A new television station serving the Midcoast, with its own state-of-the-art studio in Rockport, plans to launch this fall featuring news from Courier Publications newspapers and VillageSoup online.

Local newspaper owner Reade Brower and partner Alan Hinsey have announced the formation of VStv, LLC.

VStv will provide daily local news, weather, sports and other locally produced programming, all with a primary focus in Knox and Waldo counties. The main VStv studio will be located at 266 Meadow St. in Rockport, with small newsroom satellite studios planned for Belfast (in The Republican Journal office) and Rockland (in The Courier-Gazette office).

“The Midcoast doesn’t have a broadcast-quality, locally-based commercial television station for its year-round residents and seasonal visitors," said Brower, who is also the owner of Courier Publications, the Free Press, and VillageSoup. "Because we are located between Portland and Bangor, we find ourselves at the center of a TV media market gap. With the exception of an occasional major news event or coverage of a festival or a rare human interest piece, the two primary TV markets in Maine do not cover our local stories, politics, sports or arts and entertainment.”

While VStv is a separate company, it will be produced in affiliation with the region’s leading news and community reporting outlets:

  • VillageSoup
  • The Courier-Gazette (Rockland)
  • The Camden Herald (Camden)
  • The Republican Journal (Belfast)

VStv will be dedicated to the unique needs of the Midcoast. Most of the programming will be produced at its own high-definition TV studio in Rockport.

"The VStv slogan is 'Real TV – Real Local,'” Hinsey said, “Real TV simply means that we are dedicated to providing the highest quality local news, weather, sports, politics, arts and culture, health and fitness, business and finance, talk, food and entertainment – and much more.”

“We are taking special care to emphasize that VStv is not a public access channel, and the quality of VStv’s content and production values will rival, if not exceed, that of the broadcast TV providers in the Portland and Bangor media markets," Brower said.

The programs

VStv will offer several daily programs (Monday – Friday):

VStv News & Weather – Morning and evening local news and weather for Knox and Waldo counties (plus Waldoboro) as well as a briefing on headlines from around the state and New England.

Above the Fold – A news follow-up featuring interviews and panel discussions with news makers, public officials, journalists and leaders from around the region. This program will attempt to drill down deeper into the major stories of our region by talking directly with the folks who are behind the headlines.

Sports Talk – A daily wrap-up of local and regional sports stories, scores, highlights and interviews with coaches, players and fans. Plus a sports roundtable complete with endless speculation and predictions by our local "experts."

Soup Du Jour – This is our daily serving of talk for the Midcoast. We’ll cover arts, entertainment, authors, human-interest stories, events, and fun interviews with the broad range of interesting, outstanding, hard-working, and sometimes quirky folks who make up this amazing place we call home.

VStv also plans to air a major regional sporting event as the “Game of the Week.”

VStv will also provide original weekly and bi-weekly programming for a wide range of topics, including business, personal finance, food, arts and entertainment, fitness, health and wellness, the working waterfront, and more.

“We plan to add one new locally-produced program to our VStv line-up each month during our first full year of operation,” Hinsey said.

VStv will be looking for program ideas from the community. “Send us your ideas," Hinsey said. "We know there are folks out there right now with terrific concepts for shows that might be a good fit for the VStv network. I can’t wait to hear all the creative pitches for the many original program ideas that I know are percolating out there right now.”

“We are truly blessed with a rich resource of expertise and talent throughout our region," Brower said. "I think VStv will only be limited by our own imaginations.”

Watch VStv anytime, anywhere

VStv will be available to viewers several ways:

It will be found on Time Warner Cable, Channel 88, a new channel available this fall. It will reach all of Knox and Waldo counties, plus several other counties outside our region. VStv will be available in more than 50,000 households.

It can also be accessed online for free at VStv.me and Knox.VillageSoup.com or Waldo.VillageSoup.com. Viewers will be able to watch VStv programs in progress via streaming video or select video on-demand and watch individual programs or program segments. Viewers will only have to register one time for this free VStv access.

VStv will be available on Smart TV. "We plan to have streaming video and video on-demand available via several Smart TV options this fall," Hinsey said.

VStv Apps will also be available for downloading to smartphones and tablets.

VStv offers many more ways to reach your customers

When all those viewing options become available, businesses throughout in the region, and from around the state, will have many more opportunities to reach their clients and potential customers. Opportunities to secure program sponsorships and 30-second and 15-second TV commercial ad buys will be available for every program on VStv.

“We think that the VStv network will provide businesses in the region with a new, exciting and very affordable way to promote their products and services," Brower said. "The staff at VStv will be able to work with you to develop engaging TV commercials, or we can refer you out to the many talented video producers and graphic designers in our region who will help you produce an effective ad.”

VStv is co-owned by Reade Brower and Alan Hinsey, with Hinsey also serving as the day-to-day station general manager. After moving to Maine in 1995, Hinsey served five years as the Director of Labor Standards for Gov. Angus King and he later worked as the economic development specialist for Knox and Waldo counties. In addition, for three years, Hinsey was the executive producer and host of “Mainebiz Sunday,” which aired every Sunday morning on Maine’s NBC affiliate stations, right after “Meet the Press.”

“There’s a lot to do between now and when we launch the station this fall," Hinsey said. "We are proud to say that we are already using many local contractors during this design and start-up phase – Harbor Digital, Post Office Editorial, VillageSoup technical staff, plus local carpenters, electricians, set designers, and many more.” Hinsey said.

VStv will also be hiring full-time and part-time staff and studio support crews. Hinsey said, “Soon we will be advertising for positions such as program directors, editors, technical engineers, camera operators, sales staff, not to mention on-air talent such as news anchors, weather staff, and hosts for our programs. We are looking for the best and brightest. Everyone should feel free to send me resumes and samples of your work.”

“This is an exciting and important project for our region,” Brower said.  “I’m proud to be associated with this next step in the further development of the news and media infrastructure for our dynamic corner of Maine."

For more information about VStv contact Alan Hinsey by email at alan@vstv.me.