Our organization was founded in 1986 by a consortium of nonprofit organizations led by Maine Medical Center, the University of Southern Maine and the City of Portland, Maine. At that time our name was the Southern Maine Cable Consortium. The station was created as a regional community cable channel for area nonprofits to reach the people they serve in 16 communities in the Greater Portland, Maine area, now Channel 5 on the Charter Cable system. At the same time, the City of Portland gave the organization a management contract for the operation of their public access television station, Channel 2. Within 10 years of being founded our name was changed to the Community Television Network.
Who We Are
Channel 5 PMC5
Although the Community Television Network (CTN) has been our name for all that we do for over 20 years, it has become more closely associated with Channel 5, the regional station that was established to serve the video production and distribution needs of nonprofits serving the greater Portland area. During those 20 years, communication technology has evolved dramatically. When we were establish in 1986, cable television was the most popular way for people to get information and entertainment. At that time, our most important benefit to our nonprofit members was access to our community cable channel. With the development and growth of the internet and social media, our benefits for our nonprofit members expanded to include Member Highlights, usually short videos about their organizations or things their organizations are doing; these videos are designed to provide content to our nonprofit members' websites and social media.
Throughout CTN/PMC’s history, we have not only provided benefits to our nonprofit members but have collaborated with them on a wide variety of projects including television series, fundraisers, community events, special video productions and space sharing. Some of these collaborations have been funded by foundation grants. These collaborations have evolved into some very important partnerships. Portland Playback Theater now regularly performs in our studio twice a month. The Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA) uses our conference room and hallway as their gallery, with new exhibits every first Friday of the month. Hour Exchange Portland and the Congolese Community of Maine also shares space with us. In addition, our studio is used often for professional workshops, screenings of local video productions, local theater productions and other community events and meetings. Given this expansion of our facility's uses, the Board decided to change our name in September, 2017 to the Portland Media Center (PMC).
Channel 2 PPAC
Portland Public Access Channel 2 gives Portland residents access to video production equipment, facilities and training to exercise their right to free speech by producing programming to be aired on Channel 2, which is funded by monthly revenue from Charter Cable, which was their contractual obligation in their franchise agreement with the City. Unlike Channel 5, PPAC Channel 2 only reaches cable subscribers in the City of Portland. Through PPAC, we train Portland, Maine residents, volunteers for PMC and other local nonprofits to make their own television programs and/or help us with ours. Since 2014 we've radically changed the way provide this training. Instead of providing in-depth training all at once, we've developed introductory classes in both our studio equipment and field production equipment, offer this training in the evening every week and provided our studio training, which is mostly hands-on, free of charge allowing anyone to take the class as often as necessary to feel comfortable producing a show.
The result of these changes has been nothing short of remarkable. We have exponentially increased the number of our volunteers and producers. In February 2016, we had 6 shows being produced in our studio and/or with our equipment every month, more than we ever had before in our history up to that point. By February, 2017, in just one year, that number jumped to 16 shows being produced here every month. The programming that has been created by burgeoning and enthusiastic community of volunteers represents an ever-increasing number of backgrounds, orientations, cultures and voices in the greater Portland community. These include individual entrepreneurs, musicians, alternative health practitioners, new Mainers, transgender and others in the LGBT community, activists, local universities, the bicycling community, local governments, the "foodie" community, mind-body practitioners, those involved in prevention abuse, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists... the list is growing every month! Join us. Take a class. Produce a show. Let your voice be heard!