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Illawarra Mercury

[V] is for voltage

Date: 11/06/1999
Words: 735
          Publication: Illawarra Mercury
Section: Applause
Page: 11
WHILE the old guard continues to control the screens of commercial television, PayTV is ushering in a new army of talent.

Young, hip and ready for anything, they're keen to make their mark and not afraid to test themselves.

Two fresh faces earmarked for future success are Channel [V] presenters Paula McGrath and Andrew Gunsberg who have taken control of the live music program By Demand.

Former radio jocks who both worked on the Brisbane easy-listening station B105, McGrath and Gunsberg are adjusting to the demands of live television.

While they are finding it tough to maintain the high voltage energy levels for their three-hour afternoon stints before the cameras, they are gelling well as a team and learning from their mistakes.

``I love the fact that it's live so people get to see us as we are," McGrath, 27, said.

``If we stuff up - and we do every show - it's natural. I love that it's raw and that when people meet you they say how we are on television is like how we really are."

Gunsberg agrees and says working live when so much television product is pre-recorded isn't daunting.

``It's always seemed so right to me and we're both used to thinking on our feet," he said.

``It's scary if you let yourself think about it and what can happen so you don't."

While McGrath and Gunsberg have a common element in their history (though they disagree on whether they actually worked together or just in the same building at B105) they have reached Channel [V] from different avenues.

McGrath, who said the toughest thing about live television was overcoming the hunger pains midway through each program, has always wanted to be in television but it took a serious accident to help her focus.

She studied dance and singing as a child and auditioned for soapies but when she broke her neck in a car accident at the age of 19, she began to rethink her life.

Despite being told she wouldn't walk again, McGrath recovered mobility and headed overseas for three years to explore a dancing career.

She started her radio career on her return to Australia but didn't lose her passion for television and was auditioning for pilots when contacted by Channel [V].

For McGrath it is the perfect training ground for a long-term television career.

``I definitely want to keep presenting but on a bigger scale in the future," she said.

``I have a feeling I will end up in a lifestyle or entertainment show. I'm happy to be patient and ride the rollercoaster of fate, that's what I believe in."

While McGrath never loses sight of the future, Gunsberg, 25, is still pinching himself to make sure he's not dreaming.

A musician since the age of 14 and a former roadie who's happy not to be digging ditches anymore, Gunsberg has already achieved his major goal in life.

``This is what I've wanted to do forever and ever," he said.

``I wanted to present music on television and so far it's been what I wanted and more.

``I did get into this because I'm such a huge fan of the Beastie Boys and thought the only way to meet them was on music TV.

``I've done that and anything from now on is just extra value."

Gunsberg had just moved to Adelaide to work in radio when he heard of a vacancy at Channel [V] and decided to test his luck.

He shot a quick video of himself around Adelaide, edited it and sent it to the station as his resume. Soon after they called and the rest, as they say, is history.

Passionate about music and keen to start another band (he would now turn down any job in favour of being a fulltime musician), Gunsberg says By Demand is a very special program.

The show promotes interaction with viewers by allowing them to choose what they listen to and, with the show slated to head into the neighbourhood throughout the year, the hosts will be getting up close and personal with their fans.

You can bet such a daunting task won't faze McGrath and Gunsberg.

It's what they've been working towards for years.

By Demand screens on Channel [V] Tuesdays to Saturdays from 4.30pm to 7.30pm.

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