rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 10/12/2006
Ground Level - No Stopping A Good Thing
by Gary Hill

Ground Level is now in its 5th year on television and approaching 90 episodes filmed. That just goes to show that good things do stay around in Rockford. For those not in the know, Ground Level is described as a "local Jay Leno" by its host Tom Leu. There's more to it than just the program, though, as it is an educational experience for Rock Valley College students. That makes it a win for those producing it along with a win for Rockford area viewers that get to watch it.


The show is produced at Rock Valley College by advanced video student. It is a part of their educational curriculum, but that in no way makes this an amateur endeavor. If you see the state of the art equipment in their control room and the amount of effort they put into the show that fact will be clear. However, you really only need to sit in front of your TV and watch the program to realize this.


The half hour show airs weekly on channel 20 on Insight Cable in Rockford. Wednesday nights at 9 PM (with a repeat at 11:30) is Ground Level time. Each show is divided into several segments. These include a profile of a local business filmed on location, an interview with a local business person an interview with someone involved in the music business and finally an acoustic performance by a local music artist.


Previous guests have included Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, Mayor Larry Morrissey, Phantom Regiment, Rock River Raptors, Rockford Thunder, Loves Park Scuba, Randee's Music, RAMI Awards, Laser Quest, Maximum Ink Magazine and even yours truly. The host should be familiar to those of you who read Beet Café on a regular basis as I did a feature on him last year. You can find that in the archives, but for the quick rundown, Tom is the creator of the Musician's Corner series in newspapers and on radio, but is also known both as an "inspirational" speaker and a local musician.


Mike Robinson (former anchor for WREX TV and director of public relations for.Rock Valley College) said this, "Tom demonstrates lots of pure enthusiasm for the show and works well with the students.  He also is well prepared for his interviews and attempts to get all the information in without impeding the flow of the show."


You can find more about Ground Level by going to Tom Leu's website Ground Level also has its own site at Of course, you can also learn even more about the program by tuning in on Wednesday nights. It is a classy operation (and that isn't meant as a pun but rather a statement of the quality of the program).

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