Biddeford Public Access is one of three divisions within the Technology Department.
The concept of Public Access Television first began to take shape in the early 1970s when the cable television industry began “wiring” cities across the country with large capacity cable systems providing a multitude of channels for their subscribers.
Boom of the Industry
At the same time the portable video equipment industry experienced a boom in sales of their new porta-pac video systems, particularly to independent and local educational users, creating a scarcity of outlets for producers who were looking for ways of distributing their video material.
National Federation of Local Cable Programmers
Out of this high tech environment grew a grassroots origination of people who felt that cable television was the natural vehicle for overcoming video distribution problems on a local level. These public access advocates began organizing on a local, state and national level under the title of the National Federation of Local Cable Programmers, now known as the Alliance for Community Media.
The basic philosophy of this organization was that everyone should have access to the television medium under the First Amendment (the right of free speech). As the word spread, concerned citizens and independent producers began petitioning their local governments to negotiate for dedicated access channels and the facilities needed to produce programs for these channels.
Result of the Movement
The result has been rapid growth in the number of community or public access centers around the country. The need for community television has been firmly established and a large number of communities across the country see public access as an important communication tool for residents.
Value of Public Access Television
Like many other communities the City of Biddeford recognized the value of public access television. As a result, the City created the Biddeford Public, Education and Access TV Center, known locally as Biddeford Public Access. The Biddeford Public Access facility is currently located at 15 Columbus Way and is available to all citizens.
The majority of programing is locally produced, which involves scripting, organizing guests and speakers, and a commitment to diverse programming. The programming would not be possible without the interest and continued support of the local producers - who all volunteer their time - and the staff at Biddeford Public Access that pull everything together by performing the majority of set up for each show, in-studio filming, editing, and airing of shows. Citizens may also "sign-out" equipment in order to film at a specific venue.
In addition to production support duties, the staff at Biddeford Public Access records approximately 165 municipal and school meetings per year for live streaming and pre-recorded broadcast.
Produce or Volunteer
- Interested in producing a show? Fill out the New Producer Registration Form.
- Interested in supporting public access by volunteering in some capacity? Fill out the Volunteer Inquiry Form.
Cable Channel Info
Tune to Channel 85, Biddeford's Digital Public Access channel, for a variety of shows with topics ranging from politics to education. Programs are produced or sponsored by Biddeford residents and provide true local programming.
Live streaming is available on Channel 3.
Archived Municipal meetings on demand are available through the Online Video page.