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Brasher man’s “Xpedition Outdoors” premiering on WPBS

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BRASHER FALLS - WPBS-TV hopes to highlight the outdoor opportunities of Northern New York and the eastern region of the province of Ontario with a new adventure-based series.

But to succeed, it’s requesting audience participation. WPBS, based in Watertown, is hosting a casting contest to find individuals interested in participating in the new show, “Xpedition Outdoors.” The winner will receive a guest spot on an episode. Entrants must submit a video to the station’s website before April 30 and explain why they should be chosen while describing their idea for an outdoor action adventure.

The station has high hopes for the series. WPBS officials will unveil the pilot episode of “Xpedition Outdoors” at 4 p.m. Thursdayat a community screening at Clarkson University’s Student Center.

The episode was shot in October at Ausable Chasm in Ausable, Essex County. The tourist site near Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks, about 14 miles south of Plattsburgh, offers an adventure tour, which includes rappelling and cable traversing.

Lynn Brown, executive vice president at WPBS, said the station will premiere the pilot in an unusual way.

“Most generally, we’d broadcast it and then put it online,” she said. “But we’re trying something a little different. We’re drawing people online first.”

The half-hour pilot for “Xpedition Outdoors” premiered this week on the WPBS home page at www.wpbstv.org. The televised premiere is at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 with repeats at 9 a.m. Jan. 26 and 10:30 p.m. Jan. 31.

Mrs. Brown said WPBS hopes to film 13 episodes for the series, which will be offered to the eight other PBS stations in the state.

“We think this is a good possible program for national syndication,” she said. “We really think it’s got possibility.”

The host of the show is Winthrop native Christopher D. Lashomb.

Mr. Lashomb said the St. Regis River, 10 feet from his house, was his “playground” while growing up. It’s where he would canoe, kayak, fish snorkel and build rope swings.

“That was the foundation for my outdoor adventure activities,” he said. “It kind of spawned from there.”

Mr. Lashomb, a 2000 graduate of St. Lawrence Central High School and a 2005 graduate of SUNY Oswego, where he received a degree in broadcasting and mass communication, is a program manager with Northern Merchant Services Inc., Brasher Falls. He approached WPBS officials about his “Xpedition Outdoors” series after he was filmed in background scenes for the WPBS show “The Raquette River Experience.”

“One of my goals of the show is to help promote the area,” Mr. Lashomb said. “There are so many natural resources and great outdoor activities throughout Northern New York and New York state and a lot of it is under-utilized. There’s a lot of stuff going on in peoples’ back yards they don’t even know about.”

Mr. Lashomb and his two-person camera crew rappelled for the first time during the filming of the pilot, which was shot in high definition. He was outfitted and instructed by head guide Judd Arnold. Mr. Lashomb began with a 30-foot rappel and then tackled the chasm’s 80-foot rappel. A camera mounted on his helmet captured point-of-view scenes. He also traversed the Ausable River on a 150-foot and a 200-foot cable anchored 130 feet above the Ausable River.

“Another goal of the show is to help people discover these things and how to motivate them to get off the couch and away from the computer and hopefully go do some of the adventures we’ll be doing,” Mr. Lashomb said.

He said “Xpedition Outdoors” shows could include whitewater rafting, cliff jumping, parasailing and rock climbing.

The details
WHAT: Video contest for the new WPBS-TV series “Xpedition Outdoors,” which premieres today online on www.wpbs.tv.com. The show has its televised premiere at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 with repeats at 9 a.m. Jan. 26 and 10:30 p.m. Jan. 31. The pilot also will be available for streaming at watchwpbstv.org.
HOW TO ENTER: Guidelines were to be posted today on wpbstv.org and on the WPBS-TV Facebook page. The winner will take part in an episode of the action/adventure show.
Entries will be posted on the WPBS website. Entry deadline is April 30. Judging will be between May 1 and 31.
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