MARQUETTE - Eli Gardiner knows the local live music scene as an insider.
So when Gardiner, a singer-songwriter, got a job at the local ABC affiliate, he was ready with the pitch for a feature he wanted to do.
"I played local music, I had been involved with that and I know there's a lot of talent out there that nobody knows about," Gardiner said. "There is a limited number of venues and some venues don't book local musicians.
"So I brought the idea to the station and they thought it was a good idea," he said. "They have allowed me to do (a segment) every week for over a year."
"The Scene with Sensitive E" is broadcast on both ABC 10 out of Ishpeming and The CW station in Calumet every Friday.
"It has been a lot of fun and I think it's been a successful first year," Gardiner said. "I showcase local events and local musicians. I go for natural sound packaged with interviews."
Gardiner, who was born in Marquette, moved to Sault Ste. Marie with his family at age 8. He returned to Marquette as a young adult, attending Northern Michigan University, where he earned a degree in media production.
"I love the Marquette area," Gardiner, 29, said. "I was happy to come back."
His TV segments have included pieces on bands and individual musicians... and more.
"I have done a piece on the Devos Gallery at NMU, on a powwow and on a percussion class," Gardiner said. "I like to focus on the arts and music. A lot of news is done as people talking. I like to show things, so people can experience it themselves."
In addition to his "The Scene" segments, which air at 5:30 and 11 on Friday nights on ABC 10 and at 10 p.m. on Fridays on the local CW station, Gardiner shoots both local news and sports for the station, "a little bit of everything," he said.
And he continue to perform locally.
"I was kind of a late bloomer as far as music goes," Gardiner said. "I didn't start until my hockey career was over. It was my senior year in high school when I got into writing songs. I wanted to learn to play the guitar."
Gardiner's late father, Lee, was a classical guitarist, trained by a student of Andrea Segovia's. His mother, Rosa, who still lives in Sault Ste. Marie, was a flautist.
"We listened to a lot of 'Saturday Night Gold' on the radio," Gardiner said. "My Dad loved 'Born in the USA' by Bruce Springsteen and Jim Croce and James Taylor."
Gardiner's young brother, Lucas, is a rapper, but Eli preferred music on the rock side of things.
"With my music, I am working on getting a CD done," he said. "I haven't had my music mastered or produced before.
"I have a lot of new material," Gardiner said. "I am working to flesh out songs."
He's also hoping to put a band together.
"I am looking for a bass player and a drummer," he said. "I'm looking to do folk, blues and rock'n'roll stuff."
Gardiner will continue to pursue story ideas for his television segments as well.
"I am very open to ideas," he said. "I am open to checking out any kind of music and art in the Marquette, Houghton, Escanaba and Munising areas."
He's looking forward to his own next gig at the Falling Rock Cafe in Munising on Oct. 30.
"The reason I like to do music, that I like to do original material, is that I believe people should be out there doing things and not worrying about what the crowd reaction is to the songs," Gardiner said. "People don't want to hear the same songs all the time. I hope they remain open to different things."
In addition to his TV work and musical performances, Gardiner hosts open mic night at Flanigan's Bar in Marquette at 9:30 p.m. Mondays.
Anyone with ideas for "The Scene with Sensitive E" can e-mail Gardiner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Musicians wanting to form a band with him should contact him through his Facebook or MySpace pages.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.