Bedford TV- A TV Station to Know, and a Fun Fundraiser, from 9 to 9 on May 20

Perhaps you tune in for ‘Neighbors To Know’, or maybe you’ve spent your quarantine hungrily following the newest segment of ‘Bedford Eats’. If not, then you should check out Bedford TV on cable or YouTube.

Bedford TV’s programs are diverse, ranging from community-created videos like ‘It’s Time To Smile’ discussing dental hygiene for people stuck at home, and movie reviews by Johnny Vaught, to coverage of Bedford’s board and committee meetings.

This non-profit organization has a clear mission: “to make media available, reflective and responsive to the needs of our community.” Bedford TV encourages members of the community to create their own programming, which will air on three local cable channels, as well as their YouTube channel and social media pages.

The organization was founded in 2004, but its beginning was more of a rescue mission than a sudden flash of innovation. For years, local television programming had been run by Comcast, then the sole cable provider, but programming was not available 24/7 as it is today. Comcast eventually declared that they would no longer manage the local programming, which was operating out of a studio at the High School. Members of the Town’s Cable TV Committee Ron Cordes and the late George Dalrymple sought to save local programming and created Bedford Community Access Television, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation then known as BCAT.

BCAT took over management of the local channels, providing PEG (Public Educational Government) programming,24 hours a day, 7 days a week. PEG programming is supported by a small percentage of each cable subscriber’s bill. Editor’s Note: Bedford TV’s current contract with the Town expires at the end of June. While the B-TV board hopes that the contract can be signed by then, negotiations have been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Contract discussions will resume once restrictions on Town board and committee meetings are lifted.

BCAT, now known as Bedford Television or Bedford TV, found a new home under new management and had a new set of goals for the channels.

Cordes and Dalrymple were committed to encouraging programs made by members of the community and Bedford Television continued to grow under them.

Just a few years later, the station faced another bump in the road. The studio at Bedford High School was about to undergo significant construction and the station would go dark for almost two years.

A two-year hiatus could have proved detrimental so the pair searched for new space.

The recent completion of Old Town Hall’s renovation had just been completed and offered plenty of space. Over a decade later, the studio has remained at Old Town Hall and has continued to grow. Bedford TV’s programming is now available on both Comcast (channels 8, 9, and 99) and Verizon (channels 38, 39, and 40), as well as on YouTube and various social media platforms.

Bedford TV’s mission is as clear today as it was when Cordes and Dalrymple created it. Bedford TV is a home for Bedford’s creative minds,  committed to encouraging residents to share and explore their passions through video programming.

BTV Board President Gretchen Kind explained its importance: “Bedford TV brings people together, and Bedford is a small town amidst many big towns”. Executive Director Katie Duval agrees that the community is what allows Bedford TV to thrive; “The community really cares. There are more people involved in government, the Council on Aging, religious affiliations, etc.… It comes with the territory [that] they’d want to be involved”.

One of the pillars of Bedford TV is its involvement with local students. BTV offers afterschool classes for elementary and middle school students and internships for high school students. Duval explained the importance of these programs: “They open opportunities for students who are really creative but may not be able to express themselves in other ways… as well as teaching teamwork and the importance of working with others”.

The programs offered by Bedford TV are not limited to students, however. They offer lessons in video production for everyone:  Intro to Postproduction, Intro to Studio Production, and Intro to Field Production, as well as always encouraging program submissions from the community to be aired on the channel.

Despite all the growth the program has experienced, Kind says they are not finished. “We want to see Bedford TV expand”, she explained. She hopes to provide resources to more members of the community with increasingly diverse program options. Among the future plans is a podcasting class. Those interested in hearing more about this, as well as any other updates from Bedford TV, can do so by signing up for their newsletter at https://us1.list-anage.com/subscribe?u=c6f5c29d1ca877fabe46aa158&id=05e8c4077d.

Bedford TV supports Operation Feed the Soul!

Bedford TV is currently preparing for its May 20 fundraiser in partnership with Operation Feed the Soul! (OFTS!) to raise funds for meals for healthcare and frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fundraiser will broadcast video submissions from artists, musicians, or any other creator for 12 hours, from 9 am until 9 pm. Among the videos to be featured is one submitted by BHS Senior Haley Portlock. Portlock spent much of her senior year developing a project to host an in-person concert. To adapt to the social distancing restrictions, she decided to change her event to an online concert featuring local performers, which will be featured as part of the 12 hour-long fundraiser. Haley said of her project “The whole point is to bring some smiles”. To learn more about the upcoming fundraiser, read about it at https://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2020/05/calling-all-performers-for-a-video-fundraiser-on-bedford-tv-for-operation-feed-the-soul/.


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-430-8827

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