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September 26, 2017

Portland's Community Television Network meets telethon fundraising goal

Photo / Jim Neuger.
Photo / Jim Neuger.
The Young Talents of Maine musical ensemble performing live on-air during CTN’s first-ever telethon.

Portland nonprofit Community Television Network met its goal of raising $5,000 from its first-ever telethon over the weekend.

CTN, which operates the public-access Channel 2 for the city of Portland and the Channel 5 community-TV station for the greater Portland area, broadcast non-stop for 25 hours from Friday to Saturday. Between live studio performances there were short digital playbacks, with volunteer crews rotating every 30 minutes or so.

"We just about met the fundraising goal," CTN's development director, Lesley MacVane, told Mainebiz on Monday. "We were so close you could touch it, so that was a good thing."

While the board has yet to decide how to use the funds, she said that equipment "is always high on the list."

Above all, she said the telethon helped raise awareness about CTN.

"The most important thing was really presenting to the community just what we do and who we are," she said. "This is a community television station, and the talent that we presented was just amazing. Everybody chipped in and became part of this wonderful event, and we couldn't have been happier than we are with how it went."

During the telethon, musical acts varied from the Lighthouse Jubilees crooning classics from Frank Sinatra and the Andrews Sisters, to Portland Ballet performing excerpts from upcoming performances and its pre-professional students demonstrating positions at the barre.

MacVane said the telethon wouldn't have been possible without all the volunteers who lent a hand and CTN's media coordinator, Brian Knoblock, at the controls. "If he hadn't been there we couldn't have done it," she said.

And in the green room, she said, musicians and actors were networking with each other, "people who never met each other before and now are going to be creative together. To me, that's what we're all about."

CTN gets one third of its funding from the City of Portland and the rest from donations. It has about 20 locally produced programs and thousands of on-demand videos on its website, ctn5.org, and offers camera and other training classes for a nominal fee plus volunteer time. Once certified on the equipment, people may use it for free to produce their own shows.

Located at 516 Congress St., CTN is also home to an art gallery and the Portland Playback Theatre. To reflect all that it does, it's planning to change its name later this year to the Portland Media Center.

"We're more than just a TV station," said MacVane. She said the new name "better embraces what we do with the classes we offer" and other cultural activities and is also better suited to its digital profile. "The Internet is a huge part of our presence, so that just makes more sense."

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