Jeff Mastroianni, content manager, works in the booth at the BCTV studio. (Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)
Jeff Mastroianni, content manager, works in the booth at the BCTV studio. (Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)
Wednesday May 8, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- The Love Brattleboro TV Benefit Auction will be held on May 11 from noon to 8 p.m. and viewers will have the chance to bid on various prizes to assist the channel with costs accumulated from upgrading the studio.

"We've been working on this studio renovation project for over a year now," BCTV Executive Director Cor Trowbridge said.

On Channel 8 and BrattleboroTV.org, over $8,000 in local goods and services will be auctioned off. Viewers can call 802-441-5545 during the broadcast to bid on items. Bids will also be accepted on the BCTV Facebook page.

Items will auctioned off in four different blocks, starting at noon. The other ones will be at 2 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The donated items include two rounds of golf with cart at the Brattleboro Country Club, a 37-gallon fish tank from One Stop Country Pet Supply, a quilted striped hammock from Friends of the Sun, 50 ads on WKVT-AM and FM, a placement of the winning bidder's name in Archer Mayor's next book and more.

There will be performances, interviews and auctions televised throughout the entire broadcast.

Peter Miles, who has performed at previous BCTV telethons, will be opening for this live auction. Electric Fence, Tim Johnson and Robin Zegge, Dre Hobbs, and the Melodians are some of the others slated to perform at the event.

Proceeds from the event will go toward renovating the BCTV studios.

Over the past year, BCTV upgraded all its equipment to High Definition or HD quality. This included new cameras, a switcher and cables. Improved graphics were a result of the new switcher.

Volunteers ripped up all the wiring installed by other volunteers 15 years ago.

"We also got into our studio space and threw out all this old equipment that was taking up a bunch of space," said Trowbridge. "We just wanted a fresh start."

The channel broadcasts and operates from the Municipal Building in downtown Brattleboro.

During renovation, volunteers painted a new green screen for subjects to stand behind and fixed a lot of the structural issues, Trowbridge told the Reformer.

"We did all that then sat people down in front of the camera and had them do their shows then realized for the viewers at home, it didn't necessarily look that different because what was on the screen we hadn't changed that fundamentally," said Trowbridge. "So, we got to work trying to figure out what our vision was for what we wanted our studio set design to be."

Trowbridge said that bandwidth is an issue for the channel. With all the technology that is out there, BCTV wants to take advantage of any equipment it can.

"It can be extremely variable," she said. "Some get slow. Some get regular and some people in town get high speed Internet. We don't want people sitting there buffering. There's nothing that discourages people more than buffering."

For the live auction, BCTV hopes to purchase new furniture for the set and more expensive lights. The goal is to raise between $5,000 and $10,000.

"I think $5,000 is a good goal," said Trowbridge. "That'll be just what we need to finish this project. We're always trying to improve our production value and we're always trying to improve our delivery service, both on the channel, how it looks and sounds, and online at our website."

Daryl Pillsbury, who was a member of the BCTV board for two years in the ‘90s, hosted two telethons for the channel in the past. He had raised over $7,000 and acted as a one-man show in those telethons.

For this live auction, Pillsbury returned to the BCTV board and assisted with pulling off this year's live auction.

In the past, the channel has done telethons for organizations and events that include Rescue Inc. and the Harris Hill Ski Jump.

As the event gets closer, BCTV prepares by airing footage from an older telethon from the ‘90s.

For more information, visit BrattleboroTV.org or call 802-257-0888.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.