By Deborah Guthrie,
HOMTV Executive Producer
HOMTV is arguably the leader in providing extensive election coverage by a Government Access Channel. Since 1988, HOMTV has won numerous awards at the state, regional and national level for Overall Excellence in government programming and election coverage. This is our 28th year providing one-on-one candidate interviews, candidate statements, LIVE Debates, Special Features on Ballot Proposals and LIVE Election Night Results Coverage. We stay live on air from the time the polls close until all of the ballots are counted and reported at the local level. While providing election coverage is of upmost importance to our team, the most unique aspect is the role of our HOMTV Interns. Most people would never guess that behind the scenes is only a few staff members with the rest of the crew being student interns.
HOMTV currently has one full-time production staff member and in order to provide extensive election coverage, we heavily rely on our student interns. Most of them have no experience at all in television production, so we are training them as we are creating the election programming. This summer, we accepted 20 new interns into the HOMTV Internship Program bringing our total to 31 interns. We knew we needed a large crew so that we could provide the type of election coverage that our audience expects.
Not only will our viewers receive the information they need to make an educated decision at the polls, but our interns will receive valuable hands-on experience to create a professional resume demo reel and begin their career in the television industry. This week we conducted a 3 hour mock debate and training session with the interns. For the first time, they learned how to send audio to different feeds, run a prompter, provide floor direction, operate the cameras, direct interviews and more. Behind the scenes, the hands experience they gain is very exciting and rewarding.
For the 2016 Primary Election, we are providing coverage of the Ingham County Prosecutor race and Meridian Township Supervisor, Clerk, Treasurer and Trustee races. Each candidate running for Ingham County Prosecutor and the Meridian Township Board has confirmed their participation in HOMTV’s 2016 Ballot Meridian Election coverage, including the LIVE Debates that began Thursday, June 23rd. The Ingham County Prosecutor Republican Debate with Candidates Billie Jo O’Berry and Monica Stephens is Thursday, June 30 at 7pm. The Ingham County Democratic Debate with Candidates Thomas English, Brian T. Jackson, Patrick O’Keefe and Carol Siemon is Thursday, July 7 at 7pm.
People can participate in the debates by asking questions of the candidates via phone at 517.349.1232 or Facebook and twitter using @HOMTV #BallotMeridian. Debates and Candidate Interviews can be viewed online at www.homtv.net and on Comcast 21 in Okemos, Haslett and East Lansing.
HOMTV is the government access channel for Meridian Township. Through the HOMTV Internship Program, we train and mentor student interns to help produce over 600 programs and over 1,000 stories each year. Programming ranges from exclusive gavel to gavel coverage of official township meetings to police and fire programs, local news, senior programs, local sports and community programs. HOMTV is fully funded through franchise fees and PEG fees from video service providers in Meridian Township.
Writing this article reminds me of a quote by Father Brown; “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember professionals built the Titanic but an amateur built the ark.”