By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Southborough – Southborough Access Media, Inc., (SAM) encourages residents to stay tuned for enhancements to the public-access television in town. The newly formed nonprofit programming organization has appointed Katelyn Willis of Southborough as its first executive director.
Willis grew up in Northborough where she graduated from Algonquin Regional High School in 1997. She earned her bachelor's degree in television and video production at Emerson College in Boston. Since then, she worked at public-access stations in Waltham, Dedham, Franklin, Everett, and Lexington.
She moved from Boston to Southborough five years ago and is glad to continue her passion for public-access television in her home region.
“I choose to work in public-access television because I like knowing that what I's doing is improving the community,” she said. “I look forward to working with the town, the residents, local groups and schools.”
Based on experience gained in other communities, she understands the importance of welcoming volunteers who demonstrate an interest in the television station.
“When a resident approaches the station, we need to take them seriously and get them training as soon as possible,” she said. “I'se seen at other stations where there wasn's time to train the person right away and we lost them. We appreciate everyone who takes the time to stop by the studio or give a call.”
Among SAM's goals is to conduct television production classes. Those students could practice their newly acquired skills by covering popular events such as the Southborough Heritage Day Celebration and Santa Day.
“The more people who are trained on the production equipment, the more events and meetings that we can play on the channel,” she said. “It's valuable for people who want to do this as a hobby and for students in high school who want to start training now to prepare for work in news or production.”
In the 2011-2012 school year, Willis worked as station manager at Everett High School where students eagerly covered community events. Likewise, she's like to see Southborough students participate.
“Students volunteered and helped out,” she said of her experience in Everett. “The outreach within the high school and getting kids involved was a huge eye-opener for me.”
SAM is operated in the Fayville Village Hall located at 42 Central St., which also houses Southborough Youth and Family Services. Another goal for SAM is to find a more spacious studio, Willis noted.
“I would like for residents, local groups and businesses to come in and be able to produce high quality, professional-looking programs,” she said. “That requires high ceilings and room for equipment. We's also like to have several editing suites and a community meeting space so nonprofit organizations and boards could meet there and use projectors and all the media opportunities that we will have.”
Willis has reached out to a local developer and a realtor for insight regarding vacant facilities. She also arranged a meeting with the principal of Trottier Middle School to discuss it as a possible studio site.
“We'se open to all options,” she said. “We'sl make it work until we find a new space.”
Alex Neihaus, a SAM board member, extended an invitation for residents.
“Anyone with an idea should contact us,” he said. “While we'se in the process of building on this vision, we'se also doing television production. We have some equipment and some space, and now we have a brilliant and talented executive director.”
Contact Willis at 508-485-8156 or [email protected]. For more information, visit the SAM website: SboroMedia.org; Facebook: Southboro Access Media; Twitter: @SboroMedia or Google +: Southborough Access Media.