Lehigh Valley firm helps film ‘Forensic Files’ reboot

Liquid’s crew films an episode of ‘Forensic Files II’ for CNN/HLN. PHOTO/SUBMITTED –


The once popular cable television show, “Forensic Files” is making a comeback, and once again a Lehigh Valley company will play a large role in its production.

CNN/HLN has partnered with Liquid of Upper Macungie Township to shoot eight of the 16 episodes for “Forensic Files II,” which began airing last month. Liquid’s first episodes aired Sunday.

The program began as “Medical Detectives” on the Learning Channel in 1996 and was produced by Medstar Television of Allentown under the direction owner Paul Dowling. The program ended in 2010.

Brian Noreika, who has been with Liquid since 2003, worked as a contractor on the show for Medstar for more than 100 of the program’s original episodes.

“Forensic Files” was a documentary-style program that showed how forensic science is used to solve violent crimes, mysterious accidents and outbreaks of illness.

Noreika said CNN/HLN, which will be filming the other half of the episodes, wanted to bring on people who had worked on the original non-fiction crime and justice program.

“They wanted to give it the same feel as the original,” he said.

Noreika said Liquid contracted with many of the people who worked on the original Forensic files.

Besides connections to the original program, Noreika sad Liquid has worked on many national cable true crime programs for stations like Discovery ID and National Geographic.

“It’s part of the services we offer,” he said.

Noreika said being back with the Forensic Files program was a great experience. They traveled to a number of locales around the nation including Spokane, Washington; Cocoa Beach, Florida; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Utica, New York.

One episode, detailing the murder of a woman found shot to death inside a church over an alleged affair with a minister, was filmed locally in Coopersburg.

Liquid’s video team consisted of director of photography Brian Noreika; soundmen David Keller, Mike Marcucci and Jeff Archer; drone pilots Victor June and Andrew O’Shaughnessy; and camera operator Jackson Kitchell.

The series airs Sundays on CNN’s Headline News Channel with two half-hour episodes airing over eight weeks.

It is hosted by narrator Bill Camp.

Local producer composes music-themed TV show

Recording ‘Your Music & More.’ (Photo submited) –

Theresa Radtke, 52, has been active in television production for more than 10 years. She currently works for PBS 39 in Bethlehem, where she has a hand in many areas of programming and production.

But for decades she has dreamt of producing a specific type of show, one that melds music with behind-the-scenes drama and discussions with the artists about their music.

“I had this idea and I wanted to see it to fruition and, if it was going to happen, I knew I had to make it happen. It’s not like there’s anyone out there handing out producers jobs,” she said.

So she formed her own production company, Radtke Media Productions, funding it the way many startups get funded, through credit cards, cashed-in certificates of deposit and a little borrowing here and there.

Laying the groundwork

As with any new venture, it took some hustle to get Radtke Media Productions up and filming.

She had an idea and a name for the show – “Your Music & More” – but she needed a crew, equipment and a place to tape her show.

Then, when she got all that together, and after taping a pilot episode in December, she still needed a television station to air it and funding to help cover her expenses and fund the program into the future.

Knowing television professionals through PBS and other connections in the industry, she was able to find people who believed in her project and were willing to work on spec, hoping that if the show were picked up and gathered sponsors they will eventually get paid.

She was also able to gather some equipment on loan and some in-kind services to help the first episode come together.

Theresa Radtke, front row, left, had long dreamt of producing her own TV show around music. Standing next to her is Scott Marshall, a musician who is hosting the show she created, “Your Music and More.” Kevin Nelson, front row, right, is a producer for the show. Behind them are members of Whiskey Hollow and MindMaze, two bands featured in the show’s pilot episode. PHOTO/SUBMITTED –

Hosted by a local musician, Scott Marshall, the pilot program was set to air June 14 on PBS 39.

Kevin Nelson, one of the producers of the show, describes the program as something a little different than what most people would think of when picturing a live music program, where generally three or four bands are introduced and they play a live set.

“We tell the musicians’ story and how we do this. There is also an educational component and sometimes our host just talks about something that interests him,” Nelson said.

He said subjects could range a mini-cooking lesson for musicians for late-night, post-gig eats or some background on the role of music in the American Civil War.

The pilot episode features the music of two guests from the local entertainment scene: Whiskey Hollow, which plays a mix of classic country and southern rock; and Sara and Jeff Teets of the metal band MindMaze.

Bryan Keith, leader of Whiskey Hollow, said it was the right opportunity for his band at the right time.

“We were in the studio and had just got done writing a song for a local movie producer,” he said. Then Radtke told him about the vision for her show. “It was a perfect opportunity to get our name out,” Keith said.

Keith said the idea has generated interest in the local music community.

“It just all kind of fell together. Key players in the Lehigh Valley really got on board for this,” he said.

Radtke expects to host different varieties of music if the show gets picked up past the pilot episode.

“We explore a variety of musical genres with an eye toward having something for everyone in our viewing audience,” she said.

Beyond TV

When Radtke first started dreaming of producing this kind of program decades ago, television was the only venue to reach a local audience.

Today, however, there are online channels like YouTube where many aspiring musical performers and their supporters post performances and videos to gain an audience. And there’s even more ways to tap into such entertainment from the web, personal devices or through sharing on social media.

Why did Radtke and her team decide to stick with a more traditional media?

“When it comes on television, I think it’s more special. It adds more substance to it,” she said.

That’s not to say the show isn’t taking advantage of newer media to share content and market itself.

Nelson said producers are making sure they use all available media to help make the program come together.

“People get their content through so many touch points today,” Nelson said.

Besides being a traditional broadcast television program, the producers hoped to create an interactive community on the web and through social media where people can find and share content, even submit demos that could be posted on the show’s website, possibly even leading to being asked to perform on the show.

“This way we’ll develop a broader community of fans,” Nelson said. “It’s also a way for our underwriters to get more exposure.

Finding underwriters for the program is Radtke Media Productions’ big focus now. Those involved have invested time, money and sweat equity and need funding to keep the program viable.

Radtke believes the show will cost about $6,000 per episode to shoot, if two are recorded at a time. She’s also hoping to recoup some of her initial investment and pay staffers.

She knows she’s undertaking a risky venture by producing her own local television program, but she said she’s up for the challenge.

“It’s scary, but I’m very passionate about this,” she said. “I had to borrow money more than once. I had to ask for favors. In my mind I have faith that it’s going to happen. I can’t even imagine it not working out.


New production company launches local music TV program

Filming of ‘Your Music & More’ took place in December. (Photo submitted) –

Friday is the big night for Theresa Radtke and Radtke Media Productions, the production company she started to produce a new local television program, “Your Music & More.”

She said it’s been her dream for decades to produce a show that integrates local music and behind-the-scenes action and drama. The pilot show will air June 14 at 7 p.m. on Bethlehem’s PBS 39.

Putting together a production team to create the show was much like getting off the ground with any startup business.

She assembled a team of producers and recruited talent – two local music groups, Whiskey Hollow and Sara and Jeff Teets of Mindmaze. Her team recorded a pilot in December, with Radtke funding much of the production costs on her own, hoping to gather financial support once the “product” is launched.

Radtke Media Productions is hosting a watch party for the pilot eposite at SteelStacks for supporters and companies that she hopes could become underwriters for the show, so it can become a regular local music feature.

“We’ve invited friends and family and potential sponsors that we hope will be supportive,” she said.

Radtke estimates it will cost about $6,000 an episode if she and her team shoot two episodes at a time.

The show is hosted by local musician, Scott Marshall, who interviews performers and also talks about other issues of musical interest.

And while the program is a good-old-fashioned TV show, the production team is incorporating new media into the overall project of “Your Music & More.”

“We’re also using social media because it’s out there and you have a lot more outreach with it,’ Radtke said.

Clips from the show will be available online and potential guests can submit their own videos, which may be added to the site, or the musicians may be asked to perform on the show.

She said the goal is to create a community of fans to build interest in and support for the program.

For a deeper look at Radtke Media Productions and the road to creating “Your Music & More” check out the June 17 edition of Lehigh Valley Business.