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Former Redskin gives TV a shot

Mike Nelms (left) former Washington Redskins defensive back, shows his Super Bowl ring to Dr. Michael Porrazzo (center), director of radiation oncology at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center.and Tim Brown, the hospital’s business growth leader, on Tuesday. / Photos by Griffin Moores

A few years ago Mike Nelms was asked to join a group angling to start a new cable TV operation in the Fredericksburg area.

As others grew frustrated with the effort and fell by the wayside, Nelms kept moving forward. It’s not surprising that once the former All-Pro Washington Redskins kick returner got the ball he didn’t quit till he crossed the goal line.

Along the way, Nelms was joined by Charles Thomas and Michelle Trampe.

“I think Mike and I have had meetings at every Starbucks in this area,” Thomas said.

Charles Thomas (left) talks to Dr. Brian Josephs before an interview at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. CVTV is producing a series about medical specialists and how patients can connect with them,

Nelms said the pair “started realizing what the potential could be and started getting fired up about it. We got more and more excited about it.”

After dozens of meetings with hundreds of people around the Fredericksburg area at coffee shops, libraries and Wegmans over hundreds of hours, their efforts paid off recently with the nonprofit Central Virginia Public Access Television’s soft launch.

Thomas signals the start of an interview at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, which will be part of a series shown on the new Central Virginia Public Access Television.

For the first time in over a decade, the Fredericksburg area has a TV station. Nelms is the chairman of CVTV, Thomas is chief executive officer and Trampe is chief financial officer.

CVTV is currently being seen in Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburg on Comcast channel 23, Cox channel 24 and Verizon channel 35. It hopes to work out an agreement with Stafford County soon.

Programming is limited to the early evening hours for now, but Thomas says CVTV will eventually be seen around the clock. He said that in addition to recorded programs, there are plans to stream live shows about events. They expect Stafford’s 350th Anniversary festivities to be a major source of content in the coming year.

Nelms and Thomas said CVTV will focus on family and educational programming, sports and arts, with “good news” being a staple.

There are enough positive things to keep us busy,” Thomas said. “We’ll steer clear of controversy. Politics are already covered.”

Nelms said: “We’re trying to stay away from the hot-button topics. We want to be an oasis where people can enjoy themselves.”

A show called “Mike on the Mic” features Nelms trying his hand at golf, hunting, fishing and other sports. But he said he will also cover non-sports topics and “go out and talk to anybody about anything.”

“Basically,” Thomas said, “we’re letting him run free and do whatever he wants to do.”

Beginning a TV station is “a little nerve-wracking,” Thomas said. “We worked a lot of hours to get to this point. It’s almost like having your first child. You have this incubation period. Then you go, ‘What do we do?’ Oh my goodness, what do I do now?’ It’s an exciting adventure. It’s a journey.”

Michael Zitz lives in Spotsylvania County.