ALPENA - Alpena already is reaping the rewards from the filming and telecast of Major League Fishing last summer and hopes to build on it after the show "Under the Radar" films locally today. Producers of the Michigan show will be highlighting the glass-bottom boat tour, but also include snippets of other Northeast Michigan communities and attractions around Alpena.
Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau President Mary Beth Stutzman said Under the Radar is the official show of Pure Michigan and although Alpena had a brief appearance in it several years ago, she believes it will help to draw more visitors to the area.
"The program features unique and interesting things to do around Michigan and some areas that are maybe off of the beaten path a bit that you don't often hear about," Stutzman said. "They are doing an entire episode about the sunrise coast and we are lucky enough to be included.
"They are filming Friday in Rogers City and then coming to Alpena and will be here for the better part of the day. Besides filming the glass-bottom boat, they will also be around taking footage of other places in Alpena."
Stutzman said the show is telecast in a larger market now than what it was in year's past, due to Pure Michigan's involvement. She said not only will the show be aired in Michigan, but in other sections of the country as well.
"Pure Michigan gives it a whole lot of power behind it. It will air on PBS, but also reaired on different channels and networks across the nation," Stutzman said. "In total it will air at some place in the United States and Canada about six times a day. This once again opens Alpena up to a really wide audience that I think we can benefit from."
Alpena already has seen an increase in visitors coming to Alpena to fish and visit after seeing the Major League Fishing series. Stutzman said local businesses have been keeping her updated on the amount of traffic they have seen due to the fishing show.
"We have seen people traveling here with their boats to check out the lakes where Kevin VanDam pulled out 80 pounds of bass and we have heard great news from local establishments that have seen more out of town fishermen in the area," Stutzman said. "I even received a comment from a local real estate agent who is showing lake houses to a couple from Pennsylvania who are hoping to retire in Alpena after seeing on the show. They said it looked amazing and wanted to check it out and now want to move here. It was definitely worth everything we put into it and I think we will reap benefits from it for many years."
Stutzman said she expects traffic generated from Major League Fishing to grow because summer is still in its infancy and prime bass fishing is still ahead. She said after the show aired, the CVB was contacted by other fishing shows that want to film in Alpena. One is scheduled to film on Hubbard Lake later this summer if Alpena can make it happen logistically.
"We are currently working with another tournament that would be televised live later this year on Hubbard Lake, we just have to make sure we are going to be able to hold the amount of people they would bring. It would be more than 100 boats, plus filming crews," Stutzman said. "We are trying to be careful because we don't want to over saturate. If something is too big and our infrastructure can't handle it, then we would say no because then nobody would have a good experience."
Stutzman said the producers of Under the Radar have not indicated when the show featuring Alpena would air, and more details will be made available in the coming weeks.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.