Meet a Program Maker: ‘Off the Couch with Ethan’

In this first instalment of Channel 44’s Meet a Program Maker we speak to Ethan White, the Gawler teenager behind one of our station’s most entertaining programs: ‘Off the Couch with Ethan’. The 17-year-old Xavier College student began his Australian travel and camping show in 2018 and was inspired to share his outdoor experiences with younger viewers who have not had the same opportunity.

“I have been so lucky and fortunate to travel around South Australia, the country and overseas. As I moved into high school, I realised that a lot of young people my age weren’t as lucky to get the opportunities I was so fortunate to have,” Ethan said. With the idea of encouraging young Australians to get out and explore the country, ‘Off the Couch with Ethan’ was born and the eager 15-year-old contacted Channel 44 with a bevy of queries.

“My first email I sent to Channel 44 was really made up of questions like: ‘do you think this program idea is good?’, ‘do I have enough equipment?’ and ‘am I too young to be producing a program?’ – I was only 15 at the time,” he said.

Lo and behold, Channel 44 loved the idea and now, just eight episodes later, he has already captured so much of Australia’s natural beauty; whether it be trekking the Flinders Ranges or road-tripping through outback New South Wales. From behind the wheel of his Land Rover Discovery, Ethan has delivered some of the best content Adelaide community television has to offer.

Although he enjoys discovering and presenting the country’s great outdoors, the production process does come with its challenges. Ethan spends hours researching locations, filming scenes and editing it all together. Some episodes take 3-5 months to develop from an initial idea to going to air on Channel 44.

His first episode, covering the Southern Flinders Ranges, kicked the show off with a bang and he was treated to a “surprise premiere party”, celebrating his program-making debut with family and friends.

Ethan has received plenty of praise for his creativity and positive message from the wider community. From being awarded Gawler’s Young Citizen of the Year award in January 2019 to five nominations at the 2019 Antenna Awards, including Best Program and Personality of the Year. Despite the accolades, Ethan says hearing and reading positive messages and reviews about his show is what drives him to continue creating content.

“The most rewarding aspect without a doubt is the comments, messages and conversations young people and families have with me after watching my program. When I hear ‘we went to the Flinders because you showed it off’ or ‘my family are planning a Great Ocean Road trip because you inspired us to go camping,’ that is what I do it for – that is my aim,” he said.

For those keen to follow in Ethan’s footsteps, his advice is to showcase your passions and experiences to the world in any way possible, no matter what your age!

“You can get seen by the whole world with a click of a button, so whatever it is you’re passionate about – get your work out there; be it on the Internet, Channel 44, whatever!”.

Although COVID-19 has limited his travels, Ethan says there are plenty more South Australian wonders he’s yet to explore, including the Yorke and Eyre Peninsulas and the state’s southeast. So be sure to keep up with ‘Off the Couch with Ethan’ and his adventures on Wednesday and Saturday nights from 6pm on Channel 44.

Click the links to find out more about Ethan and his show: