RootsJam a GrassRoots hit |

RootsJam a GrassRoots hit

Aspen Times Staff Report

RootsJam ’99 was a huge success for GrassRoots Television on many fronts, according to Sean Sunkel, the station’s manager and executive producer of RootsJam.

The fund-raiser, held Saturday at the Wheeler Opera House, generated more than the goal of $20,000 for the station, though the final numbers aren’t in, Sunkel said.

“It’s hard, in a position like mine, to gauge public support,” Sunkel said. “But if there is such a gauge, RootsJam ’99 was that, and it was high on that gauge.

“A lot of the feedback that I’ve been getting from people who attended was that there was an overwhelming sense of community present, especially when Bobby Mason took the stage,” Sunkel said.

The event was broadcast live Saturday night on both GrassRoots TV (channel 12) and The Aspen Channel (channel 16), which was an achievement in itself, Sunkel said.

“The best benefit to GrassRoots from this event, is that we showed the citizens of the Roaring Fork Valley that we could put together a successful, live broadcast,” he said. “It was the biggest broadcast that GrassRoots has ever put together in 27 years. And it was also the first time that GrassRoots has ever broadcasted live on any other channel.”

All told, 30 people from GrassRoots, TCI Media Services, The Aspen Channel and the Wheeler contributed to the effort.

“It’s important to note that although we had tremendous support and we sold out the Wheeler, the people who attended and supported this event represent a very small percentage of those who enjoy and benefit from GrassRoots Television,” Sunkel said. “We hope that others will remember that we need financial support privately.”

RootsJam ’99 was the first-ever fund-raiser of its kind for the local TV station, but because of its success, Sunkel said he plans to make it an annual event.

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