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"Today River Valley" debuts
RUMFORD -- An hourlong news video feature program called "Today River Valley" debuted this month.
"Today River Valley" is a community video news magazine for the towns of the Androscoggin River Valley in western Maine.
Its creator, Phil Blampied of Rumford, said he's hoping to turn it into a small business venture. "What I'm doing now is an experiment to see if I can create a viable business product."
The first show is already available on the Today River Valley website at www.todayrivervalley.com and on DVD for a small fee plus shipping and handling.
"Normally areas such as ours are too small to have television or video coverage of local events," Blampied said.
That's why he decided to launch the new program, which will be available four times a year on the Internet and on DVD.
"The question is whether it will get the viewership it needs using those avenues as opposed to the traditional broadcast media. Besides that website, the program is also found on YouTube.
"Hopefully, this will reach a lot of people," he said.
The premier show, which features host Tammy Schmersal of Rumford introducing each segment, received 200 views as of Halloween.
In the first segment, Blampied tells the stories of founding members of the River Valley Animal Advocates of Dixfield and Canton and the problem of stray and abandoned animals.
Dixfield sisters Brenda Jarvis and Carolyn Smith share their experiences of using their limited Social Security incomes to care for stray and abandoned cats for about 30 years.
"The first story up is kitties and puppies," Blampied said. "You can't lose with that, right?"
In the segment, Blampied interviews Becky McDonald, president of the River Valley Animal Advocates, who care for kittens and puppies and advocate spaying and neutering to reduce feral populations.
For the second segment, Blampied said he wanted to add an entertainment story. So, he interviewed local entertainer and magician Scot Grassette, who with his wife, bought a former church and converted it into 49 Franklin, a reception hall and Mystic Theater at 49 Franklin St. in Rumford.
Grassette performs a magic trick for the show and a couple of local guitarists perform "Dark Eyes" at 49 Franklin's Kaleidoscope event.
Blampied said the response is building slowly on YouTube for the premier "Today River Valley" Fall 2012 edition.
He said the next show will be released Feb. 1, 2013.
Blampied said he wants to use "Today River Valley" as a brand he can expand into other markets filming segments in other Maine towns.
"I'm trying to bring community journalism into the video age," said Blampied.