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“Our Story” Is Emmetsburg’s Story

By Staff | Aug 12, 2010

Often times, there is the perception that nothing important happens in small towns.

Jeff Rouse, Executive Producer of Our Story Productions, is working to change that perception.

“We believe in small towns—and small town people,” said Rouse.

Our Story Productions is a media company involved primarily in the production and distribution of television programs aired on public-access stations throughout southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. Rouse and his “staff” of over 42 volunteers aim to create innovative television programming that reflects the lifestyles—humor, tragedy, foibles, and all—found in Midwestern rural communities.

“We often hear that the ‘rural way of life’ is dying,” said Rouse. “Perhaps a better way of viewing this is to say that our way of life is merely changing. We believe that the shows on Our Story Productions embrace these changes, while preserving the unique heritage of rural America.”

Emmetsburg is the first Iowa town selected to be spotlighted by the Fairmont, Minnesota-based production company.

According to Rouse, only communities with a population under 12,000 are promoted through the televised pieces, which are all set in the fictitious Sweet Swine County. Among the program offerings are a talk show and a soap opera.

“Our soap opera has received national attention,” Rouse shared. “The Independent Film Festival in Spirit Lake showed our soap there, and we were recognized at the Independent Soap Opera Awards in New York City.”

Currently, an Emmetsburg segment, featuring Brent McAllister as Irishman Patrick O’Shaunessy, airs on Mediacom Channel 3 at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for two weeks out of every month. McAllister, as O’Shaunessy, invites viewers to Emmetsburg, describing the community and what is offered for visitors.

The program is shown in over 80 towns throughout southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

In the coming weeks, other shows will highlight tourist attractions like Five Island Lake, the statue of Robert Emmet, and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as interviews and features on retail businesses in Emmetsburg.

Our Story Productions was founded in 2007 with a television program that creatively featured news, events, and human interest stories shared by the residents in Minnesota’s rural communities. By popular demand, Our Story Productions has since greatly expanded its reach and now provides a variety of imaginative and informative programming in over 20 counties in Minnesota and Iowa.

The group also publishes a magazine, “The Road to Our Story,” that is distributed throughout southern Minnesota and northern Iowa in Chamber of Commerce offices, businesses, and other venues.