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King of Karaoke

Area singers take shots at fame
in televised karaoke contest

Weekly event is filmed, broadcast on Cable TV channel

By Chemaign Drumm
Contributing Writer

(February 2007) – Season six of “American Idol” has hit the airways worldwide. Millions of people tune in to watch contestants sing their hearts out to try to make it to Hollywood and hopefully become the next big singing sensation.
In Jefferson County, Ind., meanwhile, season one of King of Karaoke has hit the airways in a smaller, but no less heartfelt way. Lorin McAllister of Madison has brought the world of karaoke to the small screen via the city’s TV cable Channel 15.

Travis West
Julie Welsh
Lorin McAllister

Photos by Chemaign Drumm

Local singers Travis West (top) and
Julie Welsh (middle), among others,
compete in contest organized by
Lorin McAllister (bottom).

McAllister, who owns a production company ironically named Tone Deaf Productions, has been in show business in one way or another for 20 years. Doing stand up comedy, parts in movies, radio Deejay, and now entertainment producer, McAllister was asked by Bob Fourhman of Madison’s Cable Advisory Board to come up with more entertainment. Fourhman was the pioneer of TV 15 and station manager.
McAllister started by developing a professional wrestling show in 2005. Then one day later that year, while riding around with Dennis Crank, the current station manager, the two tried coming up with a new show. Crank suggested karaoke. To get the show up and running, McAllister thought a contest would be best.
“There was a lot of it around here, so we decided to do a contest and broadcast it,” said McAllister.
The King of Karaoke Contest was a series of four contests held at Bello’s Lounge, River House II, The Crown Room, all in Madison, and Johnny Reb’s in Hanover, Ind. There were two winners out of 15 or 16 in each contest who advanced to the finals, which were held at Bello’s Lounge. Each show was televised, with McAllister hosting. 
Ironically, the man crowned King of Karaoke 2006 didn’t win the first contest. Scott Drumm, 36, of Madison, just showed up to “hang out.” One of winners from a previous contest didn’t show, so Drumm was encouraged to take his place. He also took the crown.
“It was great winning,” said Drumm, who comes from a long line of musicians. He was also in several bands in high school and college. He won the title by singing “Detroit Rock City” by KISS and “Purple Rain” by Prince.
“My favorites are Frank Sinatra, Elton John and Pearl Jam,” said Drumm. “Songs I didn’t get to sing in a rock band.”
Since that contest, King of Karaoke is now a weekly show that is getting good feedback, according to McAllister. 
“I run into people all over who talk to me about the show,” McAllister said. He added that the show is family oriented, with no cursing, drinking or smoking allowed. It is filmed at Johnny Reb’s in Hanover every Sunday night and is aired the following Friday at 8 p.m.
McAllister said Johnny Reb’s owners, Wayne and Kelly Handcher, have made McAllister and his wife, June, who tapes the show and is her husband’s support system, feel like family.
The Handchers, of Columbus, Ind., have owned Johnny Reb’s for almost two years. McAllister said of the Handchers, “They’re just salt of the earth people.”
Johnny Reb’s also has karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights. The King of Karaoke can be seen on Saturday and at 1 a.m., 8 a.m., 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and on Monday at 1 a.m., 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“There’s a time to catch it in anyone’s schedule,” McAllister said with a laugh.
McAllister is working on developing more shows, such as cooking, home improvement and car repair. He said his goal is just to make people happy.
Drumm said there are a lot of good singers in the area.”It’s all about having fun, no matter how good – or not so good – you are.”

• Anyone interested in participating in the King of Karaoke contests should call Johnny Reb’s at (812) 866-9276 or Lorin McAllister at (812) 265-2361, Ext. 41, or (812) 265-1505.

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