LUDLOW, Vt. – Okemo Valley TV is a nonprofit community television station and media center serving the Black River Valley and Okemo region. Like most other public buildings and businesses, its Ludlow-based facility is closed to the public for the time being. Despite this limitation, it is focusing on ways to keep the community informed and engaged during this time of need.
“Our staff is mostly working remotely at this point, but we’re also taking appointments on a case-by-case basis, for anyone wishing to use our services, whether that’s the studio or borrowing equipment,” says Executive Director Patrick Cody. The station will address each request to find a way to accommodate, while implementing the precautions recommended by health officials. Cody elaborated that “it just takes getting creative, as far as how we operate, and current technology makes a lot of it possible,” adding, as an example, that he is working with the Green Mountain Union High School’s media journalism class to distribute regular video updates for the community.
The videos will be produced remotely by students and then packaged together and distributed by Okemo Valley TV. Another example is the work the station has been doing with Kata Welch of Cavendish Fletcher Community Library on recording and distributing “story time” readings, while the library is closed. Other organizations are working with the station to provide informational programs related to the crisis, including Black River Good Neighbor Services and the Chamber of Commerce.
Okemo Valley TV operates two cable TV channels for local Comcast Xfinity and VTel subscribers. They can be found on Comcast on channels 8 and 10 in Ludlow, Plymouth, and Cavendish and channels 20 and 21 in Mount Holly – please note that in early May, Okemo Valley TV’s channels will be moved to Comcast channels 1076 and 1086 in all towns, a transition which is currently in process. On VTel, Okemo Valley TV is on channels 166 and 167, in high definition. The channels run programming 24/7; the programming comes from local, regional, and statewide sources, including those produced right within the community and by the station’s staff and volunteers.
In addition, the station offers video-on-demand on its website and YouTube channels, as well as a calendar and bulletin board for community information. “The calendar has been seeing a real uptick in activity this past week, with all of the closures, cancellations, and health information related to COVID-19,” said Cody.
The station invites all community organizations and members to submit information to the station’s community calendar, which is also available on its website at www.okemovalley.tv/calendar. For the time being, the calendar is also prominently featured on the home page of www.okemovalley.tv. The website also hosts local programs for viewing and daily program schedules as well as weekly programming.