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PUBLIC AFFAIRS ON COMMUNITYVISION 21
A brief history of Public Affairs programming at CommuniTyVision 21:
There are many opportunities here at CTV21 for the communtiy to produce their own programming. However, we know that there are many organizations out there that might like to get the word out and lack the time, volunteers, or the ability to do so. In response to that need over the years we have created several single, limited and ongoing series to provide a platform for those individuals and organizations.
When we created an internship back in September of 1998, we were also creating a community workforce to help us produce local programming. The earliest of these styled shows were "On the HomeFront" (taped) and "HomeFront Live!" We knew these shows would provide a boost to local community televison on several levels:
HomeFront and its companion program, which was broadcast live, featured a variety of topics, issues, guests and organizations. It was hosted by John Murphy general manager of WHUS radio in Storrs, Connecticut and was produced from 1999 to 2002. When John Murphy could no longer make the trip to Western CT we did our best to make the series last out the year of 2002 by casting for, and finding suitable hosts. Though they seemed suitable at first, both replacements turned out to be a disappointment and soured us on continuing the search for another permanent host. HomeFront was shelved.
Over the next 3 years we asked, and searched local media for potential hosts, and experimented with different community members. To those that took the invitation and helped us over the rough spots - We Thank You (Dick Cronin, Eugene Rosen, John Bell).
During a staff meeting in early 2006, we began a brainstorming session on how to create an atmosphere within the station that outside entities would consider award-winning. The staff wanted to do this by creating more opportunities for Interns to gain studio production experience. During the in-studio haitus, we had been producing more and more truck shoots and fewer studio productions. The truck shoots, while great for some interns, were challenging for others. To provide equal experience for Interns in the field and in the studio, we needed to find a host who could commit to at least one taping each month on a year-round volunteer basis and possess some public-speaking experience. The staff suggested something we had never tried before, use the Community Bulletin Board and the website for an open casting call.
To our surprise we were contacted by several interested community members through this open call. Not all met our criteria, and in those cases we encouraged these applicants to stay and participate in the station where they might gain the experience they needed. This resulted in a dual benefit with most of them deciding to take the internship. After the interviewing process was over, we found ourselves with an embarrassment of riches; we had two great candidates for this volunteer position. John Hatch, Trumbull resident, and Tim Washer, a Ridgefield resident. The solution we found was to create 2 separate programs: IN YOUR COMMUNITY and LOCAL EDITION. Without providing much guidance we wanted to see how each program might form around the personality of the host. We appreciate their patience and their generous nature for allowing us to pull them this way, and that way, to numerous shoots both studio and location, before guest after guest, sometimes with just a brief warning of the issue to be discussed.
In the fall of 2006, we welcomed Phyllis Cortese, Newtown resident as our new host of Local Edition. After countless interviews with local organizations and leaders she has proven to be a special part of CTV-21. In the Summer of 2008 Phyllis was recognized by this department in an entry to the Public Service awards conducted by the New England Cable Telecommunications Association as an outstanding local host. Congratulations Phyllis!
In 2008 we set up a chair and a table for State Representative T.R. Rowe and created a program called "Connecting". T.R. has featured guests such as the Lt. Governor Michael Fedele, and CT Business Development Director Rob Simmons. The information is valuable to viewers in its goal to provide updates on legislation and other issues of governance in CT with a local flair. Tune in for more interesting topics from T.R. in the future.
In 2009, we began another series, this one designed to provide local and regional schools with a voice in CTV-21's coverage area. Aptly titled "SchoolNet", superintendents, principals, teachers and educational organizations can share the news from their corner of Connecticut. Host John Boccuzzi, a retired local educator, brings his knowledge and concern for the issues facing local educators.
In 2010, we decided to extent the opportunity of a pubilc affairs series to any town first selectman, mayor, state representative, etc. who would like to speak to their constituents and share something they feel is valuable and important to connecticut residents. The First Selectman of Monroe and Newtown have taken advantage of this opportunity and we hope others will too.
Now in 2013 we continue to produce Public Affairs style programming with continuing episodes of "Local Edition" and from the flyer above you can see a new music series is coming - stay tuned!
With the help of our hosts and the interns who sign on to help us, we continue to make community television something real and valuable to the 14 towns in Charter's Western Connecticut franchise.