Thursday, Sep 10, 4:39pm
It’s been just over a year, since Laurel’s public access television station was re-branded Laurel TV. The station, tucked inside the Laurel Municipal Center, has undergone a complete rebirth, with new programming, a brand new television studio, and an enthusiastic staff with Communications Director Audrey Barnes at the helm.
And now Laurel TV has another award to add to its trophy case, and this one epitomizes what community television is all about.
Laurel TV Photographer Douglas Zambrano and Volunteer Reporter Frances Butler have won a 2015 Hometown Media Award in a competition that drew more than a thousand entries from P.E.G. stations across the country.
The Alliance For Community Media, a national group that promotes civic engagement through community media holds the award competition every year.
Barnes flew to Pasadena, California to pick up Laurel TV’s Award last month and spoke at the group’s annual conference.
The entry “Laurel Church Sends Aid To Africa,” highlighted the humanitarian efforts of the Livingstones Church in Laurel to package up and send thousands of meals to Ebola survivors and their neighbors in West Africa.
“What a great honor for the Laurel TV team,” Mayor Craig A. Moe says. “We know how important it is to have volunteers involved with our station, and this is confirmation that they can produce quality programming.”
More than 300 people turned out for a launch party for Laurel TV on August 6, 2014, and several are still active volunteers-- shooting and reporting stories on community events.
“We have a small corps of volunteers who have been with us since the very beginning, but we could use a lot more,” Barnes says. “Now that we have revamped our studio, we want to keep it booked solid with volunteers and community members coming in to tape shows to air on Laurel TV.”
Before volunteering as a reporter for Laurel TV, Frances Butler had never appeared on camera. She works primarily as a freelance scriptwriter and Producer, and currently does work in radio and television for My Media Buzz, a production company in Maryland.
But after some gentle coaxing and a little coaching from Media Coordinator, Joyce Jackson, she did the reporting for the church aid piece, and even appeared on camera in it.
“This is a thrill for me,” Butler says. “I never expected to be given this opportunity, but thanks to Laurel TV, I have some new found confidence to try it again.”
Laurel TV photographer Douglas Zambrano can’t wait to show his award to his two young daughters.
“It’s nice to be recognized for working hard at something,” Zambrano says. “I want my girls to learn that while they’re young.”
Mayor Moe and Council President Ed Ricks will present Zambrano and Butler with their Hometown Media Awards at the September 14 , 2015 Mayor and City Council Meeting at 7pm.
If you would like to volunteer with Laurel TV, fill out an application at www.laureltv.org.
If you live within the city limits of Laurel, you can watch Laurel TV on Comcast Channel 71 or Verizon Channel 12. It is streamed live nationwide at www.laureltv.org.