Catching Up with the Wes-TEN, Weston’s Top-Rated News Show

The Wes-TEN, Weston’s top-rated* news show, celebrates its 25th show with the release of Wes-TEN at the Pawscars – The Wes-TEN goes to the Dogs. The brainchild of Alanna Muldoon of the Weston Media Center, the Wes-TEN show came into being in the fall of 2019, and quickly took on some of the town’s touchiest topics, such as edamame, the town’s most excellent tree, and curbgate.

Edamame and a brown sweater: unless you were at Town Meeting in November 2019, you have no idea what we’re talking about.

Until March 2020, the Wes-TEN was filmed in the Weston Media Center studio at the Weston Art and Innovation Center. With the closure of the inside space due to Covid, the Wes-TEN was forced to move outside, which has created its own opportunities and challenges.

Alanna Muldoon, film editor extraordinaire, working with one of the interns and a cameo guest for the show

“At the start of the lockdown, it was all kind of new and fun to try to film outside,” says Kristin Barbieri, the show’s incredibly under-trained producer. “For a show that starts every week with the line of “Weston’s most exciting people, places and events, between two pines, we went to quite literally filming between two pines.”

Between two pines, the open-air studio

“We had the Quaran-TEN and filmed our own animals from closets, and our kids in the kitchen, and somehow made a show. But we also had shows with major sound issues — because we were on iphones and not with any serious equipment.”

“I use a teleprompter program on an ipad that the intern holds up near the camera, and there are often reflections or the ipad dies in the middle, or the sun is in my eyes,” said Alyson Muzila, the show’s anchor and co-writer. “I guess it’s all part of the show’s charm.

The show that focused on conservation titan Brian Donahue also suffered from a camera meltdown and was filmed half on iphone. Remote shoots with multiple cell phones mean that Alanna spends a lot more time splicing together segments that are filmed around yards, fields, and forests. A show that was once filmed twice a month takes a month or more to put together. One show used a “Bee Cam” which was a cell phone duct-taped to a remote control car and driven by a mad teenager. Editing gets exciting.

Alyson with FD Chief Soar, December 2020

Alyson admits some great moments come from these difficulties–“one of my favorite shows was interviewing Fire Chief Soar in front of two glorious red fire trucks. You just can’t bring huge trucks into the studio, and those are just cool.” The community has also been supportive of requests for anything from giant scissors for the opening of the Legacy Trail to a Renaissance dress for the Wes-saissance show to video clips of kids having fun during the quarantine. The Wes-TEN logo was made by a local graphic designer: it’s all local, all the time.

The Wes-saissance Show – or “curbgate” depending on your feelings about it. Dress by Julia Brown, Weston resident.

“It’s our fondest hope that our viewers find something valuable, or at least a fun diversion, in every show,” says Kristin. “We’ve interviewed high school, middle school and elementary students, we’ve played catch with K9 Knox, and learned about pollinators and town history. We can’t cover daily news, but we hope to cover news in a way that you feel you’re in on the joke and on the news.”

“We also find that a small idea on one show grows to be its own show–Dan Foote on the drums became Dan’s World. The interview with ACO Karen O’Reily made us realize that we needed to include the great information about what to do about baby animals and coyotes and other animals to its own standalone show,” said Alyson. “We’ll be releasing that show this weekend.”

Wes-TEN 25 was released today and you can tune in on Verizon Channel 41 & 45  –  Comcast Channel 8 & 9  or by direct link here.

One of the first shows: between two pines. More cowbell.

*since there are no other news shows in Weston, by default the Wes-TEN is top-rated. And also, we suppose, lowest-rated. Please also note that the Owl is the producer of the Wes-TEN.

Leave a Reply