LUDLOW, Vt. – In the past, community access TV stations were offered as “lower tier” TV channels for cable subscribers. If you wanted to view the local programming, you needed to have cable; and if you want to find out what was on when, that could be more difficult. But times have changed. With all of the technology and different media platforms today, there are a variety of ways to view programming. And in the Black River Valley and Okemo region, Okemo Valley TV has recent undergone a number of recent changes and upgrades of which viewers should take note.
First and foremost are Okemo Valley TV’s channels on Comcast, which recently moved Okemo Valley TV’s channels to a new four-digit “neighborhood.” Now, the public and community channel is on 1076 and the education and government channel is on 1086. Formerly, these channels were found on the lower-tier channels 8 and 10 or channels 20 and 21, depending on where a person lived.
“Now, it’s simpler in terms of publicizing the channel numbers,” says Executive Director Patrick Cody. “No matter where you live in our service area, if you are a Comcast subscriber, we’re on channels 1076 and 1086.” The move to four digits also paves the way for a future upgrade of Okemo Valley TV’s channels to high definition at long last. Okemo Valley TV is carried on Comcast in the towns of Ludlow, Plymouth, Cavendish, and Mount Holly.
Okemo Valley TV’s channels on also carried on VTel, throughout its system including Bridgewater, Killington, Andover, Chester, Shrewsbury, and Springfield, drastically increasing the station’s potential audience. “Vtelevision” subscribers can now view Okemo Valley TV channels 166 and 167 in full quality, high definition. “The difference in quality of the signal is night and day,” says Cody.
In addition, on both Comcast and VTel, viewers can now find out what’s on when simply by going to the interactive program guide, a feature that until recently was not offered to community TV stations in Vermont. Okemo Valley TV’s program schedules can always be found online on the station’s website, www.okemovalley.tv, but as Cody explains, “If you’re watching on TV, it isn’t always practical or convenient to log onto the website to find out what’s on.” By having the station’s program schedules listed on the guide, he says is a “game changer.”
Aside from television, there is Okemo Valley TV’s online presence. Its website and YouTube channel are filled with local programs of all kinds. And with the recent addition of new and improved equipment, the station can now simultaneously broadcast on TV and live stream programming on YouTube, Facebook, or the website. Beginning in September, some local government meetings will be broadcast and streamed live each month. “We want to grow this to include other community events, concerts, and other types of programming,” says Cody.
For more information about the station and how to get involved, visit www.okemovalley.tv or call 802-228-8808.