Patrick's blog

Okemo Valley TV Addresses Funding Cuts

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


September 6, 2019

Contact: Patrick Cody, Executive Director 

 (802) 228-8808;

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  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 (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.. 



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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 


read more news here

2019 Producer Awards

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 17:58 -- Patrick

At our annual meeting on June 27th, we recognized volunteer community producers for their works over the past year, through our 4 annual awards: Producer of the Year , Youth Producer of the Year, Community Service Award, & the Outstanding Achievement Award. These folks don't just watch TV...they make it. Around these parts, they are...."the media".

Producer of the Year: Zachary McNaughton

Zachary is a Proctorsville resident and an instructor of Audio / Video Production at River Valley Technical Center (RVTC). This past year, he began production on his own new regular fishing series, "Master Anglers" (showing each & every week on our community access channel). In addition, he oversaw the production of an original weekly series created, prodcuced, & hosted by students in his RVTC class ("Trailer Trash Talk") throughout the past school year. It's been a prolific year for Mr. McNaughton, and we salute him.

Youth Producer of the Year: Natasha Fortin

Natasha has been the A#1 student volunteer this past year, covering over 50 games for Black River High School sports. This includes both boys & girls teams for soccer, basketball, baseball, & softball. She did a lot of the post-production work as well. Thanks for all of the sports programming, Natasha! 

Community Impact / Service Award: Kelly Stettner

Kelly foudned & runs the Black River Action Team (BRAT), an volunteer organization dedicated to river clean-up, education, & watershed quality stewardship. As part of this effort, in her very limited spare time, she produces a TV series, "Black River Connections", using Okemo Valley TV, which is well-produced and informative. We are prepared to support more episodes, so  keep up the great work, Kelly!   


Outstanding Achievement Award: Ludlow Fire Department

Volunteer firefighters Fran & Angela Kissell led a team effort to produce a great 10-minute promotional video for the Ludlow Fire Department...and they put in A LOT of work. The video has been well-circulated and is in regular rotation on our channels. There will be more to come through our collaborative work with the Fire Department. This first effort exceeded all expectations. Job well done! 

Board of Directors Election

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 17:07 -- Patrick

At last night's annual meeting (June 27th), the election was held for the Board of Directors for the coming fiscal year. Noah Schmidt was re-elected. Don Richardson & Wendy Regier were both elected. The new year starts on July 1.  The new Board will be meeting sometime in mid-July, at which time officers will be elected (the date of the 1st meeting is still to be determined, but an agenda will be posted here soon).

We would like to thank both Julie Bowyer and Lou Krefski, who terms ended,  for serving on the Board of Directors for the past three years!


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