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Vermont Public Television

In the fall of 1988, following the completion of an extensive market research study, Vermont Public Television (then known as Vermont ETV) set out to identify strategic planning goals. Four major categories of goals were established: viewership, facilities, development and separation from the University of Vermont.

Within the viewership category, several project teams were initiated in December, 1988. One of them was established to analyze current station image, later termed identity.

The Total Identity Project (TIP) began meeting weekly the following month. After an initial survey of possible courses of action, it established the following goal:

In order to serve our viewers better, we intend to create and implement an identity statement that will be used to thoroughly, accurately and cohesively communicate Vermont ETV’s identity, especially those elements already in harmony with viewers’ perceptions of an ideal public television station. We define “identity” as the sum of all impressions of the station held by the audience.

As the project evolved, the team identified and accomplished the following strategies and tasks necessary to accomplish its goal:

Analyze market data

  • Define viewers’ current perceptions of Vermont ETV.
  • Define viewers’ image of an ideal public television station.

Analyze elements of current identity (ETV and competitors)

  • Program guide.
  • On-air promotion.
  • Advertising.
  • Membership and auction activities.
  • ITV guide and TLS tapes to be analyzed completely in future update.

Develop identity platform statement

  • Evaluate separate US/Canada strategies.
  • Develop models and draft identity platform planks.
  • Synthesize identity platform.
  • Develop identity aesthetics statement.
  • Present, test and adopt proposed platform and aesthetics.
  • Consult, as requested, with project managers.

Service implementation

  • Electronic media.
  • Program guide.
  • Station letterhead.
  • Advertising.
  • Other implementation as needed.

Evaluate project

The team’s final identity statement follows. It represents the team’s consensual, interdepartmental agreement about Vermont ETV’s current identity interlaced with suggested directions for refinement.

The statement was created to help each of us “thoroughly, accurately and cohesively communicate Vermont ETV’s identity.” Many of the ideas contained herein can be translated into media communications and customer relations. The team will also be available to consult, when requested, with any project manager who desires further discussion of these concepts.

By understanding these basic premises about our identity — the way we’re perceived by our viewers — we can go a long way toward unifying our communications and better matching the perceptions of our viewers.


This identity platform shall be used to thoroughly, accurately and cohesively communicate Vermont ETV’s identity to viewers throughout the region. By identity, we mean the sum of all impressions of the station held by the audience.

The statements are based on a variety of sources. Our primary research, conducted in July, 1988, by Reymer & Gersin Associates, Inc., was based on a random sample of Vermonters, and of Montrealers who live in predominantly English-speaking metropolitan communities. Remember, however, that the audience is always changing, during various times of day and over longer periods of time.

Other elements were based on secondary research, including information from the State of Vermont, Nielsen, Roper, PBS, NPR, PRIZM and the professional experience of the staff at Vermont ETV.

Identity Statement

Our primary service — our program schedule — is created to help our viewers cope with, improve, enrich and enjoy their lives.

In partnership with our viewers, we at Vermont ETV produce, acquire and broadcast programs that inform, educate and entertain, thus helping our viewers improve the quality of their lives.

Furthermore, we encourage an international sense of community by broadcasting alternative programs of high quality to viewers throughout the region. Our programs help viewers across Vermont, southern Quebec and bordering regions of New York and New Hampshire define who they are, what they believe in, and why they live here.

We select programs that will satisfy the diverse needs and distinct interests of our viewers.

Vermont ETV is the only community-supported television service based in Vermont to present the best television programs from many different genres all on one broadcast service.

Our programs enable viewers to experience new people, places and ideas and relate them to their daily lives. In doing so, we bring together those who seek to understand with those who already understand deeply.

Through our programming, we strive to analyze the important, complicated issues of the day. We are independent in our coverage of controversial issues. We entertain through programs that draw on the full range of emotion and mood, from the comic to the tragic. Our programs are important to our viewers, their families, friends and neighbors.

We serve students and their teachers through our classroom-oriented Instructional Television (ITV) service.

ITV is an integral part of our program schedule comprising one of every ten broadcast hours. Every school year, we depend on recommendations from Vermont teachers to select over 100 engaging series for broadcast during the ITV schedule. Then we publish an ITV guide and newsletter and offer workshops around the state to help teachers use these programs most effectively.

Teachers who are unable to receive a quality broadcast service, or who find the broadcast schedule inconvenient, can purchase videotapes, at cost, of many ITV programs through Vermont ETV’s Television Library Service (TLS)

We provide additional services to enhance the value of our programs.

Vermont ETV also provides services that enhance the value of programming, such as the station’s program guide, special events and community outreach.

The station staff is accessible to all people throughout the region and responds with integrity and courtesy to questions and comments.

As broadcasters, we’re responsible to the community.

As a trustee of the public interest, we meet, and strive to surpass, our regulatory obligations to fairness, equal time, equal opportunity and addressing community issues.

Although we are an over-the-air broadcast service, we also depend on community cable carriage for delivery to many homes in the region.

We seek to accomplish our mission through fiscally-responsible management. Since we are a non-commercial service, we depend on the community we serve for most of our income. Our managers strive to spend the public’s money in a well-planned, effective, and accountable manner.

We respect the human needs of our staff and volunteers. We seek to create an ethical environment that fosters high morale, creativity, efficiency, excellence, and professionalism.

Viewer Profile

Our viewers come from all walks of life.

Demographically, the viewers we sampled in Vermont and Montreal generally reflect the total population.

In Vermont, however, viewers are more likely to be:

  • female;
  • college educated;
  • white collar workers;
  • 2-11 years old; or 65+ years old.

They are less likely to be:

  • without a high school education; or
  • 12-34 years old.

In Montreal, viewers are more likely than Vermont viewers to be:

  • white-collar workers;
  • college educated; or
  • 18-49 years old.

Our viewers are people with diverse interests. Lifelong learning and personal growth are important to them. They seek meaningful experiences and are actively improving the quality of life for themselves and others.

Our viewers have high expectations for Vermont ETV.

Our viewers turn to Vermont ETV for stimulation, challenge and affirmation. They seek engaging programming that respects their intelligence and integrity. They expect their public television station to surpass the standards of social responsibility to which other broadcasters are held.

Our viewers care deeply about Vermont.

Our viewers in both Vermont and Montreal have a strong appreciation for Vermont’s character, beauty and way of life. These feelings about Vermont are transferred to Vermont ETV itself.

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