Lisa Hart is on a mission: to share all the fabulous things to do in Orange County and the surrounding environs. As the producer and host of Discover Orange County™, she’s making a dent, one viewer at a time.
“Orange County lost a lot of programming that was on PBS and some of the local stations,” Lisa said. “I wanted to identify really cool, fun things here in the OC. There’s plenty of it in print or online, but in terms of video or online, there was nothing focused on Southern California.
“So, I thought it would be really interesting or fun to do things around Orange County, and show some things behind the scenes that regular viewers would not get to do.”
Lisa brings 16 years of hosting, writing, and producing experience to the series. She moved to Orange County in 1988, and went to Saddleback College in their film, television, and radio track. She built relationships with people at Saddleback that exist to this day.
After college, Lisa hosted an Orange County community show for Cox Communications. In The Community was similar in concept to Discover Orange County: a news magazine style show that focused on specific-types of entities that happened in Orange County or Los Angeles. Once the show was canceled, Lisa hosted and reported for a variety of other news magazine shows for local television stations, as well as made cameo appearances on Season 1 of The Real Housewives of Orange County.
The vision for Discover Orange County was formed two years ago with other partners at the producing helm. “They first brought me in as the host and co-producer. When they decided they wanted to do another show in Orange County, they released the show to me. As the sole producer, I brought it back last year.”
Each show is in 30-minute segments, and Lisa enjoys taking the viewer on a journey, pointing out the hidden treasures of Southern California, and the “behind the scenes” aspect of the places she visits.
“We try to break up the segments. The first 10 minutes are history and introduction, then we talk about some features and things to do— what makes this place unique. So it’s not just focused on one element of the subject matter, but many aspects.”
The only requirement is that the location be a venue where the public is welcome, and that there is enough information to produce 30-minutes worth of material. “Whatever is cool, and fun, and interesting for people to do, that’s what I look for,” Lisa said.
Discover Orange County currently airs on PBS SoCal Plus, which includes 2 million viewers in the Orange County/Los Angeles market. Cox Communications Channel 3 re-runs the episodes and reaches approximately 250,000 households in South Orange County.
Lisa’s goal is to expand the show’s reach. “Right now, I am focusing on the OC and the surrounding areas. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t expand into Los Angeles or even the San Diego area,” she said. “Where it airs, it has a pretty wide range of viewership. It’s a process, I’m making headway, and my goal is to make sure it is a monthly show on a regular basis and then a weekly show.”
Discover Orange County is just one of projects under Lisa’s banner of SoCal TV & PR. “I have a gamut of things, and they all fit together nicely. What we bring to the table is not only the show, but commercials, and representation. So we bring a collaborative effort between television production and PR.”
With the two-pronged focus of production and PR, Lisa feels she is carving a niche in a market that strictly focuses on one aspect or the other. “I’ve learned a ton in the last two years, I really feel like we have a lot to offer someone that has a great concept, but needs help in getting it executed,” Lisa said.
“The PR element is coming into play a lot, because if you try to go into a television station today, you get a commercial spot, but that’s all you get. We can do the spot, we have a program on which the spot can air, and we can offer a package for the advertiser that maybe someone who just creates the product could not.”
Lisa is currently in production on new episodes of Discover Orange County, which are scheduled to air in April.
You can see teasers of episodes on You Tube or visit the show’s website. You can also follow the show on Twitter @DiscoverOC1.