Lake Region Television (LRTV) was founded in the summer of 1992 by Wesley Wolcott, a resident of Harrison who had considerable experience in television production and who saw the need of a local television access channel serving Bridgton, Harrison and Naples. With a small group of volunteers and a Board of Directors of like-minded citizens, he was able to obtain initial funding from several sources including area businesses and acquire some of the equipment from a former M.S.A.D. 61 educational access channel which was no longer being operated. The Town of Bridgton offered space in a 10'x16' office in the lower level of the Municipal Complex and helped arrange for an upstream audio/video connection to the United Cablevision system that was serving the three communities. LRTV began cablecasting on Channel 4 in October of 1992 with coverage of the Bridgton and Naples selectmen's meetings, in-studio talk shows including Legal Issues with Bob Kimball, Direct Line with Price Hutchins, and Sports Talk with Wayne Rivet plus coverage of a few area events. These were the days of recording video in the field on one of two comsumer grade VHS camcorders with one handheld microphone for picking up sound, adding limited graphics generated from an Amiga computer, and manually inserting the edited tapes into one of two VHS playback decks and hitting "play" at the appropriate time. In between tapes a message board of community events and underwriter spots was generated by a second Amiga computer. As the station lacked a video monitor for this computer, updates to the message board could only be done "live" during the daytime hours by watching the return video feed from the cable company on a regular TV. This actually worked to the stations advantage as it gained several volunteers who had become interested in watching the mouse cursor move around as message board editing was being done.
In late November of 1992, Bill Severance of Stoneham, Maine became interested in the channel through a desire to film the upcoming Christmas Cantata at the Bridgton Alliance Church. Wes Wolcott suggested that this could be done as a multi-camera (2) production using the two studio cameras and the semi-portable video switcher. Wes then trained Bill and two other church members how to help set up the equipment and a few basic camera techniques. With Wes as technical director, the stations first multi-camera field taping was done in December of 1992. Weekly (single-camera) tapings of the services of the Alliance Church began in January and were soon joined in the program lineup by regular tapings at St. Joseph Catholic Church and Windham Assembly of God. Bill Severance became more and more involved with the growing station helping out with editing, message board updates and some field tapings.
At about this same time Peter Lake and Wayne Rivet - both from Bridgton and Don Jacobson from Harrison began videotaping high school and rec league sports and producing the weekly Sports Talk panel discussion. Tux Burke of Naples began taping Naples Selectmen's Meetings and other Naples events. Dick Dunlap and Phil McLean of Bridgton took over coverage of the Bridgton Selectmen's Meetings and both became heavily involved in the operation of the channel with Phil McLean serving for several years as its Treasurer.
... To be Continued