NORWAY — An energetic new board of directors is looking to reinvigorate local interest in Norway-Paris Community Television, the two towns’ local-access cable channel.

Board members hope to engage the school district, local businesses and anyone else who has an interest in making their own TV show to start taking advantage of the valuable but underutilized resource. 

“It’s all about getting people involved in their community,” said board Chairman Matt Gurney, who was appointed earlier this summer. 

“We’re in a very talented area … I think we need to get the word out there and get people involved and showing off what we have.”

Other directors are Richard Kimball, Rick Little, Lou Page and Bruce Cook.

From its offices on Marston Street in Norway, NPC-TV fills local channel 11 with programming 24/7. Some of its shows, such as “The Pet Adoption Show,” “Chamber Moment” and “Storytime,” are filed and produced in-house. 

Other programs are taken from PEG Media, a nonprofit clearinghouse for local-access channels across the country. Announcements for upcoming community events run in between the shows and video of local government meetings are now being posted on its website, www.npctv11.org.

Station Manager Steve Galvin, who has been working at NPC-TV for 13 years, said he’d love to have more local content, but it’s a matter of retaining consistent volunteers. 

The station is funded through a $1.44 monthly charge on Time Warner cable subscribers’ bills and doesn’t use any tax money, Galvin said. It’s impossible to track how many people watch the channel, but it is broadcast to around 3,500 households.

As an educational nonprofit, however, the station’s five digital cameras, small studio and professional editing equipment, all open for the public’s use. 

There are plenty of ideas out there, Galvin said, but people have a tendency to lose interest when they get into the filming and production of a TV segment. 

That means that instead of using his 35 years of TV experience to train new cameramen and coach burgeoning directors, Galvin or Peter Morton, the station’s sole full-time employee, wind up producing most of the local content.

“We’ve got to change the mindset of community a little bit,” Galvin said. “I’m still fine with going out and filming, but we really need more volunteers to be producing for the station.”

Now, with a new, energetic board, Galvin is cautiously optimistic local interest will pick up.

For the past few years, the NPC-TV board, which has three members from each town, lay dormant, unable even to call a meeting because it lacked a quorum. 

This summer, however, new membership took the board’s reigns and set out to expand local content and engage the community. 

Little, one of the new Paris board members, said involving students and the school district is one of the board’s main goals. 

There is an opportunity for students to film and broadcast high school sports games and performing arts that is being missed because the resource isn’t being used, Little said.

In his meetings with school department officials, there has been a lot of interest in working more closely together, Little said.

Equally as important is reaching out to the community and encouraging people to think of NPC-TV as an available resource, Little said. There’s plenty happening in Oxford Hills, people just need to be encouraged to capture it and put it on TV, he said.

Galvin agrees that filming local sports is crucial, but he’d like to see different student-produced content, like a news magazine or biweekly interview show. 

The board is also working on engaging local business to underwrite some of the programming. Although public access channels are banned from airing advertising, local companies can support programming in exchange for a little publicity.

With a budget of about $90,000 a year and new equipment purchases to make, that underwriting could make a real difference. Galvin and board members hope that by possibly adding high school sports, they can attract some new supporters.

All the new energy and interest is a breath of fresh air to Cook, who has been on the NPC-TV board since 2003 and was, at one point, its only member. 

 “We have to keep up the momentum,” Cook said. “This board has a lot of good ideas, we just have to wait and see how it goes.”

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