Creative team continues evolution of Fayette TV
Fayette TV, a county television station that provides local programming to more than 22,000 households in the area, began as something else entirely: a local event planning and announcer service.
“I feel we've really evolved from a group of high school guys who paired with local bands to put on a show at weddings,” said David Slusarick, the creative director and television team leader at Coordinated 360. “It's amazing that the same group of friends who started this have stuck around to build this company.”
Coordinated 360 was founded by its president and CEO, Matthew Dowling, 28, of Uniontown, in 2000. For more than a decade, it has been one of the premiere local entertainment providers in Fayette County.
“Since the very beginning, our mission at Coordinated 360 has been a community-oriented one,” said Kenneth Hager, director of operations and entertainment team leader.
Almost two years ago, Coordinated 360 was contracted by The Redstone Foundation to create the channel, which broadcasts primarily in Fayette County on Atlantic Broadband, as well as on a 24-hour online stream.
The Redstone Foundation, a nonprofit branch of the Fayette Chamber of Commerce, turned to Coordinated 360 because of its excellence in videography and entertainment at events throughout the years.
“There was a void in television access to community-oriented programs, and we wanted to be a part of filling it,” said Slusarick, who has a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism, as well as a master's degree in higher education administration. “Fayette TV was a welcome endeavor for me, because I get to use both of my degrees in the creative process.”
In addition to local household viewing, the channel broadcasts around the clock at various high-traffic community locations, such as the Uniontown YMCA.
Fayette TV focuses on four major areas: education, health, tourism and government. The group's efforts recently were featured in nationally published Gladys Magazine.
One of its major programs, a monthly series titled “Inside the Y,” focuses on the ongoing and upcoming events at the YMCA.
Fayette TV also works with the Private Industry Council to broadcast “PIC Connection,” providing locals access to updates from local organizations such as Head Start and Fayette Career Link. Churches are welcome to broadcast their services, as well.
“One of our best productions is ‘Going Live with FCTV,' ” Slusarick said. “The Albert Gallatin Student Communications Program, under the direction of D. Eric Nuttall, creates new episodes for us twice each month.”
“Going Live” broadcasts at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. every Friday and Sunday, and showcases local artists, entertainment, authors, bands, businesses and community events that bring something unique to the area.
“It's our prime-time, variety-style talk show,” Slusarick said. “It gives the Albert Gallatin students practical experience working in a television studio. They're trained in every position, including sound and camera engineering.”
The show always opens or closes with some form of entertainment and occasionally features demonstrations, such as gardening and leatherwork. Recently, Mario Porreca, local author, food personality and co-host of “Just Cook It” radio on WMBS, filmed a cooking segment for the show.
“My favorite segment featured our guests from 2 Js Yoga Studio,” Slusarick said. “I was their guinea pig for the day. The only thing I haven't done on ‘Going Live' is get a tattoo, but it will probably happen at some point.”
Fayette TV can develop one-time programming, such as infomercials and promotional spots, for local businesses. They occasionally partner with Uniontown Hospital to broadcast Getting Better forums. They broadcast a wide range of local annual events, such as the Uniontown Halloween and May Day parades, as well.
Other recent programming included their broadcasts of many local sporting events. Penn State Fayette aired all of its basketball tournament coverage through the station. The Red Raider basketball boosters broadcast the Uniontown High School home games last fall.
“We are very open and excited to work with local schools,” Slusarick said. “Fayette TV is the community's station, so it's important for us to get out among the people and share what's important to them.”
Slusarick hopes that tourism programming will escalate.
“We don't have a full appreciation of what's in our own backyard,” Slusarick said. “It's our job to help raise awareness about the area's natural and historical assets. Fayette County is a special place in a lot of ways. Going behind the scenes at Fayette TV, I'm fortunate enough to get to see things most people don't.”
Slusarick not only runs daily operations at the station, but he helped develop the program “Mission Field: Fayette County.” Based on an idea Slusarick once had for a novel, the program “celebrates the unsung heroes in our community.”
“Through ‘Mission Field,' we seek to tell stories of local people who feel it's their calling to serve this area,” Slusarick said. “These people are administrators, colleagues, neighbors.”
Funded by Kezmarsky Funeral Home, the documentary miniseries features different extraordinary citizens and testimonials from people who were inspired by the individual's work.
“They're humble people who do amazing things,” Slusarick said. “Our whole crew was impacted by their stories. That was an incredible filming experience for us at Fayette TV.”
In addition to more original programming, special on-location episodes of “Going Live” are set to air soon. Filmed at Seton Hill University, the program covers the “In Your Write Mind” conference.
On working for Coordinated 360, a company with two different endeavors, Slusarick said he enjoys having creative control in such an unusual outlet.
“What's special about this company is that we believe in what we're doing. I see the potential and know the value of what we have here. It's a way for us to meet our neighbors and say thanks,” Slusarick said. “I love putting an idea into motion. I love having the ability to possibly inspire or change someone in the process. I'm very grateful to work with risk takers that encourage creativity.”
“In this industry, the hallmark of what we are is our attention to detail,” Slusarick said. “But sometimes, you need to take a leap of faith.”
Kaylie Harper is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.