Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Access Network (VAN), the organization of 25 Public, Educational, Government (PEG) community media centers, held its annual meeting remotely on May 1, 2020. Over 60 VAN staff/board members from 21 centers throughout the state and supporting members attended. The state’s public access staff and leadership took a break from their new, virtual workflow- including the near-constant streaming of local remote public meetings and events to take part in the meeting.
Outgoing VAN President Kevin Christopher of LCATV in Colchester noted the unprecedented virtually-held meeting: “Proceeding with our annual business meeting was important not only to take action on several items before the membership, but also for all of us to connect during a time when we might be feeling disconnected. It was a good opportunity to see familiar faces and be a little less isolated for a morning.”
VAN members discussed plans for the year ahead, including growing momentum behind Senate draft bill S.318 looking into new ways to support public, educational and government access television work in Vermont. Christopher adds, with regards to the bill, “Our meeting included a summary of VAN’s legislative activities over the past year and a half and a preview of the continued work that lies before us. This is work that seeks to secure our future and is among the most important we’ve ever taken on.”
Additionally, the membership discussed a new statewide HD channel to be launched in 2021. HD Channel 1070 on the Comcast system will build on content available via VAN’s existing Vermont Media Exchange (VMX) platform and provide Vermonters with content by VAN members from across the state. A team of VAN staff from around the state are laying the groundwork for this new initiative.
VAN membership acknowledged the work of St. Albans’ NWATV’s former Executive Director Elizabeth Malone, as well as Christopher and former VAN President Lisa Byer (CAT-TV, Bennington) for their service, as they stepped down from the board.
While unable to hold and test the latest gear in person, membership were remotely connected during the meeting with industry supporters Access A/V, TelVue, Cablecast/Tightrope, Barbizon Lighting of New England and Unique Media Systems.
Finally, the VAN membership voted in new Board members including: Rob Chapman of ORCA TV in Montpelier, Angelike Contis of MMCTV in Richmond, Tammie Reilly of GNAT-TV in Manchester, and Christopher Weirsema from CVTV in Barre. They join existing members Jess Wilson of the Media Factory in Burlington, Kurt Broderson of MCTV in Middlebury and Mike Deterling of Kingdom Access TV in Saint Johnsbury.
Source: BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Vermont Access Network 5.12.2020