Mother and son hope to 'bridge the gap' between musical genres with new TV show

Holly Viers • Updated Nov 16, 2017 at 8:54 AM

NICKELSVILLE — If you love music, Nickelsville native Tina Akyuz and her son John have just the show for you.

After a few months of planning and filming, their new TV show, called “Bridging the Gap,” is set to premiere Friday on local channels in Southwest Virginia.

“Everybody’s got a story to tell and a song to sing,” said Tina. “The show is about not just showcasing that; it’s about showcasing Grandma and Grandpa sitting on the front porch picking and grinning with four generations.”


The idea for the show first began to take shape in May, Tina said. Because of her son’s seizure disorder and diabetes diagnosis, he has been unable to work or go to college, which left Tina wondering how she could help him.

“I just asked God, ‘What can I do to help my son to get to where he needs to be?’ because he’s 22 years old,” Tina said. “The idea came to me a couple days later. I knew the name (of the show), I knew the purpose and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.”

John was on board with the idea from the beginning, so Tina called Ernie Benko of Appalachian Regional Community (ARC) TV to find out where to begin.

“I talked to him for about 10 minutes, and he said, ‘Let’s do the show,’ ” Tina said. “That’s where ‘Bridging the Gap’ came from.”

About the show

The show aims to “bridge the gap of respect and understanding” between bluegrass, country, blues, rock ’n’ roll and heavy metal, Tina said. Each episode of the show will focus on one genre and include an introduction, a musical performance or interview with an artist and an informative segment.

John will co-host the show along with Camille Moseley of Calamity Jane’s Booking/Promotion in Bristol. The first three shows were filmed at Bush Mill in Nickelsville and feature Justin Criter (country), Adam Graybeal and Samantha Grey (blues) and Allen Hicks and Millard Edwards (bluegrass).

Both Tina and John hope the show will broaden people’s minds and expose them to musical genres they might not have been open to before.

“One of our big things is to try to let people know that it takes as much talent to do that screaming metal as it does to play the banjo,” Tina said. “It’s that heart; it’s that soul.”

Production and filming

Planning for the show began shortly after the idea was born. Production and editing for the first three episodes is now complete, and the first rock ’n’ roll and heavy metal episodes are in the works.

Now Tina and John are hoping to drum up more local support for the show. They are currently searching for sponsors that could provide funding to cover production costs and filming equipment.

To learn more about how you can help, contact Tina or John through the show’s Facebook page, Bridging the Gap (music TV show), or call (276) 479-2222.

Moving forward

Tina and John have big plans for the show’s future. They will travel to Nashville next month to film a few episodes, and they recently received an offer to film in New York. If all goes well, they would love to film in the Midwest and even in other countries, Tina said.

Another goal of John’s is that the show will help him achieve his career goals in the music industry.

“I want to get to a point to where I can build and make guitars,” John said. “For a long time that’s been my goal, and that’s one thing that I do believe is my calling.”

When and where to watch

The first episode will air Friday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on local channels in Southwest Virginia and Jenkins, Ky. It will also air on ARC TV’s YouTube channel. To find out if the show will air in your area, or to find the YouTube playlist, visit www.arctv.org.