Emily Miner: Keep the Cameras Rolling
So you want to be on television? Emily Miner is the person to know. Emily, who grew up in Deep River, where she still lives, is the public access coordinator at Valley Shore Community Television (VSCTV), which produces public service community television for nine towns, Essex, Deep River, Chester, Durham, Haddam, Killingworth, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, and Clinton. The programs can be seen on Channel 19.
Emily does it all.
She schedules events, works with presenters, manages equipment, runs the cameras, and is in charge of the technology to get the programs on the air.
Community television means just what it says, a channel devoted not simply to presenting programs about the community but by community members. If a person has an idea for a program, Emily says, the procedure is to contact the station, come in and talk with the staff. A person may have an idea for a single program or an ongoing series, often on a monthly schedule.
“Anyone can come here and sit down with us,” Emily says. “We will help with graphics, give them access, help them learn the technology.”
The station has no advertising. It is financed by a small monthly charge on cable bills. That, according to Emily, has become something of a problem. As people leave cable subscriptions and go to streaming services, the amount of money for community television decreases.
The current wide selection of VSCTV programs includes shows on arts and entertainment, local and state government, veterans’ affairs, and sports. All the programming is also on VSCTV’s website. The website has community announcements and a program schedule as well.
The station also televises public meetings and creates features on local events and human-interest stories, among them annual favorites like the Deep River Muster.
“I love doing community stories, being out in the field. There’s always something going on in one of the towns, something new to me,” Emily says.
Since the VSCTV shows are all done on videotape, Emily adds, they can be edited before being put on the air.
VSCTV encourages volunteers who help regularly with putting on programs and, in the process, learn about the technical side of television production. The station has some 50 volunteers as well as two other full-time employees. Emily herself volunteered at VSCTV as a high school student to learn as much as she could about the business.
“Look at me, I started as a volunteer, and now I am the manager,” she says.
At Valley Regional High School, from where Emily graduated in 2018, she worked with Valley TV, a club designed to give students hands-on experience in all aspects of television production. The group made videos of sports events, concerts, and other school activities.
“I’ve been creative since childhood, drawing since I was a little one, but my creative touch really blossomed there in high school,” she says.
Emily took what she had learned in high school and majored in digital media production at Middlesex Community College. It took her three years rather than two to graduate because of the complications created by COVID-19. During that period, Emily also created her own media company, Miner Media LLC, which did video work for Paulson Training Programs in Chester.
While volunteering at VSCTV through high school and community college, Emily also worked part-time in the aviation department of Whelan Engineering in Chester.
“It was my first job, a great place to work. I loved the people, and I was treated well,” she says.
Emily took over the position at VSCTV in March of this year from Chris Morgan, who had been with VSCTV for 10 years. Morgan, now at another media organization, still works part-time at VSCTV and is on the board of directors. Emily emphasizes her gratitude to Morgan “for teaching me how to run the station” and to Executive Director Chuck Lewis, still at the station, who, with Morgan, started VSCTV in 2013.
In her free time, Emily’s interest is in the arts. She paints, draws, writes, and does photography. She is not sure of how her career will progress, but she is sure it will always be in media.
“I love the technical, the creative, and I am always learning something new,” she says. “It’s amazing to be in a field that you’re passionate about; not everyone gets to do that.”