Fairfield to be featured on national TV
By ANDY HALLMAN for The Fairfield Ledger, Jan 30, 2014
In the past few years, Fairfield has been in the national spotlight as numerous television programs and magazines have publicized what makes this town such a great place to live.
This year appears to be no different. That’s because Fairfield will be featured on a television show called “Moving America Forward,” hosted by William Shatner. The show will focus on the town’s entrepreneurial spirit and how this affects the residents’ quality of life.
Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott flew to Los Angeles last week to be interviewed for the show. Their interviewer was Doug Llewelyn, who is most famous for hosting “The People’s Court” with Judge Joseph Wapner, which aired from 1981 to 1994.
The episode about Fairfield will air on YouToo TV this spring. After it airs on television, viewers can see it on the website YouTube.
Lippincott said he and Malloy chatted with Llewelyn for a few hours before taping began to give him an idea of what Fairfield is all about.
“We touched on what it’s like to live in Fairfield, and we covered the areas that make us a great place to live,” said Lippincott.
Fairfield will be the first town “Moving America Forward” has featured on its show, which normally highlights the accomplishments of individual business owners rather than whole cities. Lippincott said the show’s producers heard about Fairfield through the Smithsonian Magazine, which in 2013 named Fairfield the seventh-best small town to visit.
“Fairfield was recognized for fostering the environment that helped these businesses grow,” he said. “What makes this a unique recognition is we have 9,000 people but we have accomplished so much. That is, at its core, why we were recognized by ‘Moving America Forward.’”
Malloy said he began talking to the show’s senior producer Ruth Collins last year, who informed him Fairfield was a candidate for a spot on the show.
“She said they had done some research on our city and they found it fascinating, with all these different elements such as the entrepreneurship, sustainability and arts and culture,” he said. “She said, ‘We’d like to know more,’ so we sent them links to some of our websites.”
Collins said Fairfield was chosen from a pool of 70 candidate cities.
Malloy said Fairfield is often referred to as “Silicorn Valley,” a play on “Silicon Valley” near San Francisco, for the numerous technology and computer companies that were born here. He said many of those businesses were started in the late 1980s by software engineers educated at Maharishi International University, now known as Maharishi University of Management.
“Everyone who came to study and wanted to stay had to bring their own livelihood with them,” he said. “Because there were so many people who had a background in computers, there were a good dozen to 20 companies that were developing software. It became a phenomenon that these companies were originating from a small town in Iowa.”
Malloy said a financial journalist was doing a story about the entrepreneurial boom in Fairfield at the time, and referred to this technological enclave as the country’s “Silicorn Valley.”
During their interview with Llewelyn, Malloy and Lippincott mentioned not only the town’s strong IT sector but also its many other strengths such as manufacturing, tourism, education and agricultural economy.
The taped interview with Llewelyn lasted 15-20 minutes. Although Shatner is the host of the show, he was not on set for the interview. He introduces the clips and provides commentary throughout the show.
Malloy was filmed answering a set of questions about Fairfield. Shatner will be filmed asking those questions, and the two clips will be spliced together to make it appear Shatner is talking directly to Malloy.
Lippincott said the answers he and Malloy gave to the questions were not scripted, although the producer had an idea of what they would say from talking about their town with Llewelyn that morning.
In addition to the interviews with Malloy and Lippincott, the segment on Fairfield will include still photographs and silent camera footage of noteworthy places and events in town to be shown during the interviews. Malloy said he and others submitted videos to the producer, and the producers will get more video footage on their own later.
Even if residents miss the opportunity to watch the episode when it’s broadcast on television, chances are they will be able to view the video later. That’s because three Fairfield entities pooled their resources to purchase the video to use as a promotional tool once “Moving America Forward” is done with it.
Rights to the video cost $11,700, and the three entities who chipped in to purchase it were the city of Fairfield, the Fairfield Economic Development Association and the Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau. The three entities will own the video collectively.
Malloy said he felt the asking price to purchase the video was a bargain. He said he is glad the city will be able to show the “Moving America Forward” segment on the Fairfield Media Center’s public access cable channel, FPAC–9.
Reprinted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger
Related articles on Fairfield, Iowa’s entrepreneurial spirit:
See an article on The Power of the Entrepreneurial Class: Turning Fairfield, Iowa into a Rural Renaissance City, by Burt Chojnowski, published in the Economic Development Journal.