BCTV announces winners of the 2020 Producer Awards
The talents of many people go into producing the award-winning programming at Brattleboro Community Television.

BCTV announces winners of the 2020 Producer Awards

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro Community Television has announced its 2020 producer award winners, who will be honored at an annual ceremony that this year will be held virtually on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m.

In all, BCTV's more than 50 local producers and staff produced 1,300 hours of local programming over the past year. The following organizations and individuals will be recognized for their achievements during the past year:

• Community Partner Award: Next Stage Arts. Next Stage Arts in Putney partnered with BCTV to create and share a variety of local content, including “Fables Storytelling,” “The Quarantine Sessions,” “Cooped-Up Kids,” “Votes for All Women, and “Rigged: A Voter Suppression Panel.”

In August, Keith Marks, the executive director of Next Stage, organized a live multi-venue arts performance, “Arts Unite Windham,” that raised $8,000 for local social-justice organizations and to bring attention to arts venues that had been shut down for months. BCTV provided the technical backbone of this four-hour live stream from five venues.

• Nonprofit Member Award: Senior Solutions of Southeastern Vermont. Joann Erenhouse, community relations director for Senior Solutions, joined BCTV in 2018 to distribute key information to aging Vermonters in the area and learned how to produce a monthly studio show, “Keeping Up with Senior Solutions,” which she has continued to produce on Zoom.

Joann and her co-host, Jim Collins, just completed their 12th episode with guest experts on topics such as advanced directives, dementia, Medicare, benefits, mail-in voting, and Reiki.

Municipal Partner Award: Assistant Town Manager Patrick Moreland and Brattleboro Fire Chief Mike Bucossi: This year's award goes to two municipal departments that were active in using BCTV to reach the public during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Moreland was charged with finding a way for the Selectboard to meet virtually when in-person meetings were prohibited.

“He quickly learned videoconferencing technology and made the virtual format work efficiently and effectively for Selectboard members, ASL interpreters, BCTV, and the public,” according to a news release.

In September, along with Town Moderator Lawrin Crispe and Town Clerk Hilary Francis, Patrick engineered the first virtual Town Meeting in Vermont, which was held on Zoom for 13 hours with more than 100 participants. It went smoothly and is being hailed as a model for the state.

Bucossi and his staff met with BCTV in January to establish an emergency ticker portal on BCTV's channels so the department could quickly reach community members with alerts and announcements. The first ticker was initiated with Gov. Phil Scott's “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order on March 24.

Since then, the Fire Department has used the ticker to update local residents with news alerts for COVID-19 and other notifications, leveraging the community access TV station as an emergency messaging system.

• New Producer of the Year: Donna Blackney: In May, Blackney, who has a professional film background, moved to Brattleboro and joined BCTV via Zoom while the office and studio were closed. Her first project was to interview downtown store owners about their reopening plans.

She became active with the Brattleboro Words Project and covered two of its events: a ceremony at the Retreat Farm to reclaim the Abenaki place name Wantastegok, and a gathering at Green Street School to unveil a plaque commemorating Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jody Williams.

Producer of the Year: Peter “Fish” Case: Case created an online interview show, “Call to Action: COVID-19,” in response to the COVID-19 emergency. He gathered critical information from local, state, and national experts and disseminated it via YouTube, BCTV, podcast, and radio.

The show went live on March 19 with the headline: “Will our food supply hold up?” and was produced daily for a total of 50 episodes, ending with an interview with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch on Aug. 25.

Case moved on to produce eight episodes of “Windham Votes,” interviewing local town clerks about the voting process.

“Case's dedication to finding factual information - answers to his own questions - and sharing it with his neighbors through BCTV exemplifies the role of the community producer,” BCTV staff said.

• Series of the Year: “Montpelier Happy Hour”: Producer and host Olga Peters started “Montpelier Happy Hour” in February 2019 as a podcast and as a radio show on WVEW. In March 2020, she added video on BCTV and YouTube along with a regular contributor, state Rep. Emilie Kornheiser, who represents Brattleboro District 1 in the Legislature.

Their first video episode, “COVID-19 and the Cracks in the System,” articulated one of the show's main themes - the gap between policy and individual experience.

“Peters and Kornheiser approach weekly topics from both personal and professional perspectives, which gives their discussion its unique richness,” BCTV staff said.

• Host of the Year: Marty Cohn: This new award recognizes the critical role of the host. In 2014, Marty Cohn joined BCTV as the host and producer of “SAFSTOR Matters,” a show about the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee, which was awarded BCTV's 2015 Series of the Year.

In 2015, he hosted and produced “Healthcare Matters” for Grace Cottage Hospital. Another show, “Rotary Cares,” began in 2017. He concurrently volunteered as a host for BCTV's “Open Studio” and “Meet the Candidates” series in 2018.

When BCTV had to close its studio facilities in March, Cohn not only learned to use Zoom to continue producing “Rotary Cares,” he added two new weekly shows: the “Rotary Club Speaker Series” and “PR Benefits,” a show about public relations in the COVID-19 era.

In addition, Cohn singlehandedly coordinated and hosted BCTV's “Meet the Candidates” interviews leading up to the 2020 elections, which resulted in 20 interviews over six weeks that aired statewide.

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