Easthampton Media gets a new brand, logo

  • e.media, formerly Easthampton Media, has rebranded itself to be more inclusive of the communities it represents — Easthampton and Southampton. The organization began teasing its new logo on its channels on Friday. PHOTO COURTESY OF E.MEDIA

  • Jeff Mastroianni started in November as executive director at Easthampton Media. Photographed at the public access channel's studios in Eastworks on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton Media’s Executive Director Jeff Mastroianni pauses in the studio control room inside the public access channel’s offices in Eastworks in January. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 7/1/2022 5:38:53 PM
Modified: 7/1/2022 5:36:18 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Community media center and public access TV station Easthampton Media has rebranded itself as “e.media”.

Although the nonprofit organization is located in the Eastworks building in Easthampton, the entity serves both Easthampton and Southampton.

“Coming out of the pandemic, we decided that this was the time to start fresh, start new, and revamp our image,” said Jeff Mastroianni, executive director of the organization. “We thought it was appropriate because we do represent more than one town. We represent Southampton as well as Easthampton and shifting from being Easthampton Media to e.media will be more inclusive and make some folks a little happier.”

Although e.media will officially launch its new logo on Monday, viewers can now see the new look on Easthampton channels 191, 192 and 193 and Southampton channel 191. Though the organization is introducing a new logo and brand, it will continue to conduct business as Easthampton Media.

The new logo was designed by Brattleboro, Vermont web design firm MuseArts Inc. The firm will also help provide a “face-lift” to the e.media’s website, said Mastroianni.

“We’re not currently financially able to do a full website redesign, but we’re hoping to make some changes in the coming months to make content more accessible and to be able to communicate more effectively with the people in the community that we’re serving,” he said.

In consideration of the larger audience that e.media serves, Mastroianni said that the website is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act as it features smaller fonts and colors that might be challenging for those with impaired vision.

e.media also recently installed a new playback system, which is the machinery that broadcasts the station’s channels to the community. The $50,000 infrastructure allows e.media to stream its channels 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Mastroianni.

“By clicking at the top right corner of the website, clicking on whatever channel you prefer to stream, you click watch. Click on play and voila!” he said. “We think this was a really important step forward because a lot of people have gotten away from cable.”

With more people turning away from cable television and tuning into streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, the cost for community access to do business is going up, Mastroianni said.

Community access is funded by a percentage of local revenues from cable companies. Each municipality negotiates its own contract with the cable company.

State Sen. John C. Velis, D-Westfield, noted at the organization’s June 14 annual meeting that while cable cutting is having an effect on local access stations across the country, legislators in Boston are working on developing a fee for streaming companies. Velis said organizations like e.media are “on the frontlines of preserving our democracy” as they provide a local voice to tell local stories.

Russell honored

Also at the meeting, e.media introduced its first-ever producer of the year award to community producer Daniel Russell for his work around his show “Songwriter’s Spotlight.” Since 2018, Russell has been introducing musicians and songwriters to the community. In addition to interviewing his subjects, he has faithfully edited and produced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, said Ryan Arnold, production coordinator at e.media.

“I think it is 100% fitting that Dan be the first recipient as I think he exemplifies what public access is all about,” said Arnold.

In addition to streaming, e.media has recently launched closed captioning services for live broadcasts. The organization is looking at how to utilize the service in the most efficient way, said Mastroianni.

“We are actively looking for a sponsorship,” he said. “Although it’s something that’s a service that’s been requested, it is a very expensive service that adds to the bottom line.”

The service is costing e.media $3,500 for 500 hours of captioning in real time, he said.

To continue increasing these services as well as trainings, workshops and event coverage, Erica Ann Beaudry, president of the board of directors for Easthampton Media, has advocated for additional community support through donations. The organization also plans to hold a fundraising campaign in the coming months.

Those interested in becoming content creators through e.media can do so through an annual membership fee of $20 for Easthampton residents and $30 for nonresidents.

For more information, visit easthamptonmedia.org.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.
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