When SkyBest Communications was looking for produced content for its local channel SkyZhone HD on SkyBest TV, they kept their scope in the region by partnering with Jefferson-based production company Germain Media.
“SkyBest wanted to highlight local features in each of the five counties they cover,” Scott Ballard, on-air host and public relations director for Germain Media said. “That’s how the ‘Visions of…’ series started.”
The self-proclaimed “story hunters” at Germain Media include Ballard, founder Kelley St. Germain and web-developer and sound engineer Tristan Ham.
“SkyBest has shown enough faith and trust in us to let us follow our journalistic noses as to what stories need to be uncovered,” Ballard said.
“Visions of Ashe County” was the first series produced, and episodes covered topics of historical value from old time music to moonshine.
Germain calls uncovering local stories a privilege, especially when speaking to older members of the community.
“Some of the people we talk to aren’t going to be here very much longer, and the world that they grew up in is unfathomable to young people today,” St. Germain said.
Ballard sees sharing these local histories as vital and rewarding work.
“Everybody has a story, and there are so many good things and good people that came before us,” he said. “I hope that viewers can gain a greater sense of pride in their own communities.”
While filming and producing the “Visions of Ashe” episode on old time music, Ballard and St. Germain saw first hand how the legacy of local history in alive and well.
“We saw music running in families in Ashe, from the 1890s to today,” St. Germain said. “And the amazing thing was that so many people didn’t even realize that they shared ‘musical genes’ in common with their ancestors, and they were threads in this tapestry that goes back hundreds of years.”
The new series has already gained accolades; Germain Media received the Paul Green Multimedia Award for the “Moonshine” episode of “Visions of Ashe” and was nominated by the North Carolina Family Film Festival for the “Visions of Alleghany” episode “Back When.”
“It’s humbling that people have welcomed us into their homes and lives,” Ballard said.
Local viewers will be able to experience Germain Media’s work in their homes on Friday, Feb. 14 when SkyBest TV will air the “Visions of Ashe” series on SkyZhone HD Channels 1 and 801. The series will begin at 8 p.m. with the Moonshine episode.
SkyZhone HD is the local TV channel found exclusively on SkyBest TV featuring local high school and youth league sports, community event coverage and unique original content like the Visions of Ashe series. SkyBest TV is available only via SkyLine’s fiber-optic network.
“We’ve been blessed with opportunity and people have really responded to our work,” St. Germain said. “We’re very appreciative to SkyLine for caring about the communities that it serves.”
St. Germain said his company, which offers full service website development in addition to film production, has grown in leaps and bounds since its early days when he filmed using a hand-held flip camera.
“During the past two years we have been building the team and adding the equipment necessary to become an innovative and award winning film and TV production team,” St. Germain said. “Our goals are to entertain and inform our audiences, and to let our passion for this work shine through.”
To view film clips, or for more information on Germain Media, visit www.germainmedia.com. Information on SkyBest TV can be found at www.skybesttv.com.
Christina Day can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @CDayinWJ