Local News


New HBO docuseries features local news television station in Pahrump

Staff held private watch party on Monday night
New HBO docuseries features local news television station in Pahrump
New HBO docuseries features local news television station in Pahrump
New HBO docuseries features local news television station in Pahrump
New HBO docuseries features local news television station in Pahrump
Posted at 12:11 PM, Aug 02, 2021

PAHRUMP (KTNV) — Pahrump may become a household name thanks to a new docuseries by HBO.

"Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump" about a small, local television station will debut at 9 p.m. Aug. 2 ET with two back-to-back episodes. Subsequent episodes will air back-to-back on Aug. 9 and 15.

Each episode is half an hour and offers “an entertaining glimpse into a scrappy, hardworking local news broadcaster looking to expand into a bigger market during challenging times,” according to HBO.

Tonight, the Van Winkles hosted a private watch party for the premier of the show at the Marriott Grand Chateau in Las Vegas. About 50 people packed the hotel suite, many of them staffers at the small station in Pahrump, along with their friends and family, to watch parts one and two of the six part docuseries from HBO as it was broadcast to the world for the first time. Since it was a private party, not many of the guests wore masks.

"The show is really kinda a mixture between the office and a real life docuseries. There’s no scripted content. It’s all real life, what happens in news, what does it take to get that news on, and that’s what it’s about," said Vernon Van Winkle, the owner of KVPM.

The show is highlighted by a colorful cast of characters, with everyone doing multiple duties. For example, Memarie Aldrich is the administrative assistant and an account executive at the station.

"It's not anything like the stigma that there is behind it and it's fun, something that people might want to get into. There is stuff that goes on in the desert, and there is good stuff that comes out of Pahrump," said Aldrich.

Vernon Van Winkle and his wife, Ronda Van Winkle, couldn't be happier to show off their station and the small town of Pahrump to the rest of the world.

"When we actually watched the first couple of episodes, it helped us appreciate each other. I appreciate everything that they're doing in the field, and they started appreciating maybe what Vern does for engineering and what I do behind the scenes," said Ronda, describing her relationship with the station's staff after the show premiered.

"As we grew to know the producers on a daily basis, we started feeling the love of the program. And the more the love came to us, the more we realized that the program is going to be a very good docuseries on the actuality of what happens at a small station. I'm very excited for the outcome of the product. I think everybody's going to love it," said Vern.

The series also reportedly “celebrates the can-do spirit, community pride and political diversity” among the station’s employees.

KVPM is one of 95 independently-owned news stations in the United States. It is owned and operated by Vernon Van Winkle and his wife Ronda Van Winkle.

The news director is Deanna O'Donnell, Eunette Gentry is a co-anchor, Darbie O'Donnell and Missy Kohler are reporters, and John Kohler is the "fun-loving" weatherman.
Janet Errett and Memarie Aldrid are account executives and Ubaldo Alvarado Jr. is the studio operations manager.

According to HBO, the TV station wants to expand into the Las Vegas market. IN order to do so, they have to erect a new tower. The series also features coverage leading up to the 2020 presidential election, crime and other local coverage.

Pahrump, which has a population of about 37,000, is located about 60 miles west of Las Vegas off Route 160. It is in Nye County.

The docuseries was produced by Emmy-winning filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. It is presented by World of Wonder Production.