Producing a local television program is huge undertaking, that is why there are so few locally produced Alaskan TV shows. Hundreds of hours are expended to complete each show. It takes more than someone who is a skilled videographer; it takes an equally talented sound person, editor, writer, director, and producer for each program. If you can do all of the above and meet the deadlines for a weekly program, your name must be Paul Gray. "Exploring Alaska" with Paul Gray of Soldotna, is now in its third year and is broadcast statewide every Sunday on ABC. "To start with I was only looking at a one year run of the show, but I have had some great support from local sponsors and that's why we are in our third year now," said Gray after showing the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce a preview of an upcoming episode. The show focuses on the fire danger on the Kenai Peninsula due to the dead trees caused by the Spruce Bark Beetle infestation. "I've done the majority of the shows from the Kenai Peninsula because it has such a diversified area and by broadcasting it to all Alaska on the ABC super station, cable, and ratnet, it has increased awareness of the Peninsula among Alaskans in Juneau, Fairbanks, and Anchorage," added Gray.
The program on the Peninsula fire danger is scheduled to air in about a month and will be run again during the summer tourist season. "We've sent the first edit down to Washington D.C. to show how the Borough is dealing with the fire danger that has been created by over 1.4 million acres of dead trees." According to Gray, such a fuel load precludes the traditional means of cutting firebreaks to stop wildfire. Experts say if a wildfire broke out the embers could fly for a quarter mile or more. So the Borough is focusing on clearing the right of ways as escape routes should there be a fire.
As for future episodes of "Exploring Alaska," Paul plans on featuring the Special Olympics, snow boarding, ski-jouring, in different parts of Alaska and episodes that will show Alaskans what is happening in various areas of the state. The program airs Sundays at 3:00pm on ABC.
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