FARMINGTON — There’s no shortage of potential programming for Mt. Blue TV. 

A new website was recently launched,, to showcase community parades, concerts and events along with selectmen meetings.

But covering local events can be a major challenge, JP Fortier, director of the local community access station, said.

“There’s a lot of great events coming up and multiple times a week someone calls asking us to come cover their event,” he said. “We want to cover events and have viewers see something new and fresh when they turn to channel 11. But there’s no budget for it.”

The solution, Fortier and the station’s Board of Directors believe, is a new membership campaign, he said.

Fortier has started reaching out to local nonprofits and businesses who can buy in to community television with their membership, he said.

“They are investing in sustaining community television,” he added. “It’s not about making money but helping to make the station sustainable.”

With membership, they receive a three-minute video and a listing on the new Mt. Blue website. They can also link to and imbed the video on to their own website, he said.

Mt. Blue TV started in one room in the Community Center, he said. The channel has been available to Bee Line Cable television subscribers in Farmington and Wilton only.

That is changing. With the use of high-speed Internet, anyone can watch the station’s programming and see member videos, he said.

The station website was started by a college student who then left school. Recently, Phil Poirier of Protean Graphics donated his efforts to help create the new website.

“I’m proud of it,” Fortier said of the site.

In just the last month, 174 videos were played and it wasn’t even advertised, he said. Last year, 3,000 videos were viewed. The station’s Facebook page boasts nearly 350 likes, he said.

Maybe someone can’t get out to see the July 4 parade but they can watch it on the website, he said.

Local programming now goes beyond Farmington and Wilton.

The show, “Simple Gourmet,” is picked up by community access channels in Searsport, South Portland, North Dakota and other stations, Stan Wheeler, board chairman and star of the show, said.

“Anyone can create a video and we’ll air it,” Wheeler said. “That’s community access television.”

Wheeler pointed to Tom Saviello’s show, “Talkin’ Maine.” The fully operating television station produces the weekly interviews about people and things of interest here at no charge.

The station is dependent on franchise fees for revenue. With cable television struggling to retain viewers, these have been cut.

The cost of doing business is not sustainable, Fortier said. Although funds are an article on the Farmington-Wilton town warrants, the fees go out to viewers and are not from taxation, he said.

Membership will help make funds available to pay someone to go cover events, Wheeler said.

Volunteers have been trained to use the camera equipment but over the years the number of volunteers has dwindled, he said.

Fortier, who started in 2000, is often “a one-man band,” as station director, editor and often photographer.

He is the only full-time employee. There is a half-time administrative position and a volunteer at the station now located in Merrill Hall on the campus of the University of Maine at Farmington.

Usually he has one college work-study student a semester to help cover selectmen meetings but their hours are limited to less than six hours a week.

“I think most people think we are a fully-staffed television studio,” he said.

Volunteers are most welcome and Fortier said he enjoys showing people how to run the equipment and create videos.

The station’s board wants to also create greater community awareness, Wheeler said.

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