And here is a show from Two Rivers Supervisory Union's Meg Powden & Cheryl Hammond, explaining the proposed FY2021 school district budgets for Green Mountain Unified and Ludlow-Mt. Holly Unified Union:
All programs can be viewed on our TV channels as well, through the days leading up to Town Meeting (Tues., March 3rd). Be sure to check our schedules page for info. - these shows will primarily be playing on our education / gov. channel, but will also have some timeslots on the community channel.
Email us your questions on the proposed budget for either local school district in the Two Rivers Supervisory Union (GMUSD or LMUUSD) by Friday, Feb. 7th! Meg Powden & Cheryl Hammond from Two Rivers Supervisory Union will then answer them on TV. The program will be televised on our local Education & Government channel (check here for info. & schedules) beginning Feb. 17th.
This is all to help provide important information leading up the school district budget votes on Town Meeting Day (Tuesday, March 3rd).
Thank you to our most prolific community producer, John Specker, for taking a break from fiddle playing, to volunteer to do some cleaning. He did a great job and we appreciate it - he does strong work with both the mop and the vaccuum!
A renowned musician, John has recorded many, many music songs in our studio over the years. We like having him around.
Check out what's happening at the Cavendish Fletcher Community Library in January, with Kata Welch!
"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:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 6, 2019
Contact: Patrick Cody, Executive Director
(802) 228-8808; firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 email@example.com (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!
August 28th marks the 8th anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene landing on Vermont. Hard to believe, but it's been 3 yrs. since we teamed up with Plymouth Historical Society on this commemorative documentary, looking back on the storm's lasting impact on the Town.