BRATTLEBORO -- Every year, Brattleboro Community Television staff members put together a video for the annual meeting that highlights everything the station produced over the previous year.

This year BCTV Executive Director Cor Trowbridge said the station wanted to do something special.

Trowbridge said the staff wanted to give viewers a wider and deeper perspective on what goes on at Brattleboro's community access station.

In the 2013 video the highlights are interspersed with interviews with staff and board members, local officials and lawmakers, and area producers and media partners who work with BCTV.

The station ended up with a narrative that told the story of the impact a small community station could have on its community.

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)

Once the video was edited Trowbridge said she thought the station had produced more than a highlight reel.

And the staff at the Alliance for Community Media agree.

The Alliance for Community Media, a nationwide educational and advocacy group that represents more than 3,000 community access stations across the United States, has given Brattleboro Community Television 2013 Highlight Video the Access Center Professional Level Award for Access and Empowerment.

The Alliance for Community Media gives out its Hometown Media Awards every year and separates some its annual awards based on a station's budget.

But BCTV won its professional level award going up against every other station, including those with budgets that are much higher than the one for Brattleboro.

"We are a small organization and we were competing against much larger stations that receive much more funding," Trowbridge said. "I think the video really does a good job of telling a story of what we do here, and the award shows that our work is as good as anything else that is being done."

BCTV produces more than 1,000 hours of programming every year and the highlight film includes at least one second from every single show that is produced at the station.

The highlights include interviews with the governor and with legislators.

There are shots of the Fourth of July parade, selectboard meetings across Windham County and serious discussions about mental illness and global warming.

Producers include high school students, college administrators, artists and business people.

"The clip really tells the story of the wide range of programming and the service territory we cover," Trowbridge said. "It is what public access is all about."

BCTV also received an award from The Alliance for Community Media in 2011 for its film, "Double Trouble," which was produced during the station's summer camp and won the award for Best Original Teleplay.

The station also won the About Access award that year for its highlight film.

"Someone said to me that BCTV is a small station that does big things," Trowbridge said. "We may be limited in what we work with but we make the most of every dollar we spend. I am very proud of that."

BCTV Production Manager Roland Boyden put together the award winning videos in 2011 and he also edited the 2013 highlight reel.

Boyden said the annual highlight reel does a good job of showing just how many people are involved with the station's work.

As production manager Boyden said he routinely sees people who are unsure of their abilities and who enter into video production with hesitation.

As they master the equipment and software, he said, the producers find their voices and take their responsibilities seriously in providing entertainment and information for the greater Brattleboro area.

"All of the programs and subject matters are important," he said. "Each one has a unique value for our community."

Boyden said taking 1,000 hours of programming and distilling it all into a nine minute highlight reel is tiring, and he admitted to being a little burned out when it was done.

After it won the award, though, he said he went back and watched it and was surprised at how cohesive and compelling it was.

He was involved with just about every program that was used in the highlight reel, but taken as a whole, he said, the clip tells a story of how a small community access station can affect so many people and institutions in the area.

"It is something I am proud of," he said. "Having this video win confirms in a very public way what I've felt for a long time: That the videos BCTV producers are creating all the time can have a real and positive impact on people, not just here in our community, but on a national level as well."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. Follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.