Hadley Media rocked as both employees depart

Staff Writer
Monday, August 01, 2022

HADLEY — Recording of Hadley’s public meetings and municipal events, and oversight of local programming on the town’s cable access channels, could be in jeopardy as both Hadley Media employees are leaving.

While John Harrison, the part-time production manager, submitted a resignation letter in June informing the Select Board that he would be completing his service at the end of July, with a planned move to California, the departure of Drew Hutchison, Hadley Media’s director since January 2017, was more abrupt.

The Select Board announced at its July 20 meeting that a search is underway immediately for Hutchison’s successor, as well as a replacement for Harrison.

Reached by phone, Hutchison, a Greenfield resident, said the decision to relinquish the job was mutual between himself and town officials, and was about his quality of life.

“It was a combination of being completely burnt out, and having no vacation since January 2018,” Hutchison said.

Even before the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, Hutchison had negotiated to work remotely once a week, though he worried about having to do more in-person work from Hadley, and making the 30-minute commute more regularly.

Still, he is proud of what he has done after being hired for the role following the resignation of Richard Trueswell, who had worked, off and on in a similar role, since 1990.

“I feel like I rebuilt Hadley Media,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison said he invested in upgrading all equipment so high-quality videos could be posted online and broadcast. “I think Hadley Media became a leader in the region,” Hutchison said.

But he also had frustrations that included the disbanding of the Hadley Media Oversight Committee in 2020 and questions about whether he would be able to meet the high standards he set for the cable access station. Without Harrison, who was hired shortly after Hutchison started and who handled much of the work related to meeting coverage, there would have been more challenges.

Hutchison said he has another job lined up, and is also remaining the vice president of the Greenfield Community Television board.

Select Board Chairwoman Jane Nevinsmith wrote in an email about getting new Hadley Media workers hired. “A job was posted last week, and there are several candidates which we are going to interview, hopefully this week,” Nevinsmith said.

There is no set salary for the Hadley Media director job, but its responsibilities, according to the ad, are to coordinate the planning, administration and implementation of all public cable TV programming, evaluating the need and determining the costs associated with the purchase of hardware and software technology and ensuring that production equipment is maintained in proper operating condition.

The production assistant is posted as a 21-hour-a-week position, including some early evenings to record town and board meetings, that pays $20 per hour.

Hutchison said town officials need to take seriously the need to find a successor, noting that the server is top-notch and residents appreciate the service.

“I hope someone competent comes in,” Hutchison said.