been featured on “Colby’s Corner.” Westmoreland, who also has given Colby archery lessons, describes the show as refreshing.
“It’s kind of odd to see a young man of his age with his intelligence and easygoing manner. He’s got a lot of personality already at such a young age.”
“There should be more shows like that because it’s informative,” Westmoreland said. “Maybe kids who don’t have two parents would enjoy that show, and maybe they could learn something or become interested in something because he covers a lot of different things.”
Other “Colby’s Corner” episodes included those on Francis Beidler Forest, Middleton Place and USS Yorktown. The show also airs in Nashville; Fort Myers, Fla.; and Jefferson City, Mo., and there are plans for it to start airing in Macon, Ga., this year.
The CTN wants to wait a year to be sure that the show’s production standards remain high and it keeps the momentum before it would put it on the national satellite, Sanborn said.
Sanborn and Derek Baker, the show’s producer, choose the locations and develop questions for Colby and hand them off to him to memorize on his way to shoot an episode, the host said.
“They always have some questions they know I will like to ask,” Colby said.
“My first couple of shows, I was kind of nervous. But I’m used to it now. No matter what I do, they’ll make me look good,” he said half-jokingly.
Some perks come with being a television host.
“I usually get brand-new clothes for each episode,” Colby said. “My mom decides on the wardrobe.
The show has short Bible lessons tied to whatever is the show’s topic, Sanborn said. The point is to make the children watching aware of what Jesus said on the topic.
“We use a character called Painter Pete who is Dereck (Baker), also the director, editor and producer of the show. He’ll come in and say ‘Jesus said,’ and he throws out a Scripture and we put it up on the screen.”
Having that in two short segments helps to make “Colby’s Corner” a more entertaining show that kids want to watch, not one that their parents tell them to watch, Sanborn said.
Sanborn said he enjoys working with the young host.
“He treats the show as if it’s his job,” Sanborn said. “When he’s told to do something, he does not talk back. And he listens to people when he talks to them. It has a lot to do with his upbringing.”
Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705.