The Maine Public Broadcasting Network (abbreviated MPBN and branded Maine Public) is a state network of public television and radio stations located in the U.S. state of Maine. It is operated by the Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation, which holds the licenses for all the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) stations licensed in the state. MPBN has studios and offices in Portland, Lewiston and Bangor.
MPBN's television network shows a block of standard PBS programming, as well as many documentaries including nature programs and other science programs. MPBN's radio network airs news and talk programming from NPR, locally produced news programming, jazz and classical music.
MPBN's television and radio signals reach virtually all of the populated portions of Maine, and nearby parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts as well as the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec. MPBN Television is also carried on cable television in parts of Quebec and most of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly via Bell Aliant Fibe TV.
What is now Maine Public dates from the 1992 merger of WCBB, the PBS member station for most of southern Maine, with the original MPBN radio and television stations operated by the University of Maine System.
On November 13, 1961, WCBB signed on from Lewiston as the first educational television station in Maine and the third in New England, after WGBH-TV in Boston and WENH-TV in Durham, New Hampshire. Licensed to Augusta, it was a joint venture of Colby College, Bates College, and Bowdoin College. Two years later, WMEB-TV began broadcasting from the University of Maine campus in Orono, near Bangor. Over the next decade, UMaine signed on three other stations across the state, as well as several translators. These stations formed the original MPBN network. One of them was WMEG-TV in Biddeford, near Portland (now WMEA-TV); however, it was (and still is) practically unviewable over the air in Portland itself and points north.
The University of Maine System brought public radio to the state in 1970, when WMEH signed on from Bangor. Five other stations signed on over the next decade.
The two groups merged on July 1, 1992 to form the community-licensed Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation. MPBN's Bangor stations, WMEB-TV and WMEH (FM), became the flagship stations. The television stations adopted the on-air name "Maine Public Television", but dropped this in favor of "Maine PBS" in 1998. The radio stations became known as "Maine Public Radio". In 2005, both radio and television reverted to the "MPBN" moniker. On September 20, 2016, MPBN rebranded as "Maine Public".
Following the merger, WMEA-TV became the flagship station for a secondary PBS service, Maine Public Television Plus; unlike the main network, this service expanded its over-the-air reach through the use of low-power repeaters—W39BQ in Lewiston, which signed on January 1, 1994, and W30BF in Bangor, which launched on April 16, 1994. Cuts in federal funding led to the elimination of MPT Plus on June 30, 1996; WMEA and W30BF then reverted to carrying the primary Maine Public Television service (though the latter station was sold in 1999 and is now JUCE TV affiliate WCKD-LP), while W39BQ eventually ceased operations.
MPBN's radio service carries a mixed format of news and information from NPR, PRI, and other sources. Local programming includes Maine Calling, an interactive radio program hosted primarily by Jennifer Rooks and produced by Jonathan Smith. Various guests, often from Maine, are invited to participate in the discussion and audience members are encouraged to participate through calling in or through other forms of media. Accompanying NPR's All Things Considered, is Maine Things Considered, Maine's only daily statewide news program.
In May 2016, the Maine Public Classical service was launched on the HD2 channels of the primary stations, as well as several new transmitters. It greatly expanded the selection of programs available on the network.
MPBN's television service carries the basic PBS program schedule, along with a handful of local programs, such as "The Maine Experience" (a feature magazine series), "Maine Watch" (a weekly public-affairs program), and live coverage of the annual Maine state high-school basketball playoffs.
Full Power Stations
|Call signs||Location||CH||First Air Date|
|WCBB||Augusta, ME||10||November 13, 1961|
|WMEB||Orono, ME||12||September 23, 1963|
|WMEM||Presque Isle, ME||10||February 17, 1964|
|WMED||Calais, ME||13||September 15, 1965|
|WMEA||Biddeford, ME||26||March 15, 1975|
|TV stations in New England|
|WEDH, Bridgeport/Hartford/New Haven/Norwich|
|TV stations in Southern Maine and Carroll and Coös Counties, New Hampshire, including Portland, Augusta, Berlin, and Rockland|
|WCSH 6 (NBC) |
WMTW 8 (ABC)
WCBB 10 (PBS)
WGME 13 (CBS)
W14DA-D 14 (Ind.)
WLLB-LD 15 (Daystar)
WGBI-LP 21 (RTV)
WPFO 23 (Fox)
WMEA 26 (PBS)
WIPL 35 (Ion)
WFYW-LP 41 (3ABN)
WPXT 51 (CW)
|TV stations in Central and Eastern Maine including Bangor and Calais|
|WLBZ 2 (NBC) |
WABI 5 (CBS)
WVII 7 (ABC/JTV)
WMEB 12 (PBS)
WMED 13 (PBS)
WEXZ-LD 13 (RTV)
WBGR-LD 18 (MeTV)
WFVX-LD 22 (Fox/MNTV/JTV)
WCKD-LP 30 (JUCE TV)
|TV stations in Aroostook County and western New Brunswick, including Presque Isle, Edmundston and Woodstock|
|WAGM 8 (CBS) |
WMEM 10 (PBS)