WOODSTOCK — It appears “the northernmost bureau of Fox News,” just down the road from Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s vacation home, is almost ready to go on the air from inside the old town garage.

Carlson, who purchased the building in Bryant Pond village last fall for $30,000, told the town he plans to use the small studio about 35 days a year for his controversial one-hour, prime-time television show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Documents submitted to the town, which sold him the property behind the abandoned Franklin Grange Hall on Route 26, indicate that Carlson intended to spend about $88,000 of his money to upgrade the decaying garage to house a small studio, a kitchenette, some space to pursue unstated hobbies, storage and a bathroom.

He’s put on a new roof, made repairs to clapboards, painted the exterior and generally improved its appearance without changing its character.

The property has 10 parking spaces, but Carlson indicated in the paperwork that only three to five people are needed on-site to produce the television show.

Tucker Carlson, host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News, is renovating the former Woodstock town garage for use as a broadcast studio and storage space. The building is behind the former Franklin Grange Hall and beside the Whitman Memorial Library, both on Route 26 in Bryant Pond village. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Carlson, who could not be reached for comment, has shown a keen interest in regional issues in Maine over the years, from complaints about Somali immigrants in Lewiston to the recent controversy of Rick Savage reopening his Sunday River Brewing Co. restaurant in nearby Bethel in defiance of state rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The television host’s plans for a studio nearly came to an immediate halt after the Sun Journal disclosed in March 2019 that Carlson planned to purchase the old garage, which originally served as a stable for patrons of the Grange hall.

Because of the publicity, Carlson told the newspaper that “I can’t have my building now. I’m kind of crushed.”

Tucker Carlson AP file photo

He blamed the paper for undermining his project, insisting that his effort to buy the property wasn’t news. “All it does is hurt me” to have people find out about the studio’s presence, Carlson said at the time.

Carlson has, however, mentioned on the air that he was broadcasting from rented space in the town library, which is next door to the garage he bought. His property will tie into the library’s septic system.

Despite his insistence that the news story wrecked his chance of having a studio close to his beloved vacation spot, Carlson wound up buying the garage anyway after voters in Woodstock approved the sale in November.

In the months since, the garage has been overhauled but . It looks better than it has in years, but generally retains its appearance. There is nothing obvious to indicate the presence of Carlson or Fox News.

In a letter to the town, Carlson wrote that he’s “spent virtually every summer of my life on Lake Christopher” in Bryant Pond, plans to retire there someday and even has a plot in Lakeside Cemetery in the village beside an 1852 Universalist Church.

He mentioned that Fox executives were happy with the temporary studio in the library.

“The ratings for the shows we’ve done from Maine have been high,” he said, adding that within the network the library was famous as its “northernmost bureau.”

“Best of all,” Carlson said, “I’ve been able to spend four months a year in Bryant Pond, which is my favorite place in the world.”

The site plan review submitted to the town said that for the most part, the 3,462-square-foot garage will be used by Carlson as a storage area.

But about 35 days a year, it said, Carlson plans to host his show from a small studio in one corner of the garage.

A larger space will be set aside as a work area where Carlson can pursue research and “hobby projects.”

The fate of the town-owned Grange building between the garage and the road remains uncertain. It has been unused for years.

Town Manager Vern Maxfield said a committee has been working on what to do with the building.

“We are waiting for town meeting for any next move,” Maxfield said.

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