Montana State University

Weatherization program from MSU Extension wins awards for 'Warmest Village in Alaska' show

July 3, 2012 -- MSU News Service

Weatherization TV (WxTV), an online show produced by the Montana State University Extension Weatherization program, won silver and bronze 'Telly' awards for "The Warmest Village in Alaska." Pictured from l-r: Weatherization Center Director Mike Vogel, WxTV host and writer Ben Cichowski, and WxTV director and editor Vince Cusomato. (MSU Photo by Kelly Gorham).    High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN - An online home weatherization television show produced by the Montana State University Extension Weatherization program won a pair of top Telly Awards for its program "The Warmest Village in Alaska."

Weatherization TV, or WxTV, is a national weatherization training show that blends expert advice, how-to techniques, innovation, and reality TV to create entertainment-based learning. Episodes are filmed around the country with various housing programs, and bring together techniques from hot, cold, humid, and arid environments, opening a dialogue for crews to debate the best way to accomplish weatherization tasks under varying conditions.

Extreme weather conditions pose a number of challenges in the episode from Goodnews Bay, Alaska, a remote Yup'ik Eskimo village on western Alaska's Bering Sea coast, where supplies are shipped by barge, and weatherization crewmembers are often local villagers. The 25-minute program highlights techniques for air sealing against severely blowing snow - the kind that fills attics and front porches through small openings - under-floor insulation of houses on stilts that shift in permafrost conditions, and electricity savings in a remote location serviced by generator power.

"The Warmest Village in Alaska" can be viewed at

"We truly got a sense of how needed these weatherization measures are in rural Alaska, and how big of an impact they make in the lives of the people who live in Goodnews Bay and the many Alaska villages like it," said Ben Cichowski, WxTV host. "We're pleased that the video conveys the collaboration at work to improve this community and their quality of life."

WxTV worked in cooperation with the Rural Alaska Community Action Program and the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to film their weatherization work in Goodnews Bay.

"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity... to be in a village that not many people have ever been to and to get to see Eskimo life," said WxTV director and editor Vince Cusomato. "It felt like you were on the edge of the planet. It was such an experience."

The winning segment "The Warmest Village in Alaska" won the 33rd annual Telly "silver award" for first place in the category of Documentary Internet/online video, and the "bronze award" for second place in the category of Informational Internet/online video. The Telly Awards, founded in 1978, honor the finest film and video productions, groundbreaking web commercials, videos and films, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs.

WxTV was developed in 2010 and is produced at the Montana Weatherization Training Center (part of MSU Extension Housing and Environmental Health). WxTV is produced with funding support from a partnership between Exxon Mobil and the National Community Action Foundation.

For more information about WxTV, visit, or call (406) 586-0070.

Contact: Michael Vogel, MSU Extension Housing and Environmental Health Specialist, (406) 994-3451 or