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Tourism board pursues PBS Fishburne segment
Eller, Mandy.jpg
Eller

McMinnville’s Tourism Development Board is considering a public television segment with host Laurence Fishburne.

“These are short-form documentaries on PBS,” said Tourism Development Board administrator Mandy Eller in presenting information to board members. “PBS doesn’t do commercials. These would air as segments at the end of one show before another show comes on. It’s about five minutes long.” 

“Behind the Scenes” is an award-winning educational TV series highlighting the evolution of education, medicine, science, technology and industry through inspiring stories.

Eller says the show’s producers narrowed down 10 communities they would like to feature and McMinnville was selected. Estimated cost is $23,600 for production costs and up to $3,500 for travel expenses, for a combined $27,100.

“Some of the things we’ve talked about is our tourism assets,” said Eller. “We also talked about the Advanced Robotics Center. I’ve sent them a lot of our marketing collateral. We talked about various things like our rivers, Isha and Cumberland Caverns Live. They were really interested in Cumberland Caverns Live and maybe that’s how they heard about McMinnville.”

Once filmed, the show would air on PBS for one year with unlimited broadcasts and is shared with all PBS affiliates. The estimated reach is 60 million households. 

Board members met via Zoom to discuss an offer by the show’s producers to use Warren County in a segment. 

“We need to be careful,” said Mayor Ben Newman. “They seem to be the ones that dictate what they focus on. I think anything we talk about can be tourism related, if it gets people here, but we need to make sure that we stick with that.”

Katie Kemezis suggested the segment might encourage relocation of individuals and businesses into the community and that would fit into the definition of tourism development which is to attract tourists, visitors and other interested persons from outside the area. 

Newman agreed. 

Chad McGee muted himself from the meeting to watch a “Behind the Scenes” segment. 

“I just watched a couple that weren’t community specific,” he said. “It looks like it’s about a minute of him (Fishburne) talking and setting up the segment and about four minutes of video from the location. The ones that are on the website seem one-story focused. The community ones may not be, because I haven’t seen those.” 

Tourism Development Board members Kemezis, Newman, McGee and Christy Ross approved pursuing a contract with producers. TDB members approved an allocation not to exceed $30,000.