By Angie Mayes
Special to Mt. Juliet News
Viewers can currently find Wilson County Television’s education and government channel on AT&T channel 99.
“We will also be streaming live on the county’s website [by the end of the week],” said Wilson County Television manager Tressa Bush. “Our main focus is for our folks in Wilson County to know as much as possible about what’s going on.
The channel will broadcast live county commission meetings and will play recorded education committee and budget committee meetings.
“Later on, down the road, we hope to work with the city of Mt. Juliet, which already broadcasts their meetings live, and the city of Lebanon, which broadcasts their meetings live, to get to play them live or recorded,” Bush said. “We also hope to work with the Wilson County Board of Education and possibly the Lebanon Special School District Board of Education and get recordings of their meetings.”
She said the “main thing is to get the meetings and let the public know what’s going on, because a lot of folks can’t come to those meetings because of their schedule, they’re immobile or whatever the case might be.”
In addition to meetings, the channel plans to produce local programs, including one called “Talking with Tatum,” with Judge Barry Tatum. It will be a sit-down talk show with a variety of guests, Bush said.
“We’re also going to be working with our tourism director, Amy Nichols,” Bush said. “She’s doing a web series that we’re going to put on the channel called ‘WilCo on the Go.’ It recently won an award from the Greater Nashville Regional Council for tourism initiatives.”
Bush said she also plans to air a program called, “’Walking through Wilson,’ where we will have a variety of hosts to talk about interesting places that you can see here in Wilson County. [Also,] Valerie’s Kitchen, a lady named Valerie Edwards has a kitchen at her home, so we’re going to do some cooking and canning shows with her.”
When original programming isn’t shown, other public education and government programming that people have uploaded across the U.S. will be included on the channel, Bush said.
“I think our viewers will enjoy some of that,” she said. “There will videos about boating, fishing, cooking travel and things like that. We’re also going to be working with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. They are going to be giving us some of their programming. We want it to be educational, as well as informational, because that is our main focus, to keep folks informed of what’s going on in Wilson County.”
Wilson County Television will also show short videos that feature former Wilson County resident Chuck Denney, who currently works with the University of Tennessee Agricultural Institute in Knoxville. Viewers will recognize him from Saturday morning programming on WTVF, NewsChannel 5, in Nashville.
As part of his job, he works with the University of Tennessee agricultural Extension agents across the state. Bush said he was excited when she asked him to be a part of Wilson County Television.
“He’s going to be a guest on ‘Talking with Tatum’ very soon,” she said.
Bush said not everyone across the county will get Wilson County Television at this time. Since the county offices are in Lebanon, the cable companies in Lebanon will service it. There are two, she said, AT&T and Charter.
They do not have a signed contract to broadcast on Charter, but Bush said she’s in talks about the issue. Those with AT&T across the county will get Wilson County Television on channel 99.
“We’re going to do it like an on-demand channel,” she said. “When you go to channel 99, you’re going to see a screen come up, and you’ll get to pick which public education and government channel you want, so we know we’ll get a good amount of people [who want to view the programs].”
She said with Charter, “we are hoping to take over the city of Lebanon’s Charter channel 198. There are still some papers that have to be worked out, but they have agreed in principal, as have we, to make that transfer. They will still do theirs live. It will be live with us. Nothing will change, except we’ll have more programming.”
She said Lebanon hasn’t been able to fill its channel with programming, because it doesn’t have the dedicated personnel to do it.
High school students also work with Bush to film the various meetings. Bush said she met Wilson Central High School student Kyle Pulley while they were both in a play in Wilson County. They started to talk about videos, and he invited her to see the TV production work the students at Wilson Central were doing. She currently has nine paid student interns. Six are from Wilson Central, and three are from Mt. Juliet High School.
“We will also welcome and look for more as we go, because the seniors will graduate,” she said. “They’ve been a very integral part of this channel, and they will always be.”
Wilson County Television is only available on cable, not satellite companies such as DirecTV and Dish.
“Unfortunately [satellite viewers] will not be able to get the channel,” she said “However, we’re going to take care of those people, because it will be available streaming live on the wilsoncountytn.gov website. So, they will be able to see it that way.”