Local access TV station has new look, many new shows
By PATRICIA E. MEOLA
Monday March 16, 2009, 11:24 AM
AREA -- Station manager Jesse Patterson refers to the editing suite at the HomeTowne Television studio as "my inner sanctum," and it's easy to see why.
Not only does Mr. Patterson seem completely at ease with all of the screens, keyboards, buttons and knobs in the compact room, but he is perfectly at ease describing the function of each to a visitor. He is also fluid in his explanations of just why each piece of technology is helping the station improve its coverage of local communities.
"We've been improving our set for awhile," he said, pointing to a cleverly-crafted "brick" background panel in the main studio that is actually treated foam. "Now we're able to show off a little with our set. And we're working to get grants to replace three broadcasting cameras. The ones we have are from the late 80s, and what we've gotten out of them has been pretty impressive." A few steps away, he gestured to what appears at first glance to be an oversized laptop.
"This one piece of equipment," Mr. Patterson said, "in the studio or on location, acts as an entire control room -- we can plug in four cameras, and six mikes. It's a Sony AnyCast, and we got it through a Summit Area Public Foundation grant in 2008."
Another new piece of machinery, the TelVue, is allowing staff and volunteers at the station, which is formerly TV-36 (it's currently Channel 36 on Comcast and TV-33 on Verizon), to upgrade and enhance the channel's bulletin board, which Mr. Patterson said has "traditionally been pretty dry."
"We can put up any video or still images," Mr. Patterson said. "Even an image of a curtain."
"We provide coverage and DVDs, and they pay," he said, adding to the revenue possibilities for the station. "We can film and edit projects for people, and they distribute the DVDs."
Mr. Honold, a Summit resident who is also the HomeTowne Television's president and CEO, said the station now boasts a six-CD changer that allows for more varied music "during the times our calendar runs. And we're planning to start running the bulletin board at regular times, so people can rely on it."
Recruitment of new volunteers has also been a board focus.
Joe Amatucci, the director of volunteers, wears a number of hats at the station. A licensed local electrician, he is not only the resident lighting expert, but has also lent his artistic talents to set design at HomeTowne Television. Mr. Smith also said the volunteer is notable for his culinary talents, as he makes an old family recipe, "Amatucci lasagna," and feeds the board.
Handling the channel's marketing efforts is volunteer Paula Mooney, who lists among her current projects overseeing a redesign of HomeTowne Television's website.
"We're also looking into doing webcasting," she said. To contact the station, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another volunteer, Roger Smith, is handling a revamped public relations effort. Not only is he charged with getting the word out about the station's name change, but it is also his responsibility to promote the shows that allow the staff and volunteers to continue their focus on the issues, events and people in local communities. Among the list of programs that made their debut in 2008, Mr. Smith noted, were "Theatrically Yours," "Sustainable Summit," "New Jersey Law with Jon Bramnick," "Time to Wine," coverage of Millburn Township Committee meetings, "Suburban Golf Club: A Tillinghast Feature," "An Evening with Willie Wilson," "The Pipes of Christmas" and coverage of the Summit High School Poetry Festival, the Twin Maples Centennial Show House and the Paper Mill Playhouse's 75th anniversary celebration.
Regarding the revamping efforts at the station, Mr. Smith said, "We have a new name, but we're still here, and we're even bigger and better than before."
Editor's note: This story is the second in a two-part series. The first ran in last week's edition of the Independent Press.