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Cache Vision

The Valley Channel opens a window into local the community

Published: Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Updated: Monday, August 9, 2010 14:08

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Photo by Jamie Crane

Earl Rouse, who started, owns and manages The Valley Channel television standard, sits at his desk with pictures of his staff behind him.

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Photo by Jamie Crane

The Valley Channel has been running local programming for Cache Valley for 15 years.

Does the local media shape the community's attitude or is the attitude of the community reflected through the media?

According to Earl Rouse, owner and manager of The Valley Channel, the answer is simply yes.

"Our job at The Valley Channel is to reflect to the community the same values and beliefs they hold," he said. "However, at the same time we have a part in shaping those same views."

The Valley Channel, Cache Valley's only broadcasting outlet, is found on channel three of cable television programming. He said the only other competition in the area is paid local commercial programming Rouse started several years ago when the cable company was still locally owned.

Rouse said the Valley Channel is fully funded and supported through advertising.

"The station isn't subsidized in any way," he said. "We don't receive any grants and we don't charge any subscriber fees. We rely solely on local advertising dollars."

He said the station began nearly 15 years ago as a channel airing classified ads with some original programming. Today the station airs Utah State University's hockey games and high school basketball games, as well as regular daily and weekly shows.

The station currently includes 10 employees and reaches all of Cache Valley and Southern Idaho.

"There are approximately 28,000 households in the valley," Rouse said, "but your guess is as good as mine as for how many viewers we actually have."

Rouse said while he used to be able to accurately estimate what demographics watch the channel most frequently, there is currently no way to determine who is tuning in. Likewise, he said he does not target any specific age range or gender with his programming.

He said residents of the area are more likely drawn to watch the channel when they see someone or something that is familiar to them.

"Our goal is simply to let the people of Cache Valley see their friends, neighbors and local businesses on television," Rouse said.

He said the station annually broadcasts the Big Air contest at Beaver Mountain, and every year ratings among 8-to-18-year-olds are "through the roof."

Rouse said he considers USU's students as much a part of the community as anyone else.

"I consider the channel to be a window to our community, and Utah State University is a part of that community," he said. "We want to be an open window to the university as well. Frankly, we haven't worked with USU as much as I think we should have."

Rouse said the station airs USU's hockey games at Eccles Ice Center, as well as other interviews with members and organizations within the university as called for.

He said The Valley Channel is unique as a broadcasting outlet because the production it incorporates is so minimal. He said the channel interviews and shows as if they were live, so time spent editing is not an issue for the station.

"We air the mistakes and the awkward pauses in conversation along with everything else," he said.

Cache Valley Today, hosted by Doug Smith and Tobey Roos, is one of the shows taped in this manner. Smith, who has co-hosted the show daily for over one year, said he enjoys some aspects of the job more than others.

"I watch everything on the channel except myself," he said. "I have a hard time because I'm so critical of everything I do."

While Smith might not watch himself on the hour-long show aired several times daily, it is apparent that many residents of the area do.

"I do get recognized pretty often," he said. "But most of the recognition is still at that level where they know me, but can't quite figure out where they know me from."

He said one of the more favorable parts of his job is the time spent with so many diverse members of the community.

"Being able to interact with everyone in the valley is my favorite part of the job," he said. "Plus, I keep up-to-date with what is going on in the area. On top of that, every once in a while I get into things for free."

Cache Valley is the main concern for those incorporated with The Valley Channel. Rouse said owning and managing the station is not just a career, it is his way of contributing good to the community.

"The way to make the world a better place is to start in your own neighborhood," Rouse said. "Cache Valley is my neighborhood."

-lexiek@cc.usu.edu

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