Patrick's blog

Citizens to Deliver the Constitution on TV

Sat, 11/02/2019 - 11:51 -- Patrick

A small group of local residents are inviting fellow citizens into our studio to read the Constitution. This project will result in a compilation of readings- each person will read a section- which will then be televised and streamed online. Copies of the Constitution are available - thanks to Representative Peter Welch’s office- here at the station.

To arrange a time to record, please contact us here at the station by calling 228-8808 or emailing Patrick. People of all ages are encouraged to participate. The station is handicapped accessible.

We will will handle all of the technical aspects of the production, including cameras, sound light, graphics and a teleprompter, which will be set up for readers' convenience.

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Paloeindians at Jackson Gore Wins 1st Place

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 20:15 -- Patrick

"Paleoindians at Jackson Gore", the short (20-minute) documentary that we produced in collaboration with the State of Vermont Archaeologist and the University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program, received a 1st place "Nor'easter" award for Historical Documentary. The Nor'easters are annual awards from the Northeast region of the Alliance for Community Media, the national advocacy and membership organization that represents community access TV stations. Our Production Coordinator, Eric Chatterjee (who spent many hours editing the film), was in attendance to receive the Nor'easter award at the ceremony held in Portland, ME on Oct. 31st (in photo on left, with festival organizer Jim Palmer). 

While the paleoindian excavation at Jackson Gore studied humans who traveled through the area 12,000+ years ago, the documentary was the digital equivalent of an archaeological project in its own right.  It began in 2007, with recording some footage during the excavation of the Jackson Gore site, which was being developed by Okemo Mountain Resort, as part of its expansion. The footage sat on the shelf until the Fall of 2018, when we received a call from State Archaeologist Jess Robinson. That led to us recording follow-up interviews with the head of the UVM program and him, so we could hear about what was discovered & learned from the dig. The 2007 footage was resurrected, and piece-by-piece we combined the old & the new into a narrative, with the help of numerous staff, volunteers, & community members. This project is exemplary of the kind of collaboration on which we thrive, with numerous local, regional, & State partners. We are honored to receive this recognition; we oversaw the whole process, and were intimately involved with the various pieces, but this 1st place recognition is for all involved. Thank you to our partners in this project: the State of VT Division of Historic Preservation, UVM Consulting Archaeology Program, Okemo Mountain Resort, Ralph Cameron / Sky Shots LLC, Cavendish Historical Society / Margo Caulfield, Mount Holly Community Historical Museum / Dennis Devereux, Sydney Miele, & Emma Vastola. Watch the award-wining "Paleoindians at Jackson Gore" here:

Okemo Valley TV Addresses Funding Cuts

Sat, 11/02/2019 - 11:55 -- Patrick

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 6, 2019

Contact: Patrick Cody, Executive Director 

 (802) 228-8808; pcody@okemovalley.tv

Threats to Funding Spur Action Locally

Community access TV stations across the country are facing a serious threat to their primary funding source, cable TV “franchise fees”, following a federal rule change. Last month, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to approve a rule change in the way the fees are calculated. The “franchise fees” are charged to cable companies in exchange for their use of public lands and rights-of-way. In Vermont, they are earmarked specifically for community access TV, formally known as “Public, Educational, & Government (PEG) Access” (as defined by the 1984 Cable Act, and still the law of the land). The new rule change is expected to result in a significant loss in franchise fee revenue for the community stations not just in Vermont, but nationwide.

Locally, Okemo Valley TV cut its operating budget by 10% this year (starting July 1), in anticipation of the rule change, which was long-expected to pass. This comes on top of an unexpected 7% loss of franchise fee revenue the station began to experience last year, as a result of a change in the way that the area’s (and nation’s) largest cable provider, Comcast, accounts for the franchise fees.

To address the losses in revenue, the station is scaling back on its open hours by 7 hours per week. Beginning September 16th, the stations new hours of operations will be 10-5 on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays, and 10-7 on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Okemo Valley TV’s Patrick Cody says they “have known for some time that we need to diversify our funding in a sustainable, meaningful way, and we’ve been working towards that. We also have to accept the impact of these latest hits and address them head-on”. He estimates that this reduction will account for most of this year’s budget cut.

