Michael A. Sawyers
CUMBERLAND — “Our Town — Cumberland,” which aired on Maryland Public Television on March 9, had a viewership of 37,000, according to an MPT vice president who called that audience astronomical.
“That viewership is nine times that for ‘Our Town — Chestertown’ and eight times that for ‘Our Town — Hagerstown,’ said Rick Lore on Thursday.
Lore said he attributes the large audience to articles in the Times-News and to the “general buzz” that developed as local residents filmed their town for the world to see.
“As far as a fundraiser, the donations (and requests for DVDs of the show) were 2.5 times the dollar amount for the best previous Our Town show,” Lore said. “Many of those were first-time contributors.”
The 68-minute show will air again in June, according to Lore, though that month’s schedule hasn’t been fine-tuned.
DVDs of the program are used by local economic developers to showcase Cumberland and the surrounding area to decision-makers in the business world.
Former Cumberland Councilwoman Mary Beth Pirolozzi, also the director of the United Way of Allegany County, said she sees the program as a great promotional piece.
“Friends of mine in Baltimore and Annapolis watched it and told me it made them want to come to Cumberland,” Pirolozzi said. “And you can’t overestimate the power of having Bill Macy plug his hometown,” she said of the Hollywood actor.
“Our downtown was shown perfectly with Heritage Days, Friday After Five, farmers market and the flowers in bloom,” Pirolozzi said.
Pete Elliott, also a former City Council member, said he spread the word about the show so as many people as possible could see it.
“I thought it was well-done. I’d probably have done some more interviews of the public on the mall, but I understand they are tapped for time,” Elliott said.
Lore called the production a terrific experience for MPT staff. “We feel like Cumberland is our second home,” he said.
Contact Michael A. Sawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.