Janesville's paid appearance on "Discover Wisconsin" premiers Feb. 8

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Jim Leute
Friday, January 31, 2014

JANESVILLE—Janesville will be in the spotlight next weekend when the community is featured in “Discover Wisconsin,” a syndicated tourism television show that airs on 40 stations in eight Midwestern states.

The Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau spent $36,000 for its exclusive appearance on the show, which is estimated to reach more than 480,000 viewers across the Midwest.

“Discover” crews spent four days filming in Janesville in 2013 for what culminated in “Wisconsin's Park Place—Janesville.”

The 30-minute show—about 22 minutes without commercials—will air two more times in 2014 and 2015.

It also will be available at the show's website and on YouTube, and the local visitors bureau will include a link to the show on its website.

“Beyond the actual show itself, the opportunities for us to market the segment through various links are endless,” said Christine Rebout, the bureau's executive director.

“We will show it at trade shows and on motor coaches visiting Janesville,” she said. “We will provide the link to meeting planners as an example of things spouses can do in Janesville.”

Mariah Haberman, Collin Geraghty, Libby Amato and Eric Paulsen host the episode.

The show begins with Haberman featured as “guest star” with the Rock Aqua Jays before she checks out a local art gallery. Geraghty, meanwhile, tries to keep up with the Janesville Jets hockey team and strolls through the Holiday Light Show at Rotary Botanical Gardens.

Amato stops by Skelly's Farm Market and tries her hand at a chalk masterpiece at Janesville's Annual Chalk Art competition. Paulsen delivers jokes at Friday night standup comedy at The Armory and learns about pairing wine and chocolate at Northleaf Winery.

“As a Rock County native, I thought I already had a good idea as to the kinds of things Janesville has to offer,” Haberman said. “But I was quickly reminded of how multifaceted this area truly is—from the art galleries to the sports tournaments, Janesville has a myriad of exciting things to see, experience and learn about.”

Rebout said it's a common misconception that “Discover Wisconsin” episodes are free as a function of the state's Department of Tourism. The television program is not connected to the state agency.

While the community has shared time with other communities on previous episodes, Rebout said the goals of the exclusive Janesville segment was to more fully showcase all that community has to offer.

“I am very, very happy with the way it turned out,” she said, noting that the timing of the episode is good for Midwesterners thinking about summer vacations.

Tourism is big business in Rock County. In 2012, visitors spent about $185 million in the county, an increase of 6 percent over the previous year, according to the state Department of Tourism.

That spending increase, the state reported, translated into local increases in employment, labor income and local, state and federal taxes.

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