Anne Marie has hosted over 100 episodes of various shows on Norfolk Community Television... including Just Sayin', Norfolk Notables, State & Local, and more. We asked her a few questions about herself and her work with NCTV.
1. Can you give us a little insight into who Anne Marie Battistone is?
I was born in Washington DC but moved to Massachusetts to attend UMass graduate school in French. I became a teacher in the City of Boston, where I worked for 34 years, but I never lost my desire to become an actress. The closest I came was performing in the classroom to retain the attention of my reluctant charges. Being talent on cable TV has provided a better outlet for my "dramatic inclinations", which is one reason it's been so much fun.
2. How did you get involved with Norfolk Community Television and producing your own shows?
I started doing cable TV in Medfield where I had 2 talk shows, one of which was very similar to State and Local here in Norfolk. When I moved here, I contacted the studio assuming I would get involved. I was not particularly welcomed, as I saw it, so I did no TV for almost 17 years until a new station manager arrived in 2012. My first show was, in fact, State and Local. It was difficult to get off the ground because Norfolk, unlike Medfield, had no real paper, so it was hard to find out what was going on and who was involved. I turned to interviewing town and district candidates, which worked out well.
3. How has the experience been of producing your own programs for NCTV? Favorite part?
What I suppose I enjoy most about interviewing is the mental challenge. You have to be ready to draw out the guest, but at the same time stay one step ahead so their answer doesn't surprise you so much that you get thrown off and can't follow with another relevant question. I also really enjoyed seeing the camera turn off at the end of the Norfolk Knitting School, even though I love teaching knitting, because I worried constantly about making a mistake on air, no matter how much I had prepared. Sometimes I had to incorporate mistakes into the show! Of course, it was and still is a thrill to have someone occasionally recognize me and say they like the shows. I have to mention that I could never have produced anything without the help of the staff, especially Katy who not only created the visuals for most of my shows, but who also had to struggle for a while with editing shows which used an overhead mirror. Jen, now gone, also looked out for me. Knitting demonstrations would have been impossible without Christina Gleason who gets very fierce close-ups.
4. Talk to us a little more about your shows… what do you hope viewers will get out of them?
Of course, all our cable shows are a public service. In the case of State and Local it allows voters to make an informed choice, and it was a venue for candidates to present their ideas and concerns in a non-partisan setting. I always made sure to be perfectly neutral (no matter what I actually thought), so people began to trust me and wanted to tell their stories to the voters. As for Norfolk Notables, it was more than a way to feature residents who had done something really exceptional. Since most of those guests just happen to be seniors, it's a way to pay homage to them and perhaps allow old friends who see them on the show to reconnect.
5. Why do you believe NCTV is important to the community of Norfolk, MA?
I absolutely think NCTV's greatest contribution to the town is the taping and timely posting of board meetings. It is essential for residents to know what is going on in Town Hall. Again, when it comes time to cast an intelligent vote, or even to inspire involvement, those board meeting tapes are very important to living in Norfolk. The other great service is the time the staff gives to teaching people to use equipment, even their own.