PICTURED: The Our Ventura TV crew, clockwise from bottom left: Sandra Siepak (host), Juan Mancera (cameraman), Michelle Hoover (director), Robin Sanford (assistant director), Christine Mary Ballestero (floor manager) and Monique Nowlin (host).
by Alicia Doyle
“People doing good things in Ventura County” is the theme of Our Ventura TV, an award-winning, weekly talk-show television series that features stories from nonprofits, community advocates, leaders, artists and organizations who contribute in some way to the Ventura County community.
Typically the show is taped at CAPS Media in Ventura. Due to social distancing rules imposed as a result of COVID-19, however, “all our programs are currently broadcasting remotely,” said TV host Sandra Siepak, who further noted that “we look forward to being back in the studio soon.”
The show is “extremely informative for the community,” said Siepak, adding that “we cover the whole gamut.”
“It really is a good show for the community to learn from and get facts about what’s going on, and how much is being contributed from other people,” she said. “We feature people doing great things for the community — that’s one of the best parts.”
Our Ventura TV shows are broadcast on Ventura Cable Channel 6 on Sundays at 2 p.m., Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and Saturdays at noon, as well as additional floating times. Every week there is a new show and each program is broadcast five times per week. Many of the studio talk show segments are about 15 minutes in length. Additionally, the show features music, theatre and other entertainment productions.
Recent shows have featured Eric Harrison, president and CEO of the United Way of Ventura County, who spoke with Siepak about the organization, including support of local veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the May 9 episode, “Pandemic Philanthropy in Ventura County,” Siepak speaks with Vanessa Bechtel of the Ventura County Community Foundation about local support during the coronavirus pandemic, including the distribution of the Ventura County Rapid Response Fund, as well as the importance of the 2020 census, which informs federal funding.
“Our Ventura TV is one of the places you can learn more about what’s going on locally,” said George Alger, the show’s executive producer. Alger started Our Ventura TV back in 2008, and started posting the shows online in 2010. All the shows since then are available for viewing on OurVentura.com.
Alger is also one of the hosts, and most recently interviewed Allison Adams, an award-winning artist who was featured on the segment “Setting A Good Artistic Example.” On the May 7 episode, Adams speaks with Alger about an award she received from Artists For A Better World International (Alger is the president of the organization), which recognizes artists for their work helping others and/or their community.
In January, the program celebrated a big milestone: 1,000 shows produced and aired. The work has continued, even during the pandemic. “In the past decade we’ve posted over 1,000 segments online and broadcast programs on Ventura Cable Channel 6,” said Alger, further noting that Our Ventura TV is primarily known for its studio talk-show segments, although additional productions occur outside the studio.
The production team includes behind-the-camera crewmembers who manage the lighting, audio and multi-camera set, as well as the pre- and post-production work to bring the interviews and other segments online and to local TV.
The key people who help make this effort possible include Michelle Hoover, the show’s director; MB Hanrahan and Monique Nowlin, program hosts; and Robin Sanford, Christine Mary Ballestero and Juan Mancera, who serve on the production team.
“We have a fantastic crew who are all about keeping things running efficiently,” said Hoover, noting that the TV series is sponsored by Nonprofit Fire, Skyworks Marketing and GWC Productions.
Additionally, the production team also creates video and TV productions for commercial messages and businesses in the community.
As far as the future is concerned, plans are underway to expand the TV programming for the community, Siepak said. Meanwhile, “it’s an honor to present discussions about many people doing good things in Ventura County on our program.”
Anyone who contributes to the theme of “People doing good things in Ventura County” and the surrounding area is eligible to be on the show. For more information, visit www.ourventura.com.