MEDWAY, Maine — The town’s first public access TV channel will launch on Polaris Cable Services in the next two weeks, one of the channel’s co-founders said Tuesday.
Scott Dorr estimates that he has 200 hours of local programming available for broadcast over Gateway Independent Television on Polaris’ Channel 43.
“We will launch, hopefully, within the next couple of weeks. We are looking into funding right now and it is looking wonderful. All we need is a laptop to run the software, and we will be up and running,” Dorr said Tuesday.
Dorr met recently with the Board of Selectmen and hopes the board will agree to fund the purchase of the computer, which he said should cost about $500.
Polaris Cable Services serves about 3,400 subscribers in 14 towns: Hodgdon, Houlton, Enfield, Howland, Passadumkeag, Medway, Bridgewater, Littleton, Monticello, Danforth, Oakfield, Smyrna, Island Falls and Patten, according to its Web site, polariscable.com.
Medway gets 44 channels through the system, said Gordon Wark, president and general manager of Polaris.
“We are not at all [averse] to putting public access TV up, but we did not have an agreement when the town clerk called and asked about it,” Wark said Tuesday. “That really gives us the impetus to go ahead.”
Under the arrangement, Polaris will act as a transmitter and town officials, Dorr and a small group of volunteers will produce and monitor program content, Wark said.
Much of the programming has been compiled by Dorr and his friends over the past several years, Dorr said. Wark said he was unfamiliar with Dorr or his work but felt it was enough that Medway town officials had agreed to work with him.
If Dorr is successful, Gateway will join Millinocket’s KAT-TV as the only public access broadcasting in the Katahdin and Lincoln Lakes regions. Dorr is among the founders of Katahdin Area Television but left it when he moved out of Millinocket, he said.
East Millinocket likely will join Gateway Television, Dorr has said, but not immediately. East Millinocket officials have expressed enthusiasm at the thought of public access TV there, but another cable service, Beeline, serves East Millinocket.
It would take $2,000 to $9,000 to launch public access TV in East Millinocket and Medway, Dorr has said. Besides grants, the television effort could be paid for by business sponsorships, advertising and private donations.
The East Millinocket Board of Selectmen indicated some support for the idea during its Sept. 28 meeting, according to draft minutes of the meeting. Chairman Mark Scally said the idea, however, likely wouldn’t be eligible for any immediate funding. The town’s budget already is set.
Dorr hopes to launch a Web site for Gateway next month, he said.
Anyone interested in volunteering to work for the station can contact him at 447-8367 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.