- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has moved its TV home to Fuse, giving Dave Weier a unique challenge in the weeks leading up to the April 4 induction in Cleveland.

Weier, vice president of talent and music at the cable channel, must try to interest Fuse’s young viewers in an event that many of them may dismiss as being for relics only. At the same time, he’s trying to entice older rock fans who wouldn’t know Fuse favorites Paramore or Avenged Sevenfold if the bands were playing in their basement.

“I’m inspired by it,” Weier said.

Fuse signed a three-year deal to televise the annual induction ceremony, ending the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 12-year relationship with VH1.

VH1 was a music channel with its primary focus on older rock fans when the initial deal with the rock hall was made. But as it shifted to more lifestyle programming, live coverage of the induction ceremony was shunted off to VH1 Classic.

“We had a good relationship with VH1,” said Joel Peresman, president of the rock hall foundation. “It’s something we probably could have continued, but the people at Fuse really stepped up.”

Besides covering the ceremony, Fuse will also have programming leading up to it, and is interested in using material from past ceremonies throughout the year, the executives said.

Fuse, which primarily focuses on 18-to-25-year-old music fans in its regular programming, struck it lucky this year with Metallica and Run-DMC as the best-known inductees. Metallica is a master of heavy metal, a style that will talk eternally to teenage boys. Rappers Run-DMC were prominent during the early years of what is today’s dominant popular music.

In archival rock hall footage that Fuse is featuring, Fuse will use clips of younger artists, like Gwen Stefani or Eddie Vedder, who appeared at past ceremonies to honor their forebears. When the Ramones were inducted, Green Day performed their music.

In a welcoming gesture to an older demographic, Fuse will subtly add more veteran artists to a program like “Loaded,” which airs five consecutive videos from a single artist, Weier said.

For Fuse, the deal with the rock hall is particularly important because it is trying to establish a reputation as the place to go for music on cable television, in contrast to the MTV Networks. A big selling point for the rock hall is the effort to keep its work prominent for more than one day a year. Approaching its 25th anniversary, the hall will be marketing a DVD set this fall of highlights from past induction ceremonies, Peresman said.

Because of video games like “Guitar Hero,” Fuse’s young audience is more familiar with the work of rock hall inductees than many people realize, Weier said. Peresman has seen the video game influence at the hall of fame itself, where there has been a big increase in visitors aged 15-to-20 the past few years.

“These younger kids are kind of driving the whole family to go,” he said.


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