TV news magazine features Bethel region
It’s not a video game.
It’s not a Chamber of Commerce promotion.
Once Phil Blampied of Rumford gets people to understand the nature of what he’s producing with his video camera, they like it, he says.
“Today River Valley” is a quarterly news magazine featuring stories in the Bethel and Rumford areas. It’s an hour-long TV show that can be viewed online or purchased as a DVD in local stores, including the Bethel Foodliner and Crossroads Restaurant.
Blampied spent much of his life working in communications and journalism in Massachusetts, so he knows how to put news material together.
Video is a relatively new medium for him, one he started experimenting with last year.
“I really enjoyed playing around with it,” he said.
It wasn’t long before Blampied decided to take his work public by entering a video contest promoting the Lewiston-Auburn area. Titled “Pump Up the Positive,” the competition sought entries that showed the twin cities in a favorable light.
He chose to make a black-and-white, silent film showcasing “Four Great Places Shoot a Movie in Lewiston and Auburn Maine.” It followed a man around the cities as he checked out the four sites: Bates College, the Bates Mill, a pedestrian bridge and the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Blampied won third prize.
Then he started thinking about another project.
“Video is everywhere in society these days, but no one has yet fully figured out how to create community journalism with it,” he said. “There’s plenty of video in communities with broadcast television stations, but in areas too small for their own TV stations, none or spotty efforts.”
So he decided to try to fill that void.
Active in the Rumford community, he didn’t need long to find some good story ideas.
This fall Blampied interviewed animal welfare volunteers in the River Valley, a magician/entertainer, and people trying to save the Peru Elementary School. He also came to Bethel for stories on the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum and the Androscoggin River’s recovery from the pollution of the past. He added commercials on businesses in Rumford, as well as Gourmet in a Pinch and Bethel Outdoor Adventure.
Blampied put the show on DVD and online. Over the next few weeks it drew 460 views online, and he sold 100 DVDs, he said. He hopes to build the online viewership to around 2,000.
“The trick is reaching people and getting them to watch, and I’m doing this with a combination of the Internet and DVDs,” he said. “People are receiving it very well once they get past the confusion on what it is.”
The winter edition features pieces on the effort by Andover to withdraw from SAD 44; horsedrawn wagon rides in Bethel; hoot night at the Sudbury Inn; a visit to a Rumford diner; an interview with a Rumford artist; a church singing group in Canton and snowshoe races in Mexico.
Commercial messages focus on the Rostay and Mill Hill inns of Bethel and a variety of Rumford-area businesses.
Blampied is already at work on his spring edition, which he expects to be available in mid-April or early May.
“The program is a quarterly for the practical purposes of allowing people enough time find and watch it, and allow me, as a one-man production staff, enough time to produce each successive edition,” he said.
For more information and to see the shows go to www.todayrivervalley.com.