When Belfast decided to create its own public access channel six years ago, the Belfast Institute of Lifelong Learning served as the sponsoring organization as it had for other fledgling groups, including New Year’s by the Bay and Come Boating! each of which eventually became independent. BCTV Channel 2 was recently awarded nonprofit status under the name Belfast Community Media, making it the latest BILL-sponsored organization to ‘leave the nest.’

“We have been grateful for the support from BILL that allowed us to partner with the city to develop the station,” said Belfast Community Media’s Director Ned Lightner. “This seemed like a good time to go out on our own.”

Lightner explained that the organization was renamed Belfast Community Media because of the opportunities afforded by the Internet and various emerging new media to create and distribute content previously available only to cable subscribers watching BCTV channel 2.

The public access channel is currently an all-volunteer organization. It is funded primarily with a $10,000 donation from the city of Belfast, which in turn receives franchise fees from the cable company. The station also relies on donations and underwriting support from individuals and organizations in Waldo County.

“Having our own 501(c)(3) designation helps us as we apply for grants or accept donations from those who wish to deduct their donation as a charitable contribution,“ said Lightner.

Anne Allee, a participant in the Senior Community Service Employment Program, who has been the station’s office support worker for the past year-and-a-half, led the process of applying for the non-profit status.

“Without Anne’s dedication and persistence, we would not have our nonprofit status at this time. Anne has been a tremendous asset to our small operation and we are all very grateful to her shepherding the application through the maze of IRS procedures,” said Lightner.

The station, which most recently provided live coverage of New Year’s Eve countdown festivities along the Belfast waterfront, offers individuals and organization free access to airtime on its public access channel. For more information, contact Ned Lightner at nedlightner@gmail.com or by phone at 323-2430.