Jonathan P. Smith

Executive Producer - Maine Calling

Jonathan was born in Monsey, New York. A field trip to Washington, DC when he was in 7th grade started him on his circuitous path to a career in public radio. The trip inspired a love of politics and led to his desire to one day call DC home. After graduating from Grinnell College, he worked on a couple of campaigns in Iowa (presidential and congressional) and moved to Washington, DC.

After failing to find work as the president's chief of staff or as a highly paid lobbyist, he took a job parking cars next to Ford's Theatre. (To this day it remains one of his favorite jobs). From parking cars he moved on to doing energy/regulatory work at a few law firms. However, once he realized he wouldn't be promoted to lawyer, he decided to pursue a career in public radio.

Thanks to the kindness of a staffer on The Diane Rehm Show, he began as a volunteer with that nationally-syndicated NPR program and worked his way up to full-time producer. After nine years with The Diane Rehm Show, he moved to New Hampshire to be the Executive Producer of New Hampshire Public Radio's Word of Mouth. In the Fall of 2010, he joined the Maine Public Broadcasting Network to help launch it's new, interactive radio program Maine Calling.

When not producing radio programs, Jonathan spends his time with his wonderful wife and their two young sons. He also likes to play golf, and tries his best not to injure himself while playing pickup football and basketball games with much younger players.

Ways to Connect

Wanyu Zhang/ NPR

NPR’s Tom Gjelten joins us in studio to discuss his current beat - religion, faith, and belief. His reporting draws on his many years covering national and international news from posts in Washington and around the world.  We’ll also touch on his time as one of NPR's pioneer foreign correspondents, posted first in Latin America and then in Central Europe. And we’ll talk about his earlier connections to Maine, including as a public school teacher in North Haven.

Gjelten reports on religion, faith, and belief for NPR News, a beat that encompasses such areas as the changing religious landscape in America, the formation of personal identity, the role of religion in politics, and conflict arising from religious differences. He is the author of Sarajevo Daily: A City and Its Newspaper Under Siege; Professionalism in War Reporting: A Correspondent's View; and, Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause.  His latest book, A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story.

The U.S. has been in negotiations with the Taliban to end the longest military engagement in our nation’s history. On this 18th anniversary of 9/11, our panel looks back at the origins of the war, why it has slogged on for so long, and what may be next for Afghanistan, the U.S., and the world.

Guests:  Barbara Elias Klenner, Assistant Professor of Government at Bowdoin College; former director of the Afghanistan/Pakistan/Taliban project at the National Security Archive at George Washington University

Before rock 'n' roll, jazz dominated the music scene in America.

In the decades since Elvis and the Beatles changed the face of music, jazz has remained a steady, if somewhat diminished, uniquely American art form.

A panel of jazz lovers, including Maine Public’s own Rich Tozier, join us to talk about their love of jazz and the Maine jazz scene. We’ll also hear some live jazz during the show.

Scholar Marie Griffith joins us to discuss the origins and growth of the religious right as a political force, and how it has transformed America's broader culture and public life. Griffith investigates the pervasive fears driving our sex-obsessed politics, especially when it comes to issues such as birth control, obscenity, interracial relationships, female chastity, sex education, abortion, sexual harassment, and LGBTQ rights. Griffith is in town as part of the University of New England Crosley Lecture Series.

Maine Farmland Trust

Farming in Maine is in transition. According to the most recent Census of Agriculture, in the five years from 2012-2017, Maine lost 10 percent of its farmland and 573 farms. On the other hand, Maine has more young farmers per capita than just about any other state. Agriculture Commissioner Amanda Beal is responsible for helping grow and promote agriculture in Maine. Beal has recently been in the news pushing to extend federal aid to members of Maine’s wild blueberry industry. She’s also requested that the federal government finalize its proposed “origin of livestock” standards for organic dairy farms. We’ll discuss the other initiatives Beal is engaged with and the priorities of the Mills’ administration.

Time for Three describes their music as standing “at the busy intersection of Americana, modern pop and classical music. To experience TF3 live is to hear the various eras, styles and traditions of Western music fold in on themselves and emerge anew.”

Members of the group join Portland Chamber Music Festival Artistic Director Melissa Reardon to talk about their stories, what distinguishes their approach, growing worldwide interest in the old art of chamber music and to preview upcoming music festivals in Maine. And they’ll play live in our studio.

Linda Holmes is the pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. Her first novel, "Evvie Drake Starts Over," which is about love and sad things and baseball and the state of Maine, comes out on June 25. Maine Public’s All Things Considered host Nora Flaherty will interview Holmes on Thursday evening (June 27) at the Portland Public Library.

Our panel of veterinarians discuss the latest news from the world of pet care, and answer our listener questions. 

Guests:  Deirdre Frey, VMD, Vet At Your Door, P.C.

Meghan E. Vaught DVM, DACVECC, Criticalist  |  ECC Medical Director, Maine Veterinary Medical Center

Kate S. Domenico, Veterinarian at Tender Touch Veterinary Hospital in Scarborough

Author Susan Crawford's new book describes how fiber optic connections will enable us to send unlimited amounts of data, leading to radical advances in what we can do in health care, education, agriculture and daily communications.

She explains how giant corporations in the United States have held back the infrastructure improvements necessary for the country to move forward, and she describes how a few cities and towns are fighting to bring the fiber optic revolution to their communities.

Camden Conference 2019

In conjunction with the Camden Conference, we discuss China’s role in the world today, and tomorrow.

We talk with legislative leaders about their priorities as the legislative session moves into full swing.  Already several hot button issues are emerging, including a proposal idea to create a statewide power authority, greater firearms regulations and a plan to legalize sports betting.  We’ll discuss these issues and more.

Maine Public

There are a number of new, space-focused businesses operating in Maine. We’ll learn about what makes Maine an attractive place for these types of businesses. We’ll also discuss the latest news from the world of space exploration.

Associated Press

Which issues will dominate the Legislature in 2019? Our panel discusses changes we are likely to see under a Mills administration and which issues will be at the forefront of Maine politics in the year ahead.


Which are the five albums you’d choose if you could only listen to 5? Which 5 records or artists had the greatest impact on you musically? Get ready for the great debate of the albums that matter most.

With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday fast approaching, our tech team returns to share tips on the gadgets worth grabbing when the sales start springing up, as well as ways to support local businesses and charitable organizations this holiday season.