The FCC rule change, on top of the other threats to franchise fee funding, is forcing organizations such as Okemo Valley TV to take action on its own and seek out solutions moving forward. The extent to which the FCC rule change will affect the bottom line of each organization is still a little hazy, but Kevin Christopher, President of Vermont Access Network (the statewide membership & advocacy organization), offers, “we’re preparing for dramatic shifts in funding and operations.” The Vermont Access Network has helped to create the PEG Access Study Committee to help bring attention to the funding issues and to help find solutions. In an acknowledgement of the valuable role community access TV plays in Vermont, the committee was formed by the legislature during the past session and charged with the task of identifying viable new funding sources to help the long-term viability of community / PEG access TV.

“Now, more than ever, we need support from volunteers so that we can continue to put out the amazing diversity of community programming”, said Okemo Valley TV Board President Francis DeVine. The station welcomes community members to create programming of their own, providing equipment and offering training to those interested. Its two cable channels are found on Comcast 8 & 10, in Ludlow, Plymouth, & Cavendish, and Comcast 20 & 21 in Mount Holly. On VTel, Okemo Valley TV is on channels 166 and 167 system-wide. Program schedules and local programming can also be found online at okemovalley.tv.  For more information or to get involved, call 228-8808 or visit the station’s website.

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PEG Access Study Committee

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 17:58 -- Patrick
The Vermont Legislature formed a Study Committee on Public, Educational, and Government (PEG) Access Television, in response to various threats to the primary source of PEG funding (cable TV "franchise fees"). The committee's purpose is to help identify possible new funding sources to support Vermont's 25 access TV stations (also known as "Community Media Centers") . It is gearing up to make its recommendations for consideration during the upcoming legislative session.

During this process, there will be one (and only one) Public Hearing - on Monday, October 21, 2019, from 10 am to 12 pm in Room 10 of the State House in Montpelier.
Show your support either in person on Oct. 21st -OR- by taking a minute to provide written testimony.

Send any written testimony about the value of community access TV / media to the Study Committee at testimony@leg.state.vt.us (please include “PEG Access Television Comment” in the subject line of the email).

For more information on the Hearing or Study Committee, get in touch with us!

Viewer Survey

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 14:22 -- Patrick

In an effort to continue to improve, we are collecting viewership input & feedback. Please take a moment to complete the survey - it's just 10 questions. It should take no longer than a few minutes. All respondents will be entered into a raffle to win a personal photo & video shoot! Want to know more about that?  Ask us! 

We've extended the deadline to Monday, October 7th. All entries must be received by 5pm on that date. The raffle winner will be announced at 5pm Monday, October 7th.. 

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY! 

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Paleoindians at Jackson Gore

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 17:44 -- Patrick

The University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology program was hired by Okemo Mountain Resort in 2007 to excavate and study an area of Jackson Gore, which was being developed by the resort. Artifacts were discovered that dated back to the paleoinidian period, 12,000+ years ago. We went to UVM in 2018 to record a follow-up with the program director, John Crock, and State archaeologist, Jess Robinson.  Here is their update on the project, edited together with footage from the 2007 excavation:

State of the Station

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 17:34 -- Patrick

We just wrapped up our fiscal year on June 30th. As is the tradition, we have provided a summary of this past year's news & activities in our "State of the Station" report, which can be viewed here.  Highlights from the past year include:

  • our huge building improvements (Phase 3 building project), thanks to the funding support from the State of Vermont "Building Communities" grant, The Marro Trust, The Cricket Foundation, and several private local donations
  • more than 1,300 new local shows were produced using our services
  • new collaborative video projects with Ludlow Fire Department, UVM Consulting Archaeology Program, & Mount Holly School
  • hiring of a full-time production coordinator, Eric Chatterjee
  • our statewide membership & advocacy organization (Vermont Access Network, aka VAN) successfully convinced the legislature to form a "PEG Access Study Committee" (currently underway) to explore new funding sources for community access media / TV, in light of various funding threats 

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