‘Albert Lea Matters’ premiers

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 4, 1999

Albert Lea is going prime time.

Monday, October 04, 1999

Albert Lea is going prime time.

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With the debut of a new public television program at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce President Stephanie Brand said she’s hoping to help raise awareness inside and out of the county.

Brand, along with Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jim Pilgrim, will co-host the 30-minute, weekly program, &uot;Albert Lea Matters.&uot;

Brand said the show originated with an effort to raise awareness of local happenings about two years ago.

&uot;We had talked about how to get the word out,&uot; she said.

At the time, the Chamber was hoping to join forces with an Albert Lea High School television production class.

While that didn’t happen, Brand said the Chamber was soon contacted by Austin’s KSMQ-TV. They wanted to produce a show to focus on Albert Lea.

With that, the Chamber and CVB went to work.

Starting Wednesday, the weekly show will feature two or three segments focusing on the local community.

The first segment each week will be a panel discussion among four to five members discussing a variety of issues. Brand said the goal is to create a community dialogue of sorts.

&uot;That’s one of KSMQ’s big things,&uot; she said.

Wednesday’s debut will feature a discussion of the local workforce, including how to address shortages and finding solutions to problems. Future panels will discuss issues such as the new Albert Lea High School, agriculture, the housing shortage and lake restoration.

The second part of the show will feature a Freeborn County attraction, whether a person or a place.

The start-up show will have Pilgrim talking with local writer Al Batt. The humorist will discuss how he started writing captions for cartoons in newspapers across the nation.

&uot;It’s a great way to let people get to know the area,&uot; Pilgrim said of talking with Freeborn County residents on the new television program.

Future episodes will feature Bev Jackson of the Freeborn County Historical Society; Bidney Bergie, a local photographer and historian; and Paul Williams, a ceramics instructor.

&uot;We’re just trying to find interesting, unique people,&uot; he said. &uot;Everyone has a story to tell.&uot;

Given time, Brand said each episode might also include a commentary from a selected local official.

She said that segment might not be finalized for the show’s first episode.

While Brand said the program will be aimed at local residents, she said she’s also hoping it will get other area viewers interested in Albert Lea and Freeborn County.

&uot;We hope outside people will watch too and find out about us,&uot; she said.