University of Vermont



Going to be on ATF?

Planning an appearance on the longest-running daily farm and home television program in the country:

Overview

Across the Fence is a daily, 15-minute television program produced by University of Vermont Extension and the Vermont Agricultural Experiment Station. The program airs weekdays at 12:10 p.m. on WCAX-TV, Channel 3. The majority of programs are videotaped in the studio, in advance of airing, with a studio host. Some programs or program segments are videotaped on-location.

The daily Across the Fence audience is approximately 25,000 viewers, ages 45+, across Vermont, northern New York, western New Hampshire and southern Quebec. “Across the Fence” covers a wide range of issues and topics; however, its primary goal is to inform viewers about activities being conducted by University of Vermont faculty, staff and students that benefit viewers and their communities.

Contacting Across the Fence

Across the Fence can be contacted by e-mail at atfence@uvm.edu, by phone at 1-888-283-3430, by fax at (802) 656-8642, or by mail at 23 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington VT 05401-3323. Draft scripts and visual support material can also be sent as e-mail attachments.

Things to keep in mind during the planning phase
  • Determine your objectives.  Establish what you want the audience to know and do as the result of your message.
  • Keep all details relevant to your objectives. Anything that does not bear directly on the point being made can be distracting and may reduce learning.
  • Immerse yourself in content. Know exactly what you want to accomplish and how you are going to express yourself.
  • Identify with your audience. The audience must recognize a personal message in the subject you present, so your message should have appeal and interest.
  • Identify visual support material. Television is a visual medium. You will need some type of visual support for your program (videotape, pictures, slides, PowerPoint slides, videfonts, etc.). Props can also be used.
  • If your program will be shot on-location or includes a video segment produced by “Across the Fence,” this aspect needs to be discussed during the initial planning phase.
Timeline for preparation
    • Four-six months before you would like your program to air, contact producer Will Mikell to discuss the proposed content and potential taping date(s).

To submit a show topic or suggestion to Across the Fence, please click here.

  • One month before your program is taped, prepare the script. You will need to draft interview questions and answers, as directed by the producer. Your questions should address who, what, where, when, why, and how. Watching “Across the Fence,” or viewing a sample script, may assist you in developing your program. Your draft script will need to include proper spellings of guests’ names and titles, and a suggested introduction to your program. It should be reviewed by everyone appearing on the show and then sent to Will.
  • One week before your taping date, provide visual support material to Will. This can include videotapes, pictures, slides, PowerPoint slides, text for videfonts, etc. Props should be brought to the studio on the day of the taping.
  • On the day of the taping, generally, your time commitment is from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. at the WCAX-TV studio, located on Joy Drive in South Burlington. From Shelburne Road (U.S. Route 7) in South Burlington, take Swift Street to Farrell Street. From Farrell Street turn right onto Joy Drive; WCAX-TV is the second right. Their phone number is 802-652-6300.
During the show
  • Smile when the host introduces you and thanks you at the end of the program.
  • Think of the program as a conversation. Talk with the host; ignore the cameras.
  • If you have visuals to narrate, you will be able to see them during the taping on a nearby television monitor.
  • The host will be aware of the time remaining and may speed up the questions and responses or ask additional questions that you have provided, if necessary.
Closing thoughts

Some nervousness before a TV appearance is normal! Use the following tips to transform your nervous energy into positive energy:

  • Ask questions if you are unsure about any detail.
  • Become familiar with the program by watching it regularly before your taping.
  • Before your show, you may make arrangements to visit the TV studio to observe a taping.
  • Practice makes perfect! Several days before your taping, have someone read the host’s portion of the script and rehearse until you feel relaxed about your comments and timing. Do not memorize or read your script; instead, refer to it to make sure you highlight your most important points. Developing ‘bullet points’ for your answers is recommended.
  • Appearance is important; neat hair and clothing are essential. In general, solid colors are best for television. Please avoid shirts, suits, blouses or dresses with thin stripes. Women may use their regular make-up. Heavy jewelry, especially around the neck, is not recommended.
  • When you arrive at the studio, familiarize yourself with the set and program host. Ask questions!
  • Remember, you’re on the program because you have important information to share with the viewers – and the viewers are watching because they want to learn what you have to share. Be confident!
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