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It's a great view from the Balcony; MINI TV STATION PROVES A BIG TURN-ON FOR VIEWERS.

Byline: By TOM PRENDEVILLE

IT'S got a tiny EUR100 a year budget, the studio is just 20 square feet and the presenters are unpaid - but it's a broadcasting phenomenon.

BalconyTV has a regular Irish audience of 20,000 viewers a day and has attracted star guests.

The 'studio' is a balcony above the Oak Pub in Dublin's Dame Street. Broadcasts are often interrupted by the pub landlady vacuuming.

Balconytv.com is the brainchild of three flatmates who were game for a laugh.

Struggling film-maker Stephen O'Regan said: "We have been going now just over a year. It all started off as a wild idea.

"You see, we had this balcony which measures about four and a half foot by four and a half foot and we didn't know what to do with it, so we had this mad idea to do a broadcast every day from our balcony.

"We used a camcorder and the garden lamp for light and that was basically it. My two flat mates Pauline Freeman and Tom Millett present the shows and I do the behind-the-camera stuff."

BalconyTV is now gaining cult status throughout the world.

O'Regan said: "We had no money but, through word of mouth, people started watching, then musicians started coming to us. There is just a huge music scene in Dublin.

"Paul Brady came to perform on our balcony and he was viewed 18,000 times, then came Shay Healy, Eleanor McEvoy and Jinx Lennon.

Jinx's performance on TV was legendary."

There soon came a diverse range of people from Shannon River protesters angry at Dublin City Hall trying to siphon off their water to a chap demonstrating his soccer dribbling skills.

Other memorable guests included the Southern Battle Group in their Second World War German army uniforms and a middle-aged professor doing the tango with a mysterious lady in a red dress.

Anyone can appear on Balcony TV. The only criteria are that would-be artistes are not afraid of heights and can do a spot of entertaining. They must also sign a disclaimer that they won't sue if they fall off the balcony.

O'Regan said: "We had a belly dancer on this week and a gong master from California doing his thing with a gong. Apparently it cleans your soul.

"The station has taken on a life of its own and we have just been asked to represent Ireland in the entertainment category at the World Summit Awards. The UN are sponsoring the awards scheme.

"We archive on YouTube and we have serious interest from California interests who want to set up a balcony TV station. We also have a huge Argentinean audience."

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Pauline Freeman and Tom Millett present BalconyTV
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 29, 2007
Words:451
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