June 06, 2012 - It's not been finalized, but it appears Oxford Community Television (OCTV) is going to have a new station manager.
The Oxford Area Cable Communications Commission recently voted to offer the position, which has been vacant since December, to Ken Laplace, 61, of Brandon Township.
"He was extremely enthusiastic and I think he's definitely the guy for the job," said Commission Chairman Melvin (Buck) Cryderman. "He really has a great vision of what he thinks our television station can be. I think this guy will take us in the right direction."
When asked if he plans to accept the job, Laplace replied, "Oh, sure. Absolutely."
"I wouldn't have applied for the position if I didn't really seriously want it," he said. "I just felt it was the perfect opportunity to take on the challenge of managing a small cable access station. I'm looking forward to showing them what I've learned over the years."
Since 1985, Laplace has owned a production company called PVN-TV, Inc. He's written, directed, produced, filmed, edited, consulted on and performed in more than 200 commercials.
Between 1998 and 2011, Laplace worked as a staff videographer for four different local television stations including Detroit's WDIV and WJBK.
Laplace has shot segments for such popular TV shows as Unsolved Mysteries, America's Most Wanted, The Biggest Loser and COPS. He's done free-lance work for ESPN, TNT Sports, CNN and international television. He even worked on the popular Detroit television show "The Ghoul."
Over the years, Laplace, who was close to earning his master's degree in radio, TV and film from Wayne State University, has been nominated for 17 Emmy awards and won five. His work has also been recognized by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Associated Press.
Despite his lengthy resume in television and film, the industry wasn't always his main career. In fact, from 1973-98, he worked full-time as a police officer for Pontiac. "I got into police work actually by accident," Laplace said.
Back when he was attending Michigan State University, there was a program offering to pay for anyone's education if they were willing to become a police officer.
"I actually had no intention of becoming one, but when they threw money at me like that, I said, 'Okay, that's what I'll do,'" Laplace said. "I really had no intention of ever having a full career in it."
Interestingly, the initials of Laplace's production company PVN actually stand for Police Video Network. From 1985 to 2002, he was "one of the leading producers in the country" of police and corrections training films.
"We were known for producing some very realistic/Hollywood-style training programs," Laplace said. "That was part of our bread and butter."
Now, he's ready to run OCTV. "I like the challenge of being able to put a new face on the station," Laplace said. "I want to try to take public access to a new level."
When asked about his vision for the station, he replied, "We have to (increase) the number of programs. Clearly, it needs a heavy program schedule that should be quite diverse."
"I think we should focus a lot on the community service organizations that are out there (in order) to give them an opportunity to showcase what they have to offer," he noted.
Laplace would like to incorporate the use of cell phones, Skype, Facebook and Twitter at OCTV, "so we can communicate with the community at a quicker rate."
He would also like to give high school, and maybe even middle school, students the opportunity to visit the station and learn various creative production methods.
Laplace ultimately wants to get as many people interested and involved with the station as possible.
"I think we can do that by taking it to a higher level," he said.
Laplace has already visited the OCTV station and watched some of the staff in action.
"What struck me is they were all really, really enthusiastic," he said. "I think they're doing a really good job considering they might need a little bit of leadership and maybe a little bit of assistance in developing some programs. Overall, I'm pleased with what I see."
Laplace indicated he could help enhance the station by bringing in professionals to help existing personnel sharpen their skills.
"I've been in the business a long time, so I'm well-connected," he said. "We'll be able to bring in some really cutting edge people who are top-of-the-line reporters, editors, production (staff) and have them teach and do seminars."
But Laplace also believes he can learn a lot from existing OCTV staff.
"Every time I go someplace different, I meet new people and learn from them," he said. "We can teach each other."
Cryderman indicated that he and fellow Commissioner Sue Bossardet will meet with Laplace on June 6 to formally offer him the position and negotiate with him.
Laplace will be offered a salary of $47,000 per year, not including benefits.
"We're pretty much going to offer him the same benefits as (the previous station manager) was getting," Cryderman said. "If he wants benefits, they'll come out of his $47,000."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.