Folks don’t normally come to Southland Books to see acrobats.
But the clap and stomp heard as folks ate a free breakfast at Southland on May 27 was a perfect introduction for a new venture by Blount County native Taz Cable. Cable launched his “Smoky Mountain Morning” internet show with a 7 a.m. breakfast at Southland, as members of the Cirque de Chine troupe from Gatlinburg entertained.
Smoky Mountain Morning’s hour-long webcast will debut on June 27 at www.SmokyMountainMorning.com. To celebrate, show host, co-producer and Greenback native Cable staged seven launch parties at locations throughout the East Tennessee region, with the first one being at Southland.
The bookstore was filled with folks who turned out to see the show’s promotional video and to meet the on-air talent and those behind the camera.
Cable shared how he got the idea for the live, web-based show that will feature entertainment and other activities in the Smoky Mountains area. “It was an idea that just caught fire,” he said. “The area needs something like this to promote all the things going on for locals and vacationers to the mountains and surrounding towns. By the time I got to the car, I was on the phone talking to GiddyOh board members who were saying, ‘Let’s do this,’” he said. GiddyOh is Cable’s marketing company.
Cable said he stayed up all night before the breakfast launch watching the show’s promotional video that was completed a day earlier. “I realized we were onto something watching the promo,” he said.
Cable said the show, produced by HP Video Productions in Knoxville, is a high-end operation. The show will be seven days a week and will spotlight activities in the communities around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Launch parties were planned for Asheville, Cherokee, Sevierville and Knoxville.
Friday’s launch featured a breakfast with a distinctly Blount County flavor. Featured were sweet potato biscuits with gravy, apple butter, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches using Benton’s bacon, Oliver Twist Tea and homemade granola and yogurt.
The folks gathered for the launch expressed excitement about the new show. “I think it is an idea that has a lot of potential,” said Doug Price, general partner with HP Video Productions.
Jim Johnson with HP said he was excited about the potential for the webcast from the beginning. “There isn’t anything out there like this,” he said. “Living here 26 years with the National Park in my background, I was amazed at how much stuff I didn’t know was right here.”
Johnson said the show appeals to vacationers and locals alike and showcases activities throughout the region. “Our expectation is it will work. When it was pitched, it seemed like a good idea. It will give folks so much more information about things to do,” he said.
Johnson said Cable is just the person to do this show. “He has the energy needed to do this,” Johnson said. “He has a very strong drive.”
Heritage Middle School principal Steve Moser enjoyed his breakfast and bragged on Cable, a former student of his. “He’s a great guy, and he was a good student years ago,” Moser said. “He’s got that charisma.”
Meredith Goins said that because tourism is an important part of the Blount County economy, this webcast could provide significant exposure to potential customers - both locals and tourists - who will spend dollars that will translate into sale tax revenue. “It’s going to benefit everyone from schools to police departments to the library,” she said.
Steve Foster of Alcoa said he likes the “Smoky Mountain Morning” concept. “It sounds like a good idea, especially when some of these areas don’t have a local TV station doing this,” he said.
Julie Adkins said she has known Cable for two years and is excited about his project. “I believe in Taz, and I think it is a phenomenal project. It gives visitors an idea of things to do,” she said.
Adkins said often visitors only think of Dollywood when considering activities in the Smokies. “This is the Chicken Soup of what is going on in the Smokies,” she said.
Personal trainer Becky Fox of Knoxville will host a physical fitness segment on “Smoky Mountain Morning,” opening with her putting Cable through the paces as she shows him how to get in shape. “I thought it was a great idea,” she said. “He’s going to have to work hard. It’s not going to be easy.”
Kara Kennedy of Sevierville will be co-hosting Smoky Mountain Morning with Cable. “I’ve known Taz for years, and I jumped on board as soon as I knew it was happening. It is going to be very informative,” she said. “It will be high energy, fun and never boring.”
Lexie Corin of Sevierville will contribute with pieces on food and wine. “I am really excited,” she said of the opportunity to work with the “Smoky Mountain Morning” cast.
Southland Books owner Lisa Misosky said she’s known Cable 20 years, and she liked the Smoky Mountain Morning concept. “It has a great deal of potential,” she said. “As a business person, it makes a lot of sense.”