2023 Media Factory Highlights

We share our favorite memories of productions, events, and people from the past year.

Each year, we take a little time to reflect on the highlights of our year at the Media Factory. 2023 was full of interesting productions, fun events, and inspiring interactions with our community. 


Our production team shared reflections on both their production experiences and the convivial time behind the scenes. Field Producer Barb Pendl says, “Video recording the Vermont Youth Orchestra performances each year is lots of fun. Behind the scenes, our video crew shares laughter, stories, and expert tips.” 

Production Technician Oliver Bijur shares the sentiment, “It was a real joy to watch and listen to the show. I also got some really valuable camera operator experience and feel so grateful to be able to learn from such a talented and welcoming team!” 

Production Technician Rinz Sonam adds, “Doing VYO shoots are always so fun, and you always learn something new.”


Kate, Scott, Katie, and Kendra behind the scenes at VYO at the Flynn.

Image: Kate, Scott, Katie, and Kendra at the Flynn filming Vermont Youth Orchestra.


The Dragonboat Festival is another memorable experience for our production team. “It was a beautiful day, a good crew,and we had the time to put cameras everywhere to capture some interesting footage,” says Production Technician Wendy Erickson.

Assistant Production Manager Logan Chalmers agrees: “The energy and creativity each team brought, mixed together with our crew's creativity with equipment made my favorite video of the year.”

Vergennes Graduation

Image: Vergennes Union High School graduation - students in blue gowns and mortarboards stand on risers outdoors, a person in a white dress stands in front of them. 

Our graduation season is an all-hands-on-deck time, with what is an average month of production crammed into a week or so. Production Manager Adam Walker finds this inspiring: “The way that we all worked together last June to so beautifully meet the needs of our local high schools was truly impressive. I count our High School Graduation productions as the most memorable and satisfying experiences in my role.”

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This year was also full of interesting events and opportunities to engage with the larger community. Our Crowdsourced Toy Story premiere at Roxy Cinemas was a sold-out event, bringing together film teams, musicians, and friends and fans to watch the newest community film remake. Former intern and Production Technician Kate Florian reflects on the experience:  “Seeing people all across Vermont share their creativity in their recreations of Woody and Buzz was at times hilarious, others adorable, and just an all around fun evening.”


screening of Crowdsourced VT Toy Story at the Roxy

Burlington was host to the annual Alliance for Community Media - Northeast Conference, an opportunity to connect with our regional colleagues and learn new ideas. Co-director Seth Mobley says, “It was a pleasure to host our colleagues at the opening reception right here at the Media Factory where we enjoyed catching up with many old friends and meeting new partners in our industry. It was a very well attended and thought-provoking event, featuring sessions on free speech, media justice, inclusion, and civic engagement.”

In the summer, we launched a new video competition, Paws & Play: The Media Factory’s Pet Video Contest. Content Manager Patrick Heltz shares, “It was great to find a way for our human community to build and flex their filmmaking and storytelling skills while getting to show off our pet community.”

Staff also reflect on memorable moments in the TV studio, which had a big upgrade this year. For Jordan Butterfield a highlight was “diving into the back end of the studio control room and learning how it works.”


Rik Palieri filming Songwriter's Notebook in the Media Factory TV studio

Image: Rik Palieri filming Songwriter's Notebook in the Media Factory TV studio.

Former intern and Production Technician Kendra Barber shares, “The highlight of the year for me has to be getting four sixth graders, one of them being my son, into the TV studio to talk about their experiences starting middle school.” 

Coleman Cullinan had a remarkable experience early on: “On my second day training as a Production Technician, I met the incredible Rik Palieri as he waltzed into the Media Factory with two giant Polish goatskin bagpipes. The TV studio was filled with the most lovely of bellows, and I couldn't believe that I had found myself in such a creative and wholesome environment.”

This was also the first year of our paid internship program, in which six individuals worked with us over the year. Education Manager Ross Ransom worked closely with the interns, and says, “I witnessed remarkable individual growth as they honed their skills, undertaking projects close to their hearts and joining our team to support community media productions, events, and workshops. It was tremendously fulfilling to watch them embrace new challenges.” 

Ross, John, Kate, and Gin on the roof of Media Factory pointing at the radio antennae

Image: Ross, interns JohnRyan and Kate, and Gin on the roof of the Media Factory, pointing at the radio antennae.

And, notably, many highlights are interactions with our community of producers and radio programmers.

Distribution Coordinator Richard Gibbs noted the return of charismatic programmer Steve Milizia this fall, “It's great to hear that he is back doing radio.” 

Katie shared a special afternoon working with Hector Hill and his child, “They came in and spent the day at the Media Factory and made a whole sports podcast from start to finish. It was great to see members make a project in one day, and then make a plan to come back again to make more media!”

Logan also enjoyed time with young producer Luke McHenry, “He has slowly become one of our most regular producers here, and his passion for media making has no limits. It has been incredible to see Luke grow as a producer week to week, and I can't wait to see what new challenges or tips I can learn from him and others in the year ahead.”


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Shelagh Shapiro in the radio station

Image: Shelagh Shapiro in the 99.3FM radio studio

Media Factory Board Member Shelagh Shapiro ended her radio show, Write the Book, after a remarkable 15-year run (half of that time on WBTV-LP)! “We were so fortunate to broadcast Write the Book for local listeners,” says Co-Director Jess Wilson, “Shelagh is a wonderful interviewer, avid reader, and an accomplished  writer herself.”  Shelagh talked with over 500 authors during her show's run, including some big names like Barbara Kingslover and Ann Patchet. Make sure to explore the Write the Book archives!

Radio programmer Dan Ryan has two weekly shows, and Community Engagement Manager Gin Ferrara looks forward to seeing him each week. She  shares, “Seeing Dan is always a highlight — he is so passionate about music, and happy to share his enthusiasm with folks who stop by. And his shows are a good pick-me-up in the afternoon!”

Thank you for being part of our community this year! We are so appreciative of the individuals, organizations, and communities that we serve and support. Let’s make some great new memories together in 2024!


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