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HBO Max documentary to feature local TV station

Updated June 24, 2021 - 9:08 pm

Emmy-winning filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato turn their focus to Pahrump in the six-part documentary series, “Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump.”

The series pulls back the curtain on life at a privately owned TV station in a small desert town, revealing a colorful cast of characters in front of and behind the cameras. “Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump” provides an entertaining glimpse into a scrappy, hardworking local news broadcaster looking to expand into a bigger market during challenging times.

With warmth and humor, the series celebrates the can-do spirit, community pride and political diversity among the station’s charismatic and often humorous employees.

“Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump” debuts with two back-to-back episodes at 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2, with new episodes airing back-to-back subsequent Mondays at the same time. The series will debut on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max.

Only 95 independently owned news stations still exist in the United States, and KPVM in Pahrump is one of them. Owned and operated by Vernon Van Winkle and his wife Ronda, a singer/songwriter, KPVM provides a look at what it takes to report the news in a small desert town. The documentary features the heart of Pahrump’s news gathering machine, including long-time news director Deanna, who, along with co-anchor Eunette and reporter Missey, produce and deliver the local nightly news with a small crew from and to the community. Missey’s husband, John, joins the team as KPVM’s weatherman and up-and-coming sales associate.

With ambitious goals to expand into the Las Vegas market, Vern and his small team take on daunting challenges – a new tower must be erected to provide a stronger broadcast signal, new ideas are needed to generate advertising revenue, and stories must broaden out beyond local interests. And in the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election, KPVM navigates the red-hot political environment and its own internal political leanings while striving to remain neutral and boost viewership.

But in an era of divisive politics, the series reveals a greater respect and camaraderie for those with different opinions than is typically portrayed in the national media. KPVM showcases people across the political spectrum, and a sense of community, civility, friendship and laughter prevails.

With a dose of humor and admiration, “Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump” focuses its lens on the microcosm of daily operations at KPVM, revealing a staff of idiosyncratic, larger-than-life individuals as they endeavor to deliver local news with care and vigor in an ever-shifting media landscape.

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