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February 13, 2018

Portland Media Center: New brand broadens traditional community TV mission

Photo / Renee Cordes The Portland Media Center, located at 516 Congress St., is the new name for what had been known as the Community Television Network, which operates the Channel 2 and Channel 5 public-access stations and offers video production classes to the public.

Portland’s Community Television Network has been rebranded as the Portland Media Center, to reflect a widening range of activities.

With roots going back to 1986, the nonprofit organization operates the public-access Channel 2 for the City of Portland and Channel 5 for the greater Portland area. Regular programs range from the “Lighthouse Jubilees” gospel and golden oldies crooners to interview shows and live broadcasts of Portland City Council meetings.

Located at 516 Congress Street downtown, PMC is home to video and studio production facilities and offers shooting and editing classes to the public. Once someone is certified to use the equipment, that opens the door to volunteering as well as producing a new program.

It’s also home to rotating exhibits by the Union of Maine Visual Artists and shares space with the Portland Playback Theatre Co., the Congolese Community of Maine and Hour Exchange Portland, a community network of “neighbors helping neighbors,” trading services from running errands to doing yard work.

Speaking at Friday’s PMC launch party, executive director Tom Handel said the group likes “media” because it says more than the old name, and added “center” to the name to indicate that it's a gathering place for the community.

“We want to identify ourselves as a place, so that’s Portland,” he said. He thanked all the volunteers who helped with the renovations, from ripping out old carpet to painting, and several local businesses that donated to the effort.

Besides the new name, there’s a new logo — recreated on Friday’s celebration cake — and website that will eventually allow users to live stream broadcasts.

The name change comes five months after CTN held its first-ever telethon, in a weekend fundraiser that brought in $5,000.

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