Town considers paying for program
The town of Waxhaw could be the focus of a television show, depending on how much commissioners are willing to pay. The program Life in the Carolinas reached out to Waxhaw Mayor Daune Gardner, expressing their interest in featuring the town in a future show. The catch is that Waxhaw would have to foot part of the bill, which could range from $7,950 to almost $35,000.
Town commissioners voted to open negotiations with the program during their Tuesday, March 22 meeting, after going through the different options. “Life in the Carolinas” is a program that runs on various stations across North and South Carolina. Here in the Charlotte market, it airs on Time Warner Cable Channel 12 Saturdays at 5:30pm, with additional shows on Direct TV and other venues as well.
“(The show’s) interest was to be able to get something on the air before (the) summer travel season starts,” Gardner said. “It would promote tourism but also give us a tool for economic recruiting efforts.”
The town would have three options. The first includes a five minute segment, broadcast in all television markets where the show runs, with Waxhaw receiving 200 DVDs of the segment, which could be used for recruitment or promotional purposes. The total cost to the town would be $7950.
The second option would include a full 30 minute episode dedicated to Waxhaw, for the price of $19,800. For slightly over $13,000 more, the town would get a 30 minute episode, along with 300 extended play DVD copies, featuring content not shown on the program. The episode would also be rebroadcast throughout the year. Total cost of the third option for the town would be $34,700.
That’s a lot of money,” Waxhaw Mayor Pro Tem Martin Lane said, adding that he thought shows normally sold commercials to handle costs, rather than charge the towns featured in the program. “I don’t think it’s our role to pick up something like this.”
Waxhaw has an economic development budget of $25,000, according to town manager Michael McLaurin. Commissioners questioned how much of that should be spent on the show, with Gardner volunteering to ask for assistance in the community. Lane meanwhile argued the money could be spent elsewhere, pointing out the town had not moved forward with any of the economic development discussions mentioned during their October meetings with Partnership for Progress director Maurice Ewing.
“We’ve been talking about getting something started and nothing happens,” Commissioner Phillip Gregory said. “I think it’s time someone steps up.”
His comments were echoed by fellow commissioner Joyce Blythe, who said things like television programs bring people to Waxhaw and can be a good way to attract tourism.
The motion to open negotiations was approved 4 to 1, with Lane in opposition. The board didn’t commit any finances to the project and any final decisions will come after negotiations move forward.