The beginnings of Inline Plus (2005 to 2007)

Inline Plus was conceived when Michael Costello was learning to Inline Skate in 2005 with Bayside Blades, as an adult learner.  Michael had already been a long-term volunteer with Northern Access Television at the time.  A pilot episode was produced in 2007, but  it was aired by C31 Melbourne and Adelaide in a “weekday daytime timeslot”.  It is fair to say that Michael was running on new found vigour from just completing skating lessons, and convinced that the concept would grow and be the next “big thing” (what producer doesn’t think this way!), he attempted to form the “Inline Sports Media Co-operative” as a group to produce the content, and other videos.  Needless to say, we didn’t achieve this.   However, under the banner of Northern Access Television Assn Inc, the TV show aspect rolled on……..

And yes, Michael admits to driving a few people mad during this period!  What goes up must come down, and a bout of depression would take over.  A new direction was required to save the project, under new management.

Inline Plus series 1 (2008)

The show took on a different look and feel under a new producer, John Powell, with Michael assisting him in the task by becoming the “compile editor” and “tape dubber” for the program.  The show then widened its view to include more aspects of Inline and Roller Skating.  The show featured fully edited and produced segments by “Rolaboi” Jayson Sutcliffe – covering the Artistic Skating area, and other developments saw us covering the rapidly developing area of Roller Derby, which became a special focus for the series.

Inline Plus series 1 aired on Community TV in mid 2008 (except in Perth, where it was aired later in 2010 on the then-new WTV).  The show had its “ups and downs” during its run, which led to a decision to “cut back” production from 13 to 7 episodes.  And until recently, this is where things stood.

“Know Rolling” (2008)

Early on, it was realised that the style of show we were going to produce would not work so well to cover Aggressive Inline Skating.  A number of people expressed interest to us in covering this aspect.  In the end, it was decided to “split” our timeslot between “Inline Plus”, and an extra 10 minute program, known as “Know Rolling”.  Produced for us by Craig Smith, this additional program proved popular with its target audience.  Largely on the back of this, the “Inline Plus / Know Rolling” combination was nominated for a Community TV Antenna Award.  We did not win that category, but the nomination was a pleasant surprise for us!

Attempts at revival

Following on from John Powell’s first series, there were at least three or four attempts by Michael to revive “Inline Plus” over the years.  All for various reasons, the timing never seemed to be right for the show to come back.

The Series 1 Presenters and Crew leave the show…..

In a disappointing aspect of the show’s history, almost all crew members and presenters we had left the show after the completion of the seven episode first series.  We also lost our sponsorship from Bayside Blades, leading to their staff also no longer contributing to the show.

The most recent attempt to start a new series (2018/2019)

Feeling a new energy for the concept, Michael again tried to revive production of a TV series in 2018.  Then a bomb shell was dropped, that his parents had decided to move to Echuca, on the Victorian/NSW border.  Soon he realised that trying to string a series together while based in Echuca was not going to work, mainly for financial and long-travel reasons.  While production commenced on the series, it was quickly halted again.  A new plan was again needed (not for the first time in the history of this project!)

One last look back…… Inline Plus Revisited (2019)

A special “look back” episode was produced.  Called “Inline Plus Revisited”, the show aired the best of our stories from the 2008 series in a bumper one hour special.  This show aired on C31 Melbourne and 44 Adelaide in early 2019.

Series 2 visits Adelaide with a new “look and feel”(2019/20)….

In 2019, Series 2 was produced, and I did an extensive road trip to Adelaide.

While the show took on a new format – sit down interviews with cutaway footage.  Also, single topics per episode (with the exception of the first one).

The resulting shows were of a very different “look and feel” to the old ones (much to the disappointment of the TV Stations!).  However, with it becoming obvious that I would have to shoot the shows myself, it was also necessary for me to start PRESENTING them myself as well!  So it came to be, the TV debut of Michael Costello on Inline Plus mk.2!

 To not cause too much distress in the first episode, the two interviewees on the first episode interviewed each other, but from then on, it was all up to me to continue the show in its new direction.  But sadly, suffering from a lack of production time in Adelaide, the show suffered, resulting in poor quality footage having to be sourced and used, due to none (bar one) of the clubs mentioned hosting events while we were there.

And, by my own admission, I was not much to look at, being obese, and not being able to skate myself by this stage either!  It also had a negative effect on my camerawork, most being done from a seated position.

Editing was again delayed by Depression, but was completed in 2020 for air.

Series 3 is produced, stalled, and then withdraws from broadcast

In 2022, production began on a third series of Inline Plus, and as of mid 2024, is still awaiting editing of two episodes.

Sadly, the early signs for Series 3 were not looking good, when 44 Adelaide told us, “Despite broadcasting Series 2, we would have to re-apply for airtime for series 3 from scratch”. This is where the “disappointing” format change came back to bite us! Not daunted,  we put in an application.

Then some technical and copyright issues came up with two episodes – causing C31 Melbourne to “reject” the two episodes concerned.  This led us to make the difficult decision to pull the 3rd series from television, and became an “online only series” via the YouTube channel.  C31 Melbourne and 44 Adelaide were then advised that we would not seek airtime for any of the shows in Series 3.

This decision also lead to Michael resigning from C31 Melbourne & Northern Access Television.  He also quit as a contributor to 44 Adelaide at this time.  At the time of writing, two episodes remain to be edited, these being Dragon City Roller Derby, and the “Goodbye” episode.

Speaking of Dragon City Roller Derby, we attempted to cover their home game bouts for a short period, but this did not work out well.  Trying to understand the game of derby was hard for MIchael, and knowing what to shoot when became an ordeal.  Sadly, we left this arrangement, another “beginning of the end” for Inline Plus.  Depression has stuck again, delaying the last two episodes from being edited.

However long it takes, we are determined the show will be finished, when the time is right – and Michael is in the right frame of mind to edit the remaining episodes.

There are various reasons for what has happened, none the least of them, the fact Michael now does Renal Dialysis (kidney related) three days per week, every week, for the considerable future.  The limitations from this have “cut my wings” to the point that travel of any kind is now difficult.  Not trying to make excuses, but this is a major barrier to the creation of further Community TV content

Future Directions

Sadly, this is where Inline Plus dies.  After the last two episodes are edited, no further videos will be produced for the YouTube channel.  The skating world has dropped more than enough hints that our shows and online videos are not really wanted by the community it serves.  Michael since has moved on to shooting cricket matches on weekends at this time for online streams.
He is also looking to do Community Radio in nearby Shepparton, Victoria.

Goodbye from Michael Costello, Producer, Series 2 and 3.