Vail Resorts’ TV8: 20 years of local television
VAIL, Colorado – When Vail Resorts started its own television station the company was still Vail Associates, the studio was in the old Sunbird Lodge and Vail was still basking in the glow of the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships.TV8 is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Staffers at the station recently took some time to answer a few questions about the station’s past, present and future.Vail Daily: TV8 started in the old Sunbird Lodge with a fairly rudimentary connection to the local cable network. What’s the biggest upgrade the station has made over the years?TV8: We have graduated from tape to digital video and now have high-definition acquisition and production capabilities. Our editing equipment is state of the art, which allows us to edit and deliver in any of the most current formats. Currently, we are digital, and that will help lay the foundation for the next five years of growth. We also have invested in the technology to provide the TV8 signal to many hotels in Lionshead and Vail Village, as well as cable subscribers in Eagle and Gypsum. Vail Daily: TV8’s mission to keep resort guests informed and entertained hasn’t really changed over the years, but how has it evolved? TV8: How we get our information has evolved. There are so many ways to get data now – the Internet, Web cams, our relationships with mountain operations at both resorts. We also have relationships with the Colorado Department of Transportation for continuous road updates; we use a variety of sources for our local weather updates. We also have our own “street team,” a pool of professional staff and knowledgeable hosts who deliver local, resort, event, weather and grooming information. Familiarity with local businesses, recommending area restaurants, letting the viewer know how to prepare for the day outside is something our hosts do naturally since they get out there themselves. We work very closely with most nonprofits throughout the valley as well as event and entertainment promoters to give our viewers options for how to “Start their Day & Plan their Play, and as the “Official TV Station of Vail and Beaver Creek” we are the only local station with access to the resorts. Vail Daily: You’ve recently moved. How hard is it to move a TV studio, and what will viewers see with the change? TV8: It is incredibly hard and time consuming. It’s not like you can just unplug everything, move it and turn it back on. The coordination between Vail Resorts, the town of Avon, Comcast and CenturyLink was probably the greatest challenge. All of which have worked very hard to make sure that TV8 gets back on air as soon as possible. The new space in the Seasons at Avon is much bigger and includes a raised floor in the master control room with literally miles of cables running under the floor tiles connecting all the equipment. Barbizon is designing the professional lighting grid in the studio. We have a brand new gourmet kitchen that we coordinated with Thurston Kitchen and Bath including a Wolf gas range, Subzero refrigerator, and all the bells and whistles the chefs will love. We are looking forward to an outdoor grill and set to arrive soon offering gorgeous views of Beaver Creek. Vail Daily: Your market is fairly limited. How does a business like yours grow in this kind of environment? TV8: We strive for viewer loyalty, client trust and good relationships with our advertisers as well as thinking outside the box to develop new creative programming that educates and entertains our viewers. Viewers have come to rely on us to consistently deliver information accurately every day. Television has historically been our only outlet, and we are aggressively evaluating additional distribution models. Vail Daily: What can viewers expect from TV8 for the coming season and the future? TV8: We are researching and looking forward to more live remote opportunities throughout the Vail Valley. We also will provide an upgraded signal to the Beaver Creek and Avon areas. We have also been experimenting with TV8 online. When it’s perfected our viewers will be able to watch any of our shows anywhere in the world online. Going into high season, viewers will see more timely, valuable data – grooming reports, road reports, weather reports. Vail Daily: Do you have plans for downvalley viewers? TV8: We’ve been delivering a signal to the CenturyLink cable system for the past several years. As part of our upgrade, their signal quality will improve as well. Many of our residents have satellite and wonder how to get TV8. Satellite is currently cost-prohibitive to deliver on that platform, and we are always looking for solutions. Remember, though – we’re on the Web